Hammonds House Director Gets the Apollo

Executive director Leatrice Ellzy Wright (right, with Spelman College Museum of Fine Arts’ curator Anne Collins Smith) has led Hammonds House Museum for four years.

Hammonds House Museum’s Board of Directors announced that the museum’s executive director, Leatrice Ellzy Wright, is leaving to become senior director of programming at the historic Apollo Theater in New York. The Board is currently culminating a targeted search for a new executive director for the prestigious African American museum, th news to be announced soon.

“I am grateful for my time at Hammonds House Museum,” says Leatrice Ellzy Wright. “How often do you get an opportunity to reimagine a historic organization for the future and work with artists, curators, scholars and so many others who you greatly admire? Leading Hammonds House into its next chapter has been a great experience and my honor. The bonus has been a wonderful team, supportive board and a community who has embraced me.”

“When Leatrice joined Hammonds House Museum her charge was to reimagine the museum for the 21st Century,” states Imara Canady, Board President of Hammonds House Museum. “”During her four-year tenure at Hammonds House, Leatrice has curated fresh, experiential exhibitions; created a signature fundraising event celebrating artistic excellence in Black visual art; increased membership and overall giving and put new administrative systems in place. She has not only met the challenge of reimagining the organization, but she has positioned us for future growth.”

Ellzy Wright’s contribution to Atlanta’s cultural arts scene has been significant. Leatrice shifted her love for the arts into a career in the arts when she left Georgia Public Broadcasting to become the Project Director for Spirit and Splendor: A Celebration of African American Culture at Woodruff Arts Center in 1999. The success of Spirit and Splendor laid the groundwork for Woodruff’s long running Celebrate Diversity initiative. From Woodruff Arts Center she joined the team at the National Black Arts Festival. NBAF’s national and international standing was significant in the shaping of her practice and the honing of her skills. After 10 years at NBAF Leatrice stepped into the role of consultant and worked with a number of artists, organizations and cultural initiatives across the country before taking the helm at Hammonds House Museum. She has built a career elevating the voices and works of Black creatives and intellectuals. Her work centers the culture of the African Diaspora, artistic excellence and boldness and generosity while not shying away from disruption and innovation. Her professionalism and commitment to the work has earned her respect from colleagues in the field in Atlanta, across the US and beyond. As she moves on to her new role at the iconic Apollo Theater, Leatrice leaves Atlanta much richer. Her visionary leadership, passionate advocacy, and unwavering commitment to culture and community has been transformative.

“We couldn’t be more thrilled to have Leatrice join our team as our Senior Director of Programming,” states Kamilah Forbes, Executive Producer at the Apollo Theater. “Her wealth of experience, brilliant creativity and passion for culture and the arts will be such an asset at the APOLLO. We are excited to welcome her aboard.”

Leatrice will remain with the museum through May 31, to ensure a seamless leadership transition and provide support where necessary.

Hammonds House Museum is generously supported by the Fulton County Board of Commissioners, Fulton County Arts and Culture, the City of Atlanta Mayor’s Office of Cultural Affairs, The Community Foundation for Greater Atlanta, The National Performance Network, AT&T and WarnerMedia.

Hammonds House Museum’s mission is to celebrate and share the cultural diversity and important legacy of artists of African descent. The museum is the former residence of the late Dr. Otis Thrash Hammonds, a prominent Atlanta physician and a passionate arts patron. A 501(c)3 organization which opened in 1988, Hammonds House Museum boasts a permanent collection of more than 450 works including art by Romare Bearden, Robert S. Duncanson, Benny Andrews, Elizabeth Catlett, Jacob Lawrence, Hale Woodruff, Amalia Amaki, Radcliffe Bailey and Kojo Griffin. In addition to featuring art from their collection, the museum offers new exhibitions, artist talks, workshops, concerts, poetry readings, arts education programs, and other cultural events throughout the year.

Located in a beautiful Victorian home in Atlanta’s historic West End, Hammonds House Museum is a cultural treasure and a unique venue. During the COVID-19 pandemic, they continue to observe CDC guidelines, but look forward to welcoming in-person visitors soon!  For more information about upcoming virtual events, and to see how you can support their mission and programming, visit their website: hammondshouse.org.

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