Effective immediately, eta Creative Arts Foundation co-founder and president Abena Joan Brown will step down. Former Development Director Phillip Thomas has assumed the role of chief executive.
Ms. Brown has shepherded the company for 40 years, and until recently appeared at every curtain call to solicit support for its work. When she failed to appear at a recent performance, there was speculation that she might be ill. But publicist Barbara Kensey said, "She is just tired, and she knows that life is short and then you die and it's time to go home and work on other things. She's got some books inside of her that she needs to get out. The organization has identified this young man bringing a new or renewed vision and he's going to take it into the next century."
Brown built eta Creative Arts Foundation into a major presence in the Black community, with theater and the performing arts at the core of eta's programs. Brown led the way in the early years to the purchase and renovation of a 15,000 square foot facility at 7558 S. South Chicago Avenue (sic), which houses a spacious 250 seat theater, ample gallery space, plus classrooms and studios for eta's programs in theater, music and the visual arts. As CEO, Brown has produced several hundred theatrical productions, music and dance events and overseen numerous gallery installations.