Professional Overview

Co-Founder of The Diverse Future

Promoting the aspirations of those critical to America’s multi-cultural future.

James Brown, Liz Thompson, Cherrie Nanninga(CFO CB Richard Ellis/Board Chair LMCC) at Evening Stars
James Brown, LT, Cherrie Nanninga(CFO CB Richard Ellis/Board Chair LMCC) at Evening Stars
As Executive Director of the Lower Manhattan Cultural Council (LMCC) from 1997 to 2003 she balanced, and then quadrupled, the operating budget while vastly expanding the Council's offerings.
NY Times - Sep 4, 2000 - The Stars Uptown to Dance Downtown
NY Times - The Stars Uptown to Dance Downtown
The events of September 11, 2001 severely affected LMCC: scarring the city, the attack also destroyed the World Trade Center-based group's offices, studio and exhibition spaces, numerous irreplaceable works of art, and three decades worth of archives tracing New York City's downtown cultural history. In the aftermath, Liz skillfully led the organization through its most challenging period — relocating twice to temporary offices, re-establishing the performing and visual arts programs in new venuesincluding the free outdoor performance festival she created Evening Stars, all the while expanding both the council's programming and its advocacy for the arts. Liz worked tirelessly throughout these years to ensure that arts and cultural resources would be included in the redevelopment process.
Liz Thompson, Boston Mayor Menino
LT, Boston Mayor Menino
As a consultant from 1992 to 1994, Liz worked with Olympia & York, the World Financial Center, the Harkness Dance Foundation, and CBS Cable network along with international clients based in Bali, Australia, New Zealand and Mexico.
Judith Jamison, Liz Thompson, Wynton Marsalis, Garth Fagan
Judith Jamison, LT, Wynton Marsalis, Garth Fagan
From 1994 to 1997, she served as President of First Night Boston, Inc., overseeing the growth of the event's diversity, and popularity. She served as Vice-President of Brooklyn Academy of Music's Next Wave Festival from 1989 to 1992, playing a key role in the Academy's ever-strengthening commitment to new art forms and emerging artists.
Liz Thompson, Bill T Jones
LT, Bill T Jones
From 1979 to 1990, Liz was a pivotal Executive Producer and Director of Jacob's Pillow Dance Festival in Becket, Massachusetts, where her background in the worlds of dance, Broadway, and television allowed her to further expand the Festival's brand of eclectic, popular programming.
Christopher Reeve, Ann Reinking, Liz Thompson, Gary Ghrist
Christopher Reeve, Ann Reinking, LT, Gary Ghrist
She worked closely with architects to design two new performance spaces: the experimental, and now regularly sold-out Studio Theatre, and an outdoor space with a magnificent mountain backdrop, the popular Inside-Out. She initiated and implemented the structure of an "artist's colony" that supported artists in the creation and development of new works and produced special events such as Roots of Creole,
NY Times - She Saw Wonderous Opportunities at Jacobs Pillow
Music and Dance of Africa, and Russian Village Project Performances. Liz initiated key improvements to the campus that not only increased earning potential, but furthered the development of the Pillow as a dynamic educational institution as well as an acclaimed performance venue.
Liz has received an Emmy Citation for her choreography of the Children's Television Workshop production, The Electric Company, is a recipient of Dance Magazine's Award for Outstanding Contributions to the dance world, an honorary doctorate from Springfield College, and a Founders Award from Trinity College for establishing its Dance Department, as well as numerous citations for her involvement in communities from the Commonwealth of Massachusetts to the Borough of Staten Island. She is currently Chair of Five Myles, a fledgling cutting-edge art space situated in and dedicated to serving as an important part of its New York City community and on the Board of Flying Cloud Institute devoted to the children of Western MA with the single purpose of providing interdisciplinary experiences in art and science that stretch their minds and excite their curiosity.

Liz Thompson's Career Summary

  • Strozzi Somatic Leadership Coach
  • Kripalu Massage and Dansyoga
  • Reiki , Level I and II Healing touch
  • Level 2 teacher iRest
  • 40-year meditator and student of yoga
  • Emmy Citation Award for work on the Children's Television Workshop's Electric Company.
  • Recipient of Dance Magazine Award for "Significant Contributions to the World of Dance."
  • Delivered the keynote speech with Merce Cunningham to the National Council on the Arts.
  • Recognized by the Commonwealth of Massachusetts and the Borough of Staten Island for contributions to the community.
  • Honorary Doctorate from Springfield College
  • Pioneer/Founder (of Dance Department) Award Trinity College.
  • Workshops for the Metropolitan Museum of Art
    • FACULTY:
    • Graham School
    • Farnworth Studio
    • Neighborhood Playhouse School of Theater
    • Sarah Lawrence College
    • Long Beach Summer Dance Program
    • Trinity College
    • College of Staten Island
    • T.V.
    • The Electric Company, Sesame Street
    • Associate choreographer to Pat Birch..GREASE
  • Staged Leonard Bernstein's Mass for the Kansas City Philharmonic.
  • Movement Director for the American Shakespeare Festival Production of King Lear
    • MODERN:
    • Martha Graham School, classes with Jose Limon, Merce Cunningham
    • BALLET:
    • Nina Foneroff, Maggie Black and Don Farnsworth
    • JAZZ:
    • Betsy Haugh, Lynn Simonson, Henry LaTang
    • Gus Solomons, Jr.
    • Elina Mooney
    • Cliff Keuter
    • Trisha Brown
    • Danceworks
    • The King and I (revival)
    • Former Panel and Board Memberships:
    • Board of Directors, Massachusetts Cultural Council
    • Founding Board of Directors, Classical Action/Performing Artists Against Aids
    • Founding Board of Directors, Dance/USA
    • Friends of Education, Museum of Modern Art
    • North American Nominating Committee, Praemium Imperiale, an international "Nobel" prize for the Arts
    • Board of Directors, Flea Theater, NYC
    • Board of Directors, Occupational and Industrial Orthopedic Center
    • Member and Vice-Chair of the Dance Advisory Panel of the New York State Council on the Arts
    • Chair, Board of Directors, Five Myles NYC
    • Chair of the Merit Aid Dance Panel in Massachusetts
      • Panelist, National Endowment for the Arts:
      • Chair of the Dance Program Policy Panel
      • Member of the Review Panel for "State of the Arts" report to Congress
  • Dance consultant to CBS Cable network; worked closely with Merrill Brockway to create new programs.
  • Advisor to the Harkness Foundation; restructured the school and community outreach programs at Harkness House. Developed exhibition spaces for visual arts and a "Land Grant" program that gave performing artists studio space and time to create new works.
  • Consultant for Olympia & York; programmed a variety of events for the World Financial Center Winter Garden in New York.
Leadership Coach - current
Creative Economy Consultant - current
I retired for several years following the re-construction of LMCC. In 2008 I took the position of founding president of Berkshire Creative Economy Council and coached my assistant who assumed that role. I then pursued formal training in and was certified as a somatic leadership coach at the strozzi institute.
Executive Director – 1997 to 2003
Lower Manhattan Cultural Council, New York, NY

Managed significant organization restructuring and board development. Facilitated new and innovative programming concepts in visual and new media arts, community and performing arts such as a new free performance series Evening Stars, while expanding artists' services. Increased budget from 750k to 3.5 million and staff from 4 to 17 full time employees. Initiated long range and strategic planning including strategic branding campaign. Nurtured and supported staff through traumatic post "9-11" while establishing two temporary offices, proceeding with established programs without interruption as well as initiating new programs and securing sufficient funds to assure the future of LMCC. Involved in extensive advocacy work: member of Arts, Education, and Tourism and Memorial Mission advisory committees of the Lower Manhattan Development Corporation (LMDC); Community Board No. 1's Executive, Financial District, and Waterfront Committees; the Civic Alliance Cultural Amenities Committee of the Regional Planning Association (RPA); the NewYork/NewVisions Cultural Committee; Rebuilding Downtown Our Town (R.DOT); the Wall Street Rising Cultural Advisory Committee.
President – 1994 to 1997
First Night, Inc., Boston, MA

Produced First Night Boston, the largest annual one day arts festival and New Year's Eve celebration in North America with over 1.5 million attendees and over 1000 participating artists Formalized the "Neighborhood Network", (the community arts outreach arm of First Night to create and supplement arts programming in underserved communities this outreach served as a bridge between professional and neighborhood arts and social services organizations, artists, and cultural workers achieving the goal of making First Night a year round force in the neighborhoods of Greater Boston. Developed a five year business and artistic plan to bring First Night and the "Neighborhood Network" into the Millennium. Developed programming to attract new audiences to major cultural institutions in Boston such as the New England Aquarium, Children's Museum, and the Boston Symphony Orchestra.
President – 1992 to 1994
Thompson & Associates, New York, NY
Provided programming and organizational consulting to clients in Australia, New Zealand, Mexico, Canada, and the U.S.A., including Olympia & York, the World Financial Center Winter Garden, the Harkness Foundation, CBS Cable Network, and IMG Artists.
Vice President and Director – 1989 to 1992
Next Wave Festival, Brooklyn Academy of Music, Brooklyn, NY

Produced a festival and auxiliary programming that highlighted the rich diversity found in the work of American Artists from divergent cultural backgrounds.
Executive Director – 1979 to 1990
Jacob's Pillow Dance Festival and School, Becket, MA

Instituted artistic innovations that were supported by changes in organizational structure and administrative procedure. Developed a long range plan. Directed a capital campaign that included the evolution of board and volunteer structures. Initiated a national design competition to help envision an expanded campus. Refurbished and augmented the physical plant, concentrating on issues of historic preservation. Created new spaces and modes for performance. Established annual conferences for producers and managers and instituted internships in arts management and technical theater. Extended season from eight to twenty weeks. Reformatted the school, enhancing pre-existing programs by initiating and implementing the structure of an "artist's colony" that supported artists in the creation and development of new works. Added new music, world music, gospel music, and performance art presentations to complement the primary presentation of established and emerging dance companies from around the world. Produced special events such as Roots of Creole, Music and Dance of Africa, and Russian Village Project Performances. Developed the first off-site productions.
Director – 1977 to 1979
Artists-in-Residence Program, Cultural Council Foundation Artists Project, New York, NY
Responsible for placement of artists in appropriate community organizations and for supervision of project in the five boroughs of New York City. Produced major multi-disciplinary CETA festival at Sailor's Snug Harbor, Staten Island for CETA Title V program employing 300 artists with a $5.9 million budget.