Deborah F. Rutter
In an age marked by social and technological change, Deborah Rutter has emerged as one of the nation’s most adroit leaders in the arts, combining artistic daring with fiscal sustainability, inclusivity, and responsiveness to the needs of the community. Ms. Rutter began as President of the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts on September 1, 2014, and serves as curator of the Kennedy presidential memorial, and artistic and administrative director to the world’s busiest performing arts center. In an ever-expanding celebration of JFK’s legacy, the Center presents theater, contemporary dance, ballet, vocal music, chamber music, Hip Hop, comedy, international arts, and jazz, alongside dynamic seasons with the Kennedy Center’s world-class affiliates: the National Symphony Orchestra and Washington National Opera. As the work of a living memorial is never finished, Rutter is advancing the Center’s commitment to 21st-century programming. After breaking ground in her first year at the Kennedy Center, Ms. Rutter launched a transformative arts facility in 2019, the REACH, designed by renowned architect Steven Holl provides flexible indoor and outdoor performance space to nurture new art, community, innovation, arts education, and informal encounters between the artist and the public. Today, Ms. Rutter is reshaping Kennedy Center offerings to include more artist-led programming while challenging people across the industry to reimagine creative expression through the lens of cross-disciplinary collaborations. Prior to her position as the Center’s President, Ms. Rutter served as president of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra Association.