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Moving from a sprawling Los Angeles to Yale’s New Haven neighborhood is a big change. For Rachel Fine, the Yale Schwarzman Center’s new executive director, the change marks “unprecedented new professional opportunities,” as she said in a Broadway World Article.

Previously the executive director and CEO of Los Angeles’ Wallis Annenberg Performing Arts Center, Fine replaces Garth Ross, who was the inaugural director of the Schwarzman Center, which first opened its doors in September 2021. 

As executive director and CEO of the Wallis, Fine conducted both larger administrative duties and smaller routine obligations. She operated a large staff, which at a point had reached over 55 full-time workers, and managed the $10.5 million yearly budget (pre-COVID-19) every day. For the past seven years at the Wallis, Fine dedicated time to help foster the local arts community. In 2018 she took the title of executive director and CEO of the performing arts center.

“Again, this goes back to being a person with many different interests, and an insatiable curiosity,” Fine said in a University of California, Irvine article. “As a lifelong learner, a job would not be interesting if it didn’t consistently present challenges and opportunities for me to be a better leader.”

Trained in classical piano from youth and having studied music at University of California, Irvine, and even having tested the waters at Yale’s Ph.D. program in Musicology, Fine’s extensive arts experience gave her the ability to understand the unique role the arts played in a community.

“For me personally, no community is complete or well without rich and robust arts offerings,” Fine said in the same article “I feel that way about my own life, and my family’s life too. Whether or not my children go into music or the arts, that’s up to them. But I want them to have the understanding that the arts are an integral part of wellness.” 

The intersection between art and human well-being does not go unrecognized at Yale either. The Yale Schwarzman Center, conceived seven years ago by multiple student government bodies and fueled by an $150 million donation from Blackstone CEO Steven Schwarzman ’69, was designed to serve as a center of community through food and the arts to help better create “One Yale.”

As the official December 2015 report by the Schwarzman Center Advisory Committee writes, “The Schwarzman Center will transform student life at Yale by creating a vibrant social and intellectual hub with daily activities that are a magnet for students.”

One unique feature that the YSC provides is a dance studio.

We are excited that the Schwarzman Center has built a studio with state of the art amenities like a sprung floor and new sound system,” Rhea Cong ’25, president of Yaledancers, said.

During Covid, the space was used as a testing center, but next year it will be available for dance groups on campus. 

“There really is a place for everyone in the dance community at Yale,” Colby Bladow ’24, treasurer of Yaledancers, said.

Equipped with new facilities, Rachel Fine hopes to “[establish] it as a leading performing arts presenting organization,” as she said in a Yale News release.

Under Fine’s vision, the YSC is prepared to return to the new school year as an integral part of the student body and arts community at Yale.