November 14, 2008
Anne Corbett, M.C.P. '97, has received the 2008 Meyer Foundation Exponent Award for visionary nonprofit leadership in the Washington, DC area. The award includes a $100,000 cash award for Corbett's organization, the Cultural Development Corporation, to be used for leadership development.
Corbett earned a Master of Community Planning specializing in Economic Development from the University of Maryland in 1997. Her award-winning thesis analyzed the economic impact of stadium and arena development.
Prior to her time at Maryland, Corbett received a B.S. in Mathematical Economics from Wake Forest University and worked as a business manager for Taco Bell Corporation, learning everything from how to run a drive-through to new store development.
Corbett has made a name for herself as an entrepreneurial thinker who combines a deep love of urban planning with a pragmatic ability to problem-solve. She turned that into a talent for working with developers, businesses and nonprofits, and strategizing ways for artists to live and work affordably in the city. Corbett became a member of the initial steering committee that created the Cultural Development Corporation (CuDC), whose mission is to increase and sustain the presence and appreciation of arts and culture in downtown Washington. She became its paid project director and then in 2000 became executive director at age 27.
Over its ten-year history, CuDC, under Corbett's leadership, has amassed an impressive list of accomplishments, including the creation of Art-O-Matic, a month-long multimedia arts event that transforms an unfinished indoor space into a free public arts event. CuDC had a consulting role in the development of the several new performing arts spaces, including the Atlas Performing Arts Center, Gala Hispanic Theatre's new home at the renovated Tivoli Theatre in Columbia Heights, and Woolly Mammoth's Theatre's location at 7th and D Streets, NW.
In 2003, CuDC created Flashpoint, a 6,000-square-foot arts incubator and multi-use facility which includes a gallery, black box theatre, dance studio, and office space for eight small arts organizations, and affordable housing for artists.
In 2006, Corbett personally spearheaded a campaign to prevent the failed Source Theatre on 14th Street, NW from being sold and redeveloped into a bar and restaurant. The building was sold to CuDC which then launched a $3.5 million campaign to renovate and reopen Source as a space for the arts. The first Source Festival, held this past summer in the newly-renovated space, was a critical and commercial success. For her many contributions, Corbett has received a number of honors, including the Mayor's Arts Award for Excellence in Service to the Arts.
Corbett's education and on-the-job training helped her realize the dream of ''making a positive impact on the landscape of a city in lasting, authentic ways." She has played a large role in helping artists and arts organizations find places to live and work and strategies to chart their futures in the District of Columbia.
Learn more about Corbett and the Meyer Foundation Exponent Awards:
Photo by Mike Morgan