Dale Lewis, Usdan’s Center for the Creative and Performing Arts executive director since 1984, will step down at the end of the 2015 summer season. In the fall, he will become head of the new Arts Reach Fund of Long Island Community Foundation. Usdan’s incoming executive director will be named this spring.
Usdan officials hailed Lewis for being responsible for the center’s educational and artistic programs, and for its community and financial footprints. During his years as executive director, Usdan’s curriculum has grown from 30 programs of study to 67, now serving more than 1,600 metropolitan area children each summer’s day. Although Usdan’s mission is to introduce all children to the arts based solely on an expression of interest, the center’s professional faculty has inspired many to go on to professional careers. Among the students during Lewis’ tenure were Natalie Portman, Mariah Carey, jazz star Jane Monheit, Taylor Dane, Jackie Hoffman, Seth Rudetsky, Olivia Thirlby and members of major music and dance ensembles.
“I have had a unique opportunity to shape the culture of this great institution,” Lewis said. “While I am proud of the new programs, buildings and educational initiatives born at Usdan, it is the accomplishments of our students that are most satisfying. Supporting their transformative experiences here are extraordinary leaders and donors, faculty and staff, and my team of superbadministrators. Working together they will provide the vision and innovation to carry Usdan into an ever-greater future.”
Finally, Lewis also established Usdan’s Festival Concerts, a series that featured performances by such world-famous artists as Canadian Brass, Emanuel Ax, the New York City Ballet, James Galway, The King’s Singers, Tokyo String Quartet, Earl Wild, Jimmy Heath, the Limon Dance Company, Dr. Billy Taylor, Dar Williams, Broadway stars and many others. In 1992 and 2002, Lewis produced sold-out Carnegie Hall galas celebrating Usdan’s 25th and 35th anniversaries.
—Courtesy of the Usdan Center for the Creativeand Performing Arts