As Women’s History Month winds down, we’d like to shine one last spotlight on some of the incredible women that keep the Brooklyn Cultural District alive and thriving. Their achievements deserve recognition.

dorothy ryan
Managing Director, theatre for a new audience

Dorothy Ryan has served as Managing Director of Theatre For a New Audience (TFANA) since 2003. In partnership with The City of New York, Dorothy managed the project to build and launch the Theatre’s first home, Polonsky Shakespeare Center, in 2013. Their journey from a Manhattan-based itinerant producer to opening and operating its first home in the Brooklyn Cultural District has been transformational.

Before joining TFANA, Dorothy spent a decade in fundraising roles with the 92nd Street Y and Brooklyn Museum and served as Visiting Assistant Professor for the Pratt Institute’s Arts and Cultural Management Program. A graduate of Brown University, she began her career in classical music artist management and has also served as Company Manager for Chautauqua Opera, Managing Director for the Opera Ensemble of New York, and General Manager for Eugene Opera.

Saidah Blount
Executive Director, bric celebrate brooklyn!

Saidah Blount joined BRIC in 2024 as Executive Director of BRIC Celebrate Brooklyn!, the longest-running free performing arts festival in New York City. Blount leads the curation, operations, and vision of the festival, bringing years of experience at iconic brands such as Sonos and NPR Music to the table. She is a 20-year Brooklyn resident who enjoys reading, going to the movies, seeing live music, and discovering new restaurants across the borough. Follow BRIC on social media and stay turned to the BRIC website for updates on the 2024 BRIC Celebrate Brooklyn! lineup in the weeks ahead!

nancy umanoff
President + Executive Director, mark morris dance group

Nancy Umanoff became the managing director of the Mark Morris Dance Group in 1986 and has served as its President and Executive Director since 2000, the same year she received the Arts & Business Council’s Encore Award for Excellence in Arts Management. Under her leadership the Dance Group launched the world-renowned Dance for PD® program and built the Mark Morris Dance Center in Downtown Brooklyn, which provides a home for the company, subsidized rental space for local artists, community education programs for children and seniors, and a school offering dance classes to students of all ages and levels of experience with and without disabilities.

She has guest lectured on arts administration, served on numerous arts panels, and currently serves on the boards of the Downtown Brooklyn Partnership and the Downtown Brooklyn Arts Alliance. In 2017, she was named one of Musical America’s influential “Movers and Shapers,” a list of thirty professionals of the year who are shaping the performing arts landscape for the future. A native New Yorker, Umanoff received a B.A. in Dance from the State University of New York at Brockport and an M.F.A. in Performing Arts Administration from Brooklyn College.

We cannot thank these women enough for their vibrant contributions to the neighborhood. Their dedication and passion have enriched the neighborhood’s cultural sector, and their tireless efforts have undoubtedly left a positive mark on the community, shaping it into the inclusive and dynamic hub we recognize today.