During the two-year Fellowship he will serve as the Director of DNA: Oxygen, a new initiative dedicated to the development and production of new work generated by, led by, and featuring BIPOC artists.
PORTLAND, OREGON – February 22, 2020 New York-based director Zi Alikhan has been named Artists Rep’s Artistic Directing Fellow. This two-year fellowship (with the option to renew for a third year) is intended to prepare the recipient to lead an arts organization of comparable size to ART. The Artistic Directing Fellow will serve as a member of the artistic team, collaborating closely with Artistic Director, Dámaso Rodríguez, and will direct ART mainstage productions during the time of the fellowship. Alikhan was offered the position by a seven-member hiring committee of two ART staff, two board members, two resident artists, and a frequent guest artist following a three-round interview process that included over 150 candidates from around the country.
I can’t wait to collaborate with Zi as part of our artistic team and to support his vision for building ART’s DNA: Oxygen Program.
Alikhan’s work as a director includes a dynamic mix of new plays and musicals. Critics have described his productions as “gutsy and fresh,” “immersive and impactful.” His recent credits include directing and development at Ars Nova, The Playwrights Realm, Playmakers Rep, and Lincoln Center, along with several Broadway credits as Associate Director. In 2018, he served as Resident Director on the national tour of Hamilton: An American Musical, during which he made his first visit to Portland.
This new position will serve as the Director of the DNA: Oxygen program, a newly established initiative at ART with funding restricted to the development and production of new work generated by, led by, and featuring Black, Indigenous, and People of Color (BIPOC) artists. DNA: Oxygen currently has an annual program budget of $100k (secured through the 2023 fiscal year) with an endowment strategy in place. As the Director of the program, Alikhan will focus on building a lasting program while exploring new models for producing and collaborating. Responsibilities and opportunities will include participating in the fundraising efforts to inspire continued funding for the program, guiding the process of crafting the DNA: Oxygen mission statement, working with the ART staff to create a long-lasting mentor/mentee program, and the generation of new artistic projects. At the same time an affinity space and a creative hub, DNA: Oxygen promises to be an industry-leading initiative in the radical restructuring of power in the regional theatre landscape. By centering BIPOC artists as leaders, as thinkers, and as generators, DNA: Oxygen is setting out to serve these theatrically underserved stories and makers, ensuring a pipeline to production for artists of color that disrupts historic molds.