Mitchell Bassion Appointed Director of Development at Washington Performing Arts Society

Washington, D.C., December 17, 2013 (Washington Bangla Radio)­- Mitchell Bassion has been selected to serve as Director of Development at Washington Performing Arts Society, starting on January 13, 2013. “Mitch brings extensive, high-level development experience, acquired over the course of years working in several of the nation's pre-eminent and most dynamic opera companies. Additionally his roots in this region, including at OPERA America and The Washington Ballet, and his keen and engaging intellect, made him an ideal choice for WPAS.  My team and I look forward to working with him when he steps aboard in January,” says WPAS President and CEO Jenny Bilfield.

“Returning to the D.C. area is a homecoming for me,” says Bassion, “The opportunity to join the remarkable staff and board of WPAS is an exciting one for which I am honored.  Jenny Bilfield’s vision for this next chapter in WPAS’s distinguished history promises to broaden the organization’s reach and bring the power and beauty of the arts to a greater number of people.  I look forward to working with the staff and board to build the support needed to execute Jenny’s ambitious vision.”

Murray Horwitz, who previously held the position of Director of Development, continues at WPAS in the role of Director of Special Projects with an emphasis upon cross-disciplinary initiatives.

Bassion is an accomplished fundraiser with 17 years of experience at some of the country’s leading cultural organizations. He most recently served as Director of Development for the Los Angeles Conservancy, the largest local, member-based historic preservation organization in the United States. During his tenure he successfully built the organization’s philanthropic culture, resulting in significant gifts that transformed the organization’s capacity to fulfill its mission and attract broader support.

From 2007 to 2011 Bassion managed the leadership giving program at Los Angeles Opera, where he also developed and managed a successful international fundraising campaign to support the company’s first-ever presentation of the Ring cycle.

Bassion has also held senior development positions with Seattle Opera and The Lyric Opera of Chicago, where he began his fundraising career as an intern in the company’s capital campaign office.

A Philadelphia native, he is a graduate of the University of Maryland at College Park and the recipient of an OPERA America Professional Fellowship in administration.

Funded in part by the D.C. Commission on the Arts & Humanities, an agency supported in part by National Endowment for the Arts.  

About WPAS

Since 1965, Washington Performing Arts Society has had a foundational role in the arts in our nation’s capital, creating profound opportunities that connect community and artists, in both education and performance. Through live events in 11 venues that criss-cross the D.C. metropolitan area, the careers of emerging artists are launched and nurtured, and established artists return to develop closer relationships with WPAS audiences and creative partners.

As one of the leading presenters in the nation, Washington Performing Arts Society embraces a broad spectrum of the performing arts, including classical music, jazz, gospel, contemporary dance and music, international music and art forms, and new work.  Dynamic education programs in the public schools and beyond are hallmarks of WPAS, as are WPAS’s Embassy Adoption Program and two resident gospel choirs.

In the 2012–13 season, WPAS was twice honored for its work at the intersection of arts presenting and education: by President Barack Obama with a National Medal of Arts (becoming only the fourth D.C.-based arts group and the first arts presenter of its kind to be so honored), and the Mayor’s Arts Award for Excellence in Service to the Arts.