Departmental alumna Diane Rodriguez is confirmed to the National Council on the Arts by the Senate in November 2016.
As part of the advisory body for the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA), Rodriguez will review and make recommendations on applications for grants, funding guidelines, and leadership initiatives, and advise the NEA chairman on agency policies and programs. As Chair of the Board of Theatre Communications Group, the national service organization for professional theaters, her interests are varied. Among them are “creating a national touring network for artists, exporting American theater work to the world, supporting initiatives at theaters that support new forms of storytelling, reviving the Theatre Communications Group/NEA career development award for directors and designers, supporting more theater festivals, and creating demand for the theater by having audiences and communities experience making art,” she said. “If I could make some change and have an impact, how great if it was with one of the above?”
Many of these interests are in line with the work Rodriguez has done over the past 21 years at Center Theatre Group. In her previous position as the Director of New Play Production and Co-Director of the Latino Theater Initiative at the Mark Taper Forum, she increased the diversity of voices on Los Angeles stages and promoted the development of a new generation of playwrights like The Rude Mechs. More recently, she co-curated Radar L.A., a festival that spotlights interdisciplinary collaborative theatre, and was a driving force behind Center Theatre Group productions Popol Vuh: Heart of Heaven and Through the Looking Glass. These projects have encouraged new theatrical modes, welcomed new and underrepresented audiences and performers, and spurred communities to see themselves as creative forces.
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