Producer | Presenter | Funder | Arts Consultant
Mikki Shepard is a producer, presenter, funder and arts consultant. She is currently the producer of a new festival for Little Island, a new public park in New York City. Ms. Shepard is also advising national foundations on new program initiatives, and important African American arts and cultural institutions on organizational development and sustainability.
Mikki Shepard was the Executive Producer of the Apollo Theater from 2009 – 2016. She created and implemented a new institutional vision and organizational infrastructure, informed institutional policy and direction and lead the Apollo’s programming, marketing and development activities. Under her leadership, the Apollo Theater’s new artistic vision celebrated and re-envisioned its legacy with contemporary music, dance, theater, opera, performance art, comedy and spoken word programming. A key aspect of her work was the development of the Apollo’s 21st Century global program vision, creating large-scale productions and festivals, the revitalization of Amateur Night and its digital presence, the creation of the Apollo Music Café and Apollo Comedy Club and international tours of original Apollo productions such as James Brown: Get on the Good Foot, A Celebration in Dance. Other major productions include Apollo Club Harlem, the Apollo’s first global festivals - Breakin’ Convention – A Hip Hop Dance Theater Festival and WOW, Women of the World Festival.
Prior to the Apollo Theater, Ms. Shepard was a consultant to major foundations and performing arts institutions: The Ford Foundation, Heinz Endowments, Doris Duke Charitable Trust, New Jersey Performing Arts Center, Jacob’s Pillow, to name a few. Her work focused on strategic planning, organizational restructuring, and program development/assessments. Ms. Shepard was the Director of Arts and Humanities at the Rockefeller Foundation and produced over 25 performing arts programs for the Brooklyn Academy of Music, including Steps in Time, DanceAfrica, Dance Black America: 300 years of Black Dance in America. As executive producer and co-founder of Brooklyn’s 651Arts, she produced 100 Years of Jazz and Blues Festival, Sung and Unsung/Jazz Women, Dance Women/Living Legends, and Lost Jazz Shrines and was the architect of the Africa Exchange Program, a major Ford Foundation international initiative.
Ms. Shepard is a member of the Mertz Gilmore Foundation Board of Directors and served as its chair from 2010 to 2021. She is a member of The Fan Fox & Leslie R. Samuels Foundation board. Past board memberships include: the Brooklyn Academy of Music, Association of Performing Arts Presenters (APAP), Brooklyn Community Foundation and Upper Manhattan Empowerment Zone. She served as a Tony Awards Nominator from 2016 – 2019. Ms. Shepard’s awards include: 2017 Bessies Award (NYC Dance and Performance Award) for her work in dance, APAP’s Fan Taylor Distinguished Service Award (2017) for exemplary service to the field of professional presenting, and was the first recipient of Arts Presenters Halsey and Alice North Award for Committed Excellence and Service to the Field (2014).