Philanthropy Pros: Two Valley Arts Organizations Gain New Leadership

Pictured: Chris Hamby (left) and Simon Tipene Adlam (right)

There is new leadership at two popular Valley arts organizations: Theater Works and Arizona Museum of Natural History

Theater Works recently named Chris Hamby as their new executive director. Before this new role, Hamby worked as the organization’s artistic director for the last seven years and served as their education director prior to that.

“Theater Works has been my home for many years, and I am proud to steward it into the future,” Hamby said. “I am thrilled to have this opportunity to continue to lead this great organization.”

Hamby’s accomplishments and achievements in his career are substantial. He received the 2020 Governor’s Arts Artist of the Year Award for his work and was recently elected to the National Board of Directors for the American Association of Community Theatre.

“Chris has been key to the artistic growth of Theater Works and is the right person at the right time to continue his services of excellence,” said Justin Shaver, chair of the Theater Works board of directors. “He’s a thoughtful leader with a foundation of stellar theater artistry. Chris is a special and talented individual.”

In Mesa, an international search for a new director at the Arizona Museum of Natural History concluded with the organization announcing that Simon Tipene Adlam will take on the role. 

Tipene Adlam’s career has spanned almost 30 years and three continents — having worked at museums and cultural institutions in the United States, the Middle East and his native New Zealand. He has worked at the Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County for almost 10 years in various roles and recently developed an indigenous think-tank group whose goal is to bring social programs to cultural institutions. 

“I’m excited to be working with such a talented staff who are passionate about the mission of this museum. I look forward to discovering the great collections, advanced research and impactful programs developed for the community,” said Simon Tipene Adlam. “I’m inspired by the City of Mesa’s firm commitment to its cultural assets. Their diverse relationships within the community speak volumes as a cultural hub. I take tremendous pride in joining this team.”

Tipene Adlam’s start date at AZMNH was Aug. 15, 2022.

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