Wilson Center names new executive director

Anna Thompson succeeds Lynn Sprangers at Brookfield cultural arts center

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The Sharon Lynne Wilson Center for the Arts has named arts administrator Anna Thompson as its executive director.

Anna Thompson

Thompson was most recently associate vice president and executive director of the Alys Stephens Performing Arts Center at the University of Alabama at Birmingham.

She replaces Lynn Sprangers, who led the Brookfield cultural arts center from August 2016 until her retirement at the end of last year.

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Thompson was chosen after a four-month national search conducted by board members, staff and consultants.

“Anna’s passion for the arts is evident throughout her impressive career, and we look forward to the many ways that her arts management experience, her industry recognition as a presenter and producer, and her ability to build strong collaborations will grow our reputation as a national arts leader,” said Fred Syrjanen, Wilson Center board chair.

In her previous role, Thompson oversaw a $4.8 million budget for the Alys Stephens Performing Arts Center, which produces and presents more than 700 performances, residencies and events annually.

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Prior to that, she served for eight years as executive director of the DeBartolo Performing Arts Center and the Judd and Mary Lou Leighton Director for the Performing Arts at University of Notre Dame. She also spent 10 years at the College of Saint Benedict and Saint John’s University in Minnesota, and 14 years at the Indianapolis Museum of Art at Butler University.

Thompson will assume her role at the Wilson Center on May 21.

“It is an honor to be named the executive director of the Sharon Lynne Wilson Center for the Arts,” Thompson said. “I was drawn to the position for several reasons: the remarkable architecture, setting, venues, and programming, and the exceptional dedication of Don and Kate Wilson and the board. I look forward to leading the Center’s passionate team and joining the vibrant community of Milwaukee.”

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The Wilson Center’s performances, arts education programs, classes and workshops, festivals and special events draw about 45,000 attendees annually.

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