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American Jazz Museum Announces Leadership Transition

Aug 23, 2023
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Dr. Dina Bennett has been named Interim Executive Director as Rashida Phillips leaves to pursue other interests


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Kansas City, Mo. - The American Jazz Museum Board of Directors is pleased to announce that veteran ethnomusicologist Dr. Dina Bennett has been named the museum’s Interim Executive Director, effective August 19, 2023. Rashida Phillips, who has served as the museum’s Executive Director since 2020, is leaving to pursue other interests.  

Dr. Bennett was recently promoted to deputy director after serving as the museum’s director of collections and curatorial affairs since March 2021. Prior to joining the American Jazz Museum, Dr. Bennett served as the founding curatorial director of the National Museum of African American Music in Nashville.

“Our museum—and our community—are fortunate that we have such a strong leadership team in place,” said Dan Cranshaw, chairman of the museum’s Board of Directors. “We owe Rashida our gratitude for leading the American Jazz Museum during the Covid era, and for sparking a renewed interest in our exhibitions and mission. We are equally grateful that Dr. Bennett has enthusiastically agreed to serve as our interim executive director, allowing a seamless transition during an exciting and busy time for the museum.”

“It has been a tremendous honor to have served the American Jazz Museum for the past nearly four years,” said Phillips. “I am proud of what we have accomplished during that time and I am ready for a new challenge. The museum is in great hands with Dr. Bennett.  She has been a terrific addition to our leadership team.”

In her role as deputy director, Dr. Bennett has focused on improving and enhancing the visitor experience through collections, community, and educational programs. As she moves into the role of interim executive director, she will seek to strengthen relationships with community partners to take the museum to new heights.

“Providing stewardship for this community treasure is a responsibility I take very seriously and is one of the highlights of my career,” said Dr. Bennett. “I look forward to working with the Board, staff and museum partners to continue to captivate visitors and nurture new audiences with our programming and exhibits at the American Jazz Museum.”

The American Jazz Museum will host its annual In the Yard event on Saturday, August 26th. In a vibrant tribute to the indelible impact of Charlie "Yardbird” Parker, the museum will host a day filled with live music, family-friendly activities, food trucks, yard games, and more, all set against the historic and vibrant backdrop of the 18th and Vine district.




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