Home Architect Jenny Schlenzka leaves New York performance space for Berlin’s Gropius Bau

Jenny Schlenzka leaves New York performance space for Berlin’s Gropius Bau

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Jenny Schlenzka, who since 2017 served as Executive Artistic Director of Performance Space New York, will be leaving the organization this summer to lead the Gropius Bau in her native Berlin. Schlenzka was the first woman to lead Performance Space, assuming her post there as the much-loved venue, formerly known as PS122, reopened in her East Village home after extensive renovations. A replacement will be announced this fall.

“Jenny Schlenzka has been an invigorating leader at Performance Space New York,” said Roxane Gay, chair of the organization’s board of directors. “She has enriched our organization with her impeccable taste, bold vision and willingness to evolve and meet the needs of our vibrant community. Jenny is irreplaceable but we are delighted for her and this new professional adventure in which she is now embarking. In the coming months, we will begin the difficult but important work of finding a new Executive Director for Performance Space, knowing that the organization is stronger than ever thanks to Jenny’s incredible work.”

During Schlenzka’s tenure, Performance Space saw its annual operating budget grow from $1.7 million in 2017 to $2.6 million. She leaves the organization in good financial health and with a three-year strategic plan in place. Schlenzka guided the organization through the Covid-19 crisis, during which, like theaters and museums around the world, were forced to close temporarily. The pandemic came just months after Schlenzka announced an innovation new programdesigned in partnership with choreographer Sarah Michelson, who would entrust the management of the space to artists for a year.

“A lot of the work we’ve done over the past six years at Performance Space has been to rethink power structures in our arts institutions and create an ethic of openness to change,” Schlenzka said. “It was, in part, like imposing a term limit on themselves: organizations remain vital with new approaches and visions. I hope that over these years we have built a stronger institution with deeper connections to its artists and communities, with a renewed and reinvented identity that has strengthened its ability to nurture the future of performance. It has been an honor to work with a staff and board who believe in collaborative and transformative experimentation, not just in the art we program, but in our approach to all facets of the organization – and c It’s exhilarating to think of what they can accomplish with all the ideas a new leader brings to the table.


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