Mountain View Voice

News - March 11, 2011

New head of arts school named

Moy Eng will take over the Community School of Music and Arts

by Nick Veronin

The Community School of Music and Arts has named a new executive director. Moy Eng, a Palo Alto woman with a background in arts administration, will take the helm of CSMA on March 22.

"She is uniquely capable of helping the organization refine its vision, develop strategic partnerships and help us realize our vision of 'arts for all,'" said Kathy Thibodeaux, who has been serving as the interim executive director since Jeffry Walker's departure at the end of July 2010.

The search, which lasted roughly six months, ended with Eng's selection at the CSMA's board of directors meeting in February.

The board chose Eng because of her "deep leadership experience in arts education and arts advocacy," according to Thibodeaux, who will return to the board of directors after Eng takes the helm.

Eng holds a master's degree in arts administration from New York University and a bachelor's degree in theater arts from Rutgers University. She is a trained classical singer and also works as a songwriter and vocalist and she has performed at the jazz club Yoshi's and the San Jose Jazz Festival.

Her experience as a musician will augment her leadership at the school, Thibodeaux said. "Anyone who is an artist, whether that be visual arts or music, will have a better understanding of how to engage and support the working artists that make CSMA what it is," she said.

Under Eng's leadership, Thibodeaux hopes to see CSMA expand its reach to more schools up and down the Peninsula. Currently, CSMA provides music programming to 30 schools in Mountain View and the Bay Area, in addition to the classes and workshops it provides at the Finn Center.

"The arts are an incredible element in learning to become a whole person," Eng said of her life as a musician. "It's a way to engage in reflection, through music, art or dance."

Though she has yet to take the helm, Eng has had a close relationship with the CSMA for many years. Back in the early 2000s, Eng, who was then working for William and Flora Hewlett Foundation as the performing arts program director, worked to get grants to CSMA.

She still sees in the CSMA what she saw in it back then — a promising organization dedicated to enriching life in the Bay Area.

That CSMA mantra — "arts for all" — is particularly special for Eng, she said, since the arts and music have played such a "critical" role in making her into the person she is.

"To really be a whole human being," Eng said, "it requires both your left and your right brain firing."

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