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Robert van Leer

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Robert van Leer

Executive Director and CEO, The Wallis
Robert van Leer

An accomplished arts administrator respected for his breadth of experience with renowned arts organizations in the United States and Europe, Robert van Leer was named Executive Director and Chief Executive Officer of Wallis Annenberg Center for the Performing Arts on March 8, 2023, and joined the organization on April 1. Most recently, van Leer served as the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts’ Senior Vice President of Artistic Planning. In overseeing a $90 million budget, he expanded Kennedy Center’s classical and contemporary programming, including the addition of Hip Hop Culture and Social Impact. Additionally, he led the vision for the 2019 transformative addition of REACH, the Kennedy Center’s first-ever expansion, with flexible indoor and outdoor performance space designed to nurture new artists and expand community. Van Leer began his arts administration career at Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts in New York and worked in London as an executive administrator at the Wigmore Hall then as Head of Music and Arts Projects at the Barbican Centre. Subsequently, he became Managing Director of Nederlands Dans Theatre (NDT), where he re-envisioned the mission of the company as a leading international creative ensemble. He also led Wonderbird UK, a boutique cultural consultancy that advised cultural and corporate clients on social, cultural, and fundraising policy. Van Leer, who is a native of Rochester, New York, holds a B.F.A. from Carnegie-Mellon University and earned an advanced certification from Columbia University Graduate School of Business, National Arts Strategies Chief Executive Program. He also earned a postgraduate degree in landscape design at the UK’s Inchbald School of Design.