The Dallas Arts District today announced that veteran Dallas arts leader and educator Lily Cabatu Weiss has been named as the organization’s new Executive Director. Weiss, who is currently Artistic Director at Booker T. Washington High School for the Performing and Visual Arts, has worked and collaborated in Arts District since 1978.

“Lily has the best combination of qualities imaginable for this position,” said Kevin Moriarty, chair of the Dallas Arts District Foundation Board of Directors. “From her long tenure in the district, she knows where we’ve been, and what it took to get us here today. She has the vision, skills and enthusiasm to lead the district forward at this dynamic point in its history.”

“I’m thrilled to fill this exciting role in one of the most dynamic neighborhoods in North Texas,” said Weiss. “The Arts District’s stakeholders are a unique mix of the arts, science, recreation, commerce, residents, education and faith. And everyone is focused on moving the district and our city forward.”

Weiss is a former professional dancer, who joined the dance faculty at the acclaimed arts magnet high school known as “Booker T.” in 1978. She has also taught dance at Southern Methodist University. Weiss was appointed chair of Booker T’s Dance Department in 2001. The department is known throughout the country for its strong curriculum which is used as a national model. Her contributions to the school have resulted in one of five Distinguished Arts School Awards from the National Foundation for Advancement in the Arts. Weiss has served as the school’s artistic director since 2014. As the district has grown up around the school, Weiss built a strong reputation as a collaborator and liaison between Booker T. and the neighborhood’s arts institutions, fostering creative relationships and performances. She is also known as an experienced fund raiser and entrepreneurial administrator.

Weiss’ appointment comes at a transformative time for the nonprofit Dallas Arts District organization, created to advocate for, market and foster collaboration in the popular 19-block urban neighborhood, the largest contiguous cultural district in the United States. It includes many of the city’s major performing and visual arts institutions and venues, as well as the Perot Museum of Nature and Science and Klyde Warren Park. The district’s attractions generate 3 million visits a year to downtown Dallas.
And the district is poised for further growth.

The organization recently revamped its Board structure and bylaws to engage and energize more of it its growing and diverse stakeholder base, which now include cultural, business, residential, recreational, tourism, religious and educational interests. Last week it launched its redesigned website at Stakeholders in and around the district collaborated to create the Klyde Warren Park/Dallas Arts District Public Improvement District to provide financial support for both organizations. Also, DAD recently launched a comprehensive initiative with the Seattle-based design firm NBBJ to update the district’s community development plan to replace the Sasaki Plan, which has guided building and growth in the district since the early 1980’s but is now considered out of date.

Weiss will assume the executive director position on Monday, April 11, 2016.

Press Contact: Jill Magnuson 214-707-5664

Lily Weiss
Photo | Brian Guilliaux