Meet the FAC’s New Theatre & Museum Directors
*SPECIAL EPISODE* of Peak Radar LIVE (Recorded January 27, 2022)
Watch a special episode of Cultural Office of the Pikes Peak Region’s Peak Radar Live with Angela Seals that introduces the community to two exciting new leaders at the Fine Arts Center: Michael Christiano, Director of Visual Arts & Museum, and Pirronne Yousefzadeh, Producing Artistic Director of the Theatre Company. Hear how their careers led them to join the creative community of the Pikes Peak region and their visions for the future of programming at the FAC.
More about Michael Christiano & Pirronne Yousefzadeh
“Michael Christiano is a dynamic, well-rounded leader whose professional goals align with our core values. Across a range of collecting and contemporary art museums affiliated with academic institutions, Michael has worn multiple hats and contributed to meaningful impact and positive growth. In his new role here, Michael will work in collaboration, inside and outside the museum, to balance our commitment to both preservation and innovation. We’re excited to bring him to the team.” said FAC Executive Director Idris Goodwin.
Christiano most recently served as deputy director and curator of public practice at the Smart Museum of Art at the University of Chicago, where he oversaw public programs, museum education and interpretation, and communications. He was responsible for shaping the museum’s relationship with the community while building institutional practices and programs to address cultural, social, and political topics. Recent projects included developing public programming and supporting artist commissions for a city-wide exhibition of work by MacArthur Fellows, the creation of a residency program designed for Chicago-based artists and educators to create participatory art experiences, coordination of a collaborative exhibition of Cuban and Latinx artists with the National Museum of Mexican Art, and coordination of an exhibition and accompanying publication that examined the work of the Black Arts Movement on the South Side of Chicago during the 1960s and 70s.
Christiano received his master’s degree in museum education from the University of the Arts in Philadelphia, PA, before going on to work at the Frist Art Museum education team, creating an education department at the Photographic Resource Center at Boston University and working as curator of education at Southeastern Center for Contemporary Art (SECCA).
“I’m thrilled to join the Fine Arts Center at this transformational moment and humbled to work alongside such a creative and inspiring team. I look forward to building on the museum’s dynamic programmatic vision, drawing on the deep intellectual and cultural landscape at the college and its surrounding communities to engage with the pressing questions and issues of our time,” said Michael Christiano.
Photo by Jaclyn Silverman
“Pirronne is one of the most exciting theatre professionals working today. A born leader, she brings significant experience as a director, producer, educator, champion of new and canonical work, and advocate for theatre professionals of all walks. For a multi-disciplinary, civic-minded institution that is part of a college, I can’t think of anyone better suited. Colorado Springs, get ready!” said FAC Executive Director Idris Goodwin.
Most recently, Yousefzadeh worked as associate artistic director and director of engagement at Geva Theatre Center in Rochester, NY. As a senior member of artistic leadership, she was a key collaborator in season planning and artistic programming while also directing numerous productions annually, managing a new engagement committee and creating ancillary programming centered on community engagement.
“With the visionary leadership of Idris Goodwin and the energy and passion of a dynamic and committed staff, this position is a dream come true for me. I am excited to steward the theatre during the 2021–2022 season and build programming that includes both reimagined classics and new work by some of the boldest and most innovative artists in our field today. Through our programming and transformative community engagement efforts, the Fine Arts Center will be a nexus for civic discourse, a beacon of hope, and a national model for equity, inclusion, and justice in the arts,” said Pirronne Yousefzadeh.
Yousefzadeh received her master’s degree in directing from Columbia University, where she was a Shubert Presidential Fellow and Matthews Fellowship recipient. As a professional stage director, Yousefzadeh has helmed projects at The Kennedy Center in Washington, D.C., Actors Theatre of Louisville, Oregon Shakespeare Festival, and other regional theaters across the country. With a passion for arts education, she brings extensive teaching experience through work with the theatre departments of University of Rochester, New York University, University of Texas at Austin, Fordham University and Rutgers University, among others. Yousefzadeh is also a founding member of Maia Directors, a consulting group for artists and organizations engaging with stories from the Middle East and beyond.
Photo by Jean Chambers
Angela Seals is an arts manager with almost two decades of professional experience at creative nonprofits. As Deputy Director of the Cultural Office of the Pikes Peak Region, Angela leads communications, partnerships, grant writing, and several major programs. She produces and hosts the “Peak Radar Live” online show and “Peak Radar Live: Later” podcast and is local coordinator for the Arts Vision 2030 cultural planning initiative. Before joining the Cultural Office in early 2013, she was Program Manager at the Children’s Museum of Pittsburgh, and has worked at The Pittsburgh Cultural Trust, Carnegie Mellon University, and Corcoran Gallery and College of Art + Design in Washington, D.C.More about Angela Seals and Peak Radar LIVE