SMU DataArts Announces Leadership Changes

by Jessica Fuentes May 14, 2024

SMU DataArts, the National Center for Arts Research, a project of the Meadows School of the Arts at Southern Methodist University (SMU) in Dallas, has announced that Director Zannie Voss, PhD is retiring on August 31, 2024. Jen Benoit-Bryan, PhD, has been named incoming Director.

A photograph of arts administrator Zannie Voss.

Zannie Voss, Ph.D. Photo by Kim Leeson Photography.

Ms. Voss has led the organization since co-founding the National Center for Arts Research with her husband Glen Voss in 2012. In 2018, she oversaw the organization’s successful merger with DataArts, an information collection and reporting company that began in Pennsylvania in 2004. Under her leadership, SMU DataArts’ team has undertaken significant arts and culture research that has been shared via 15 academic publications and over 60 reports. These studies include research into strategic and financial sustainability in nonprofits, how nonprofits navigated the COVID 19 pandemic, and the strengths of BIPOC arts organizations.

In a press release, Samuel S. Holland, the Algur H. Meadows Dean of the SMU Meadows School of the Arts, remarked, “Zannie’s impact at SMU and across the arts sector has been truly transformative. SMU DataArts’ immense contributions to the arts sector have been advanced by her visionary leadership, and she has left an indelible mark on the arts leaders, fellow faculty members, and students who have had the privilege of learning from and with her throughout her career.”

Zenetta Drew, Executive Director of Dallas Black Dance Theatre and a member of the SMU DataArts Advisory Board added, “Zannie’s tenure at SMU DataArts has been characterized by her steadfast commitment to arts leaders, fostering collaboration and challenging assumptions through her groundbreaking research. Her dedication to expanding definitions of excellence and providing vital resources has left an enduring legacy of empowerment within the cultural community.”

A headshot of arts administrator Jen Benoit-Bryan.

Jen Benoit-Bryan

Incoming Director Ms. Benoit-Bryan has served as Research Director at SMU DataArts since June 2023. During her tenure, her research has explored workforce diversity and inclusion, specifically in partnership with the Los Angeles Department of Cultural Affairs, and has been supported in part by the National Endowment for the Arts. She has also led studies related to arts-vibrant communities across the U.S.

Prior to joining SMU DataArts, Ms. Benoit-Bryan served as the President of Slover Linett Audience Research. In that role she prioritized collaborative research strategies that focused on co-creating with communities. She oversaw various multi-year projects with organizations such as the Museums Moving Forward Initiative, the National Academy of Sciences, the LA Phil, the High Line, the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, Carnegie Hall, Washington National Opera, Ballet Austin, Dallas Zoo, and the Central Park Conservatory.

San San Wong, Director of Arts & Creativity at the Barr Foundation, said, “Jen is a longstanding and valued thought partner who, in addition to technical research prowess, brings values of equity, humanism, curiosity and co-design in her approach to provide creative and actionable insights about community needs. I look forward to continuing to learn from and with Jen and I am excited about all that SMU DataArts will accomplish for the field under her leadership.”

Ms. Benoit-Bryan will step into her new role as Director of SMU DataArts on September 1, 2024.

0 comment

You may also like

Leave a Comment

Funding generously provided by: