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A Note From Mark Folkes, President & CEO

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Dear friends,

This summer the Board of Directors approved a new strategic framework for the Hobby Center that seeks to transform our impact in Houston’s diverse performing arts ecosystem in the years to come. At the center of this work are a new mission, vision and core values that will shape the Hobby Center’s programming forward.

As one board member said upon approval of the new framework, “This takes the Hobby Center from landlord to connector, convenor and incubator!” That sentiment perfectly captures the spirit of this new thinking. I invite you to read the full mission, vision and core values on our website [hyperlink].

Major thanks to Strategic Planning Committee Chair Steve Ash and the H.G. Ash Foundation for underwriting this planning process as well as each committee member, staff and community representative who participated in the process through workshops, focus groups and surveys.

The Hobby Center’s four core strategic goals are to:

  • expand artistic programming;
  • deepen education and engagement initiatives;
  • strengthen Houston’s performing arts ecosystem;
  • develop and sustain infrastructure.

Already we’re seeing how these goals are influencing the allocation of our resources! This season we’ve expanded the ExxonMobil Discovery Series providing access to performances by Houston-based artists to thousands of fifth graders throughout Houston region school districts. We launched a completely new performance concept called Live at the Founders Club that creates a dynamic, third performance venue at the Hobby Center for intimate performances in a cabaret-style environment. We’ve also announced a new series called Beyond Broadway that brings the greatest musical theater artists from the field to showcase concerts in Sarofim Hall and Zilkha Hall. This series launches in January with Tony Award winning actor Renee Elise Goldsberry on Saturday, January 20th.

We have much more in the works that we look forward to sharing with you in the months ahead.

Deep gratitude to new leadership supporters who are making investments in this expanded programming possible including ExxonMobil, The Humphreys Foundation, The Elkins Foundation, The Wortham Foundation as well as Houston Mayor’s Office of Cultural Affairs and Mid-America Arts Alliance.

Thanks to you for your role in lifting up the performing arts in Houston through your participation, advocacy and support.

With gratitude,

Mark Folkes Signature First and Last

Mark Folkes
President & CEO

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