Hobby Center appoints first Vice President of Programming and Education

Deborah Lugo / Courtesy of The Hobby Center

The Hobby Center for the Performing Arts in Houston’s downtown Theater District recently announced Deborah Lugo as Vice President of Programming and Education – a new artistic leadership position at the organization.

Lugo officially begins the role in mid-April, taking on programming and education decisions that previously fell under the purview of the CEO and other members of senior leadership, according to officials at the Hobby Center.

Lugo’s responsibilities will include developing arts and education experiences for audiences, as well as “collaborative efforts with Houston’s artists and arts organizations through a lens of inclusion, diversity, equity, and accessibility, supporting the overall growth and sustainability of the arts ecosystem in our region,” as described in a press release.

“I am profoundly committed to applying, weaving, and leveraging the transformative power of the performing arts through meaningful experiences and active participation to build a more connected community,” said Lugo in a statement.

No stranger to establishing new roles, Lugo previously served as founding Executive Director of Arts Connect Houston and the first Executive Director of Mercury Chamber Orchestra. Originally from Puerto Rico, Lugo brings 17 years of experience in performing arts and education to the Hobby Center. She holds a Master’s degree in Public Policy from Princeton University and a Bachelor’s in Violin Performance from Florida International University.

Lugo joins Mark Folkes – who was appointed President and CEO in July 2022 – as the newest members of the Hobby Center’s leadership team.

“We see tremendous opportunity to evolve our programming, education, and community engagement initiatives,” said Folkes in a statement. “Deborah’s passion, strategic creativity, and deep connection to the Houston community will bring the Hobby Center’s programs to a new level of impact.”

Lugo will also play a key role in developing and implementing a new strategic plan for the Hobby Center’s third decade of operations.  Having recently celebrated its 20th anniversary in 2022, the organization is in the midst of a strategic planning process “with the goal of identifying how the Hobby Center can be a catalyst for the continued improvement of the arts ecosystem in Houston,” according to a press release.

UPDATE, 4/4/23: This article was updated to include Lugo’s start date and context provided by the Hobby Center, as noted in the second paragraph.

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