Lex Leifheit became executive director of SOMArts (South of Market Arts, Resources, Technology and Services) in October 2008. Since that time, major initiatives have included the following:
-Opening up the curatorial proposal process and establishing a year-long incubator for community-based exhibitions, the Commons Curatorial Residency Program
-Paying off $40k in debt and establishing an operating reserve for the long-term financial health of the organization
-Building an individual donor base from <10 people to 200+ donors in four years.
-Leveraging numerous technology partnerships—including the Bay Area Video Coalition’s Neighborhood News Network, and the Broadband Technology Opportunity Program—to extend the reach of arts programming and support services.
In addition to producing and presenting over 70 events annually, SOMArts serves more than 100 Bay Area nonprofits each year with production consultation, venue and accessibility services, staging, and fiscal sponsorship. Ongoing partnerships were established to offer free professional development for artists on a monthly basis.
Also during Leifheit’s tenure SOMArts has made significant improvements to the facility and renegotiated a long-term lease for its satellite space at Pier 70. Infrastructure initiatives have included extensive board development, implementation of extended benefits for staff, and strategic surveying of artists, clients and curators.
Previous employers include Wesleyan University’s Green Street Arts Center and Center for the Arts in Middletown, Connecticut, as well as the Eugene O’Neill Theater Center in Waterford, CT. Leifheit has served as a grants panelist for Cultural Equity Grants and public art selection in San Francisco and for the National Endowment for the Arts. She is a regular speaker at Bay Area universities and symposia and a contributing writer for arts publications. In 2013 she had the honor of being one of 12 “up and coming” voices in the arts who were selected for The Arts Dinnervention Project, a gathering conceived of by Barry Hessenius and supported by WESTAF.
She lives in San Francisco with her husband Dan McKinley and their son Ewan.
Leifheit received her Master of Arts Liberal Studies degree from Wesleyan University and attended Drake University on full scholarship, where she received a BFA in Theater Performance. She spent a semester in Moscow through the O’Neill National Theater Institute.
Ten+ years of performing, visual and literary arts programming experience; curricula development for all ages; fluent in community arts and arts advocacy; proven at fund development and change management. Award-winning theater director and published arts writer; experienced fundraiser and teacher.
desk@lexleifheitNOSPAMPLEASE.com (hint: remove part of address)