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CalArts Appoints Katy Dammers Deputy Director and Chief Curator, Performing Arts at REDCAT

CalArts Appoints Katy Dammers Deputy Director and Chief Curator, Performing Arts at REDCAT

Photo credit: Katy McCaffrey

Valencia, Calif. (April 25, 2024) – The Roy and Edna Disney CalArts Theater (REDCAT) announced the appointment of Katy Dammers as Deputy Director and Chief Curator, Performing Arts after an extensive international search. Dammers begins her work as a key member of REDCAT’s leadership and creative team on May 1.

A curator of dance, theater, music, performance, and digital experiences, Dammers has worked across the performing and visual arts. Her interdisciplinary creative practice has involved commissions, exhibitions, festivals, site-specific installations, and publications with some of the leading contemporary artists working today. 

“Katy is a compelling and dynamic curator, writer, and producer who leads with care and a distinct and diverse vision for the performing arts,” said João Ribas, Steven D. Lavine Executive Director at REDCAT and CalArts’ vice president for cultural partnerships. “We’re thrilled to have her join REDCAT and the CalArts community with her expansive approach to supporting experimentation and creating new work in dance, theater, and performance, and engaging the power of thinking, acting, and making with artists.”

Dammers joins REDCAT most recently from Lower Manhattan Cultural Council, where she served as the producing director for the annual River To River Festival with artists including Miguel Gutierrez, jaamil olawale kosoko, and Samita Sinha among others. Previously, she worked at Jacob’s Pillow, the United States’ largest and oldest dance festival, in Becket, Massachusetts. Following the loss of the Doris Duke Theatre in 2020, Dammers helped advance the multi-year design-development and construction process to build a reimagined theater. With the collaborative, international team Mecanoo, Marvel Architects, Charcoablue, and Jeffrey Gibson, she worked to ensure a design that prioritizes inclusion, Indigenous collaboration, technological innovation, a care-centered culture, and sustainability. As interim producing director for the 2021 festival season, she helped produce an open-air, COVID-compliant program that featured dance on an outdoor stage, site-specific venues throughout the 200-acre campus, and local parks across Berkshire County with artists including Okwui Okpokwasili, Emily Johnson, and CONTRA-TIEMPO. In 2022 she returned to produce the 90th Anniversary Gala performance honoring Sidi Larbi Cherkaoui and America(na) to Me, a program showcasing the diversity of contemporary dance practices across America. 

“I am thrilled to be moving to Los Angeles to be part of REDCAT’s stellar team and the vibrant CalArts Community,” said Dammers. “I look forward to working with João Ribas and [Chief Curator and Deputy Director, Programs] Daniela Lieja Quintanar to commission local artists, present innovative international work, and craft interdisciplinary programs that demonstrate the power of performance to promote inclusive and resilient futures.”

Dammers has held curatorial appointments at The Kitchen and FringeArts, and has organized independent projects at Christ Church Neighborhood House and CCA Goldsmiths. As assistant curator at The Kitchen in New York City, she co-curated exhibitions and performances with artists including Claudia Rankine and The Racial Imaginary Institute, Charles Atlas, Rirkrit Tiravanija, Tiona Nekkia McClodden, Joan Jonas and Jason Moran, Steve Paxton, The Raincoats, Dan Graham, Paulina Olowska and Katy Pyle, and Douglas Crimp, among many others. Also working as archive manager for The Kitchen, she cataloged and prepared their collection for acquisition by The Getty Institute, and integrated archival material into contemporary programming. 

As Artistic Producer at FringeArts, Dammers co-curated Philadelphia’s annual international performance festival with artists including Anne Teresa de Keersmaeker, Mariana Arteaga, Tina Satter/Half Straddle, Kaneza Schaal and Christopher Myers, and Nature Theatre of Oklahoma. She also organized year-round programs including the Get Pegged Cabaret with John Jarboe, the Hand to Hand circus festival, and a local commissioning series with artists such as Lighting Rod Special, Moor Mother, James Allister Sprang, and Alexandra Tatarsky.

In addition to her curatorial work, Dammers has had a robust career as a creative administrator, manager, and producer for independent dance artists. She worked as the general manager for choreographers Rashaun Mitchell + Silas Riener for nearly a decade, organizing two of their productions to tour to REDCAT. 

Committed to writing as an active companion to her practice, Dammers has also published books, essays, and reviews on live art. She was a writing fellow at the National Center for Choreography at The University of Akron, and her articles have been published in journals including the Brooklyn Rail, Movement Research Performance Journal, In Dance, and MOTOR Dance Journal. She recently co-edited and contributed material to the book landing published by lumbung press, and has forthcoming pieces in books published by University of Akron and Princeton University Press.  

Originally from Chicago, Dammers graduated with distinction from the MFA Curating program at Goldsmiths, University of London and INLAND Academy in Spain. She graduated summa cum laude from Princeton University with a BA in art history and dance, where her academic and artistic achievements were honored with the Grace May Tilton Prize in Fine Arts, the Irma S. Seitz Prize in the Field of Modern Art, and the Francis Le Moyne Page Dance Award.

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California Institute of the Arts (CalArts) has set the pace for educating professional artists since 1970. Offering rigorous undergraduate and graduate degree programs through six schools—Art, Critical Studies, Dance, Film/Video, Music, and Theater—CalArts has championed creative excellence, critical reflection, and the development of new forms and expressions. As successive generations of faculty and alumni have helped shape the landscape of contemporary arts, the Institute first envisioned by Walt Disney encompasses a vibrant, eclectic community with global reach, inviting experimentation, independent inquiry, and active collaboration and exchange among artists, artistic disciplines and cultural traditions.

The Roy and Edna Disney CalArts Theater (REDCAT), CalArts' downtown center for contemporary arts, is a multidisciplinary center for innovative visual, performing and media arts founded by CalArts in the Walt Disney Concert Hall complex in downtown Los Angeles. Through performances, exhibitions, screenings, and literary events, REDCAT introduces diverse audiences, students, and artists to the most influential developments in the arts from around the world and gives artists in this region the creative support they need to achieve national and international stature. REDCAT continues the tradition of the California Institute of the Arts, its parent organization, by encouraging experimentation, discovery, and lively civic discourse. For current program and exhibition information, visit