Discovery Green announces a new President to lead the management, growth of the downtown park

Kathyrn Lott / Photo by Julie Soefer

Twenty-year veteran of the nonprofit and arts world, Kathryn Lott has been named President of the Discovery Green Conservancy, the nonprofit that runs the 12-acre downtown park through a public-private partnership with the City of Houston.

Lott will begin her leadership role on July 1, 2023, succeeding longtime President Barry Mandel who is retiring after serving as President since 2010.

Since its opening 2008, Discovery Green Park has welcomed more than 20 million visitors, according to its website. Located across from the George R. Brown Convention Center, the urban green space includes a one-acre lake, fountain, playground, public art installations, gardens, and on-site restaurants. The Discovery Green Conservancy works with hundreds of community partners to program family-friendly, arts and culture, and wellness events annually, most of which are free to the public.

As President, Lott will spearhead efforts behind the care, maintenance, and programming of the park, as well as raising more than $6 million toward its annual budget.

Discovery Green’s free movie night series, Bank of America’s Screen on the Green, returns May 27 and June 3. / Photo courtesy of @DiscoveryGreenHouston on Facebook 

“The role of president at Discovery Green encapsulates everything I ever dreamed of in my career,” Lott said in a statement.

“I look forward to caring for a beautiful and respected green space while fundraising for programming and performing and visual arts,” she continued. “I am eager to incorporate Houston’s technology into the landscape of the park and continue to make an impact in the community.”

Lott joins the Discovery Green Conservancy from her role as Executive Director of Southern Smoke Foundation, the Houston-based nonprofit that provides emergency relief funding and mental health services for food and beverage industry workers.

In addition, Lott has previously worked for Houston Grand Opera, Performing Arts Houston (formerly Society for the Performing Arts), and the Children’s Museum of Houston. She has also managed her own production company, Lott Entertainment, which she co-created in 2014.

Retiring President Barry Mandel, whose own pre-Discovery Green experience included leadership roles with the Houston Downtown Alliance and the Theater District Association, served as Lott’s mentor when both of them worked together in the downtown arts community, according to a press release.

“You do not know how much joy it gives me to turn over something I love to someone I love,” said Mandel in a statement. “I know she understands the essence of this place and how much it means to me, the team, and the community.”

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