Central Arts Alliance Names Sandra Bassett New CEO

Central Arts Alliance has appointed Sandra Bassett as the organization’s new CEO. Selected by the CAA board of directors, Bassett will bring expansive knowledge of nonprofit and corporate leadership to the position, overseeing Central Arts Alliance operations, programs and events, including the Phoenix Center for the Arts and Thunderbird Arts Center campuses as well as the Arizona Art Mobile.

“We are thrilled to have Sandra Bassett join us as our next CEO,” said CAA board chair Angela Rodela. “While we will miss Lauren Henschen and appreciate all that she has done over her tenure here, we know Sandra will be able to continue to lead and grow Phoenix Center for the Arts in providing arts and cultural experiences to improve, stimulate and unite our community. Sandra is a business-savvy artist who cares deeply about our community, and Phoenix Center for the Arts is fortunate to have her on our team.”

Bassett joins Central Arts Alliance following her tenure as president and CEO of West Valley Arts Council, where she secured new sources of grant funding, created innovative DEI arts programming, and expanded existing programming to reach a broader audience. Under her leadership, WVAC obtained its highest individual grant award in more than 30 years, benefiting their Creative Aging Program. Bassett also created and implemented “Imprint: Celebrating Cultural Diversity in the Arts,” a West Valley visual and performing arts program funded by the National Endowment for the Arts.

An active advocate for the arts and culture community, Bassett describes herself as a visionary and entrepreneurial arts and culture leader.

“I am excited for this opportunity to be a part of the Phoenix Arts Center/Thunderbird Arts Center team, to work with an incredible staff and a fully engaged and active board of directors, to continue bringing arts and cultural programming to Phoenix,” she said.

Originally from Detroit, Bassett has made Phoenix her home for the past 12 years. She is known as a dynamic motivational speaker and international vocalist who also performs throughout the Valley.

Accepting her new role at CAA, Bassett said, “The arts touch so much of our lives in so many ways, aesthetically, educationally and as an economic driver, all of which benefit the entire community. I am grateful to be a part of the arts and culture community.”


About Karen Werner

Karen Werner is the editor of Frontdoors Media. She is a writer, editor and media consultant. She has interned at The New Yorker, worked at Parents Magazine, edited five books and founded several local magazines. Her work has appeared in Sunset, Mental Floss and the Saturday Evening Post.

From Frontdoors Magazine

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