The Walker Art Center announces the election of Seena Hodges as President of the Board of Trustees at their annual meeting on September 13, 2021. Hodges is the first person of color to hold the position. The Walker also elected a new slate of officers, including Vice Presidents Karen Heithoff and D. Ellen Wilson, Treasurer Sarah Lynn Oquist, and Secretary Teresa Rasmussen. While women have held leadership positions throughout the Walker’s history, this is the first time that all of the officers are women. The board also approved a new five-year strategic plan at the meeting.
“Seena Hodges is exactly the right leader for the Walker in this moment as we embark on a new strategic plan that focuses on connecting the brilliant creativity of artists to the lived experiences of our audiences. I am looking forward to working with Seena and the entire board to build a Walker that creates space for all and builds bridges between artists and cultural producers from around the world and our local communities,” said Mary Ceruti, Walker Art Center Executive Director.
Hodges, an indefatigable champion of the arts, commented, “I have always been fascinated by how art, particularly contemporary art, connects us to others through its ability to simultaneously shift and broaden our understanding and perspectives. It allows us to engage with difference and see beyond it at the very same time. When you spend time in the Walker you can’t help but feel the passion, the tenacity, the fervor for experimentation and risk-taking. I am honored to take on this role at this time when the Walker is starting a new chapter and looking forward to supporting this important institution and its contributions to our cities.”
Hodges joined the Walker board in 2017 after co-chairing the museum’s annual gala, Avant Garden. As co-chair in 2016, she initiated the BIPOC Artist Fund to ensure and encourage participation of BIPOC creatives in all aspects of the Walker. Since that time, the Walker has provided more than 400 yearlong memberships to local BIPOC artists, along with nearly 700 tickets to the annual benefit event. During her tenure on the Walker board, Hodges has served on the Executive Search Committee, the Racial Equity Committee, and the Executive Committee and has chaired the Individual Gifts and the Governance and Nominating Committees.
Seena Hodges (she/her) is a connector who loves people and is passionate about art, equity, intersectional feminism, and access to brave spaces for all. She founded the Woke Coach® in 2018, through which she and her team engage with clients to facilitate conversations and complete projects that live at the intersection of equity, diversity, inclusion, antiracism, and empowerment.
Hodges is a graduate of Columbia College (Columbia, SC) and earned her master’s degree in Theatre Management & Producing at Columbia University, New York. She has worked in both the commercial and nonprofit theater industry as a producer, marketing director, publicist, and development director. Hodges began her career at the Columbia Urban League—a nonprofit organization committed to issues of social justice. Prior to starting the Woke Coach, she worked in various capacities for the Guthrie Theater, Theater Latté Da, Mixed Blood Theatre Company, Pillsbury House Theatre, and Artistry MN. She was most recently Associate Vice President of Strategy and Communications at the Saint Paul & Minnesota Community Foundations (now Saint Paul & Minnesota Foundation).
Hodges is also a member of the Black Trustee Alliance for Art Museums (BTA), an organization created to increase the inclusion of Black perspectives and narratives in North American art museums. Hodges is currently writing her first book, From Ally to Accomplice: How to Lead as a Fierce Antiracist, to be released in early 2022.
Hodges replaces John Christakos, Founder and CEO of Blu Dot, who served as President for three years. Christakos will remain on the board and will continue to serve on the Executive Committee,