Millbrook Community Partnership Announces Appointment of Cora Cahan as Chief Executive Officer
Photography by Brigitte Lacombe
July 6, 2023
MILLBROOK, NY — The Millbrook Community Partnership (MCP) is excited to announce the appointment of its first Chief Executive Officer, Cora Cahan. Cahan will provide strategic leadership and direction for both the Thorne Center and Bennett Park projects.
Cahan’s strong background in repurposing existing community-based historic buildings along with her expertise in the performing arts, will be invaluable as she leads MCP forward with its vision to create a cultural hub and communal gathering space in the heart of Millbrook.
“It was crucial for MCP to find the right leadership in this moment to propel our projects into their next phases of development. We needed a person with experience leading organizations from the ground up, strong ties to the arts community and a background in nonprofit development. Cora brings all of that and more,” commented Oakleigh Thorne, President of MCP.
“After spending my career in New York City, I’m thrilled to be joining a project closer to home,” Cahan commented on her new position. “How remarkable and noteworthy it is that the dedicated board members of the Millbrook Community Partnership have accomplished so much. They have done a tremendous job getting the Thorne Center and Bennett Park projects off the ground and on the cusp of reinvention. I’m excited to have been drafted and entrusted with the responsibility of building on that progress by leading the projects to completion. In lockstep, the Park and the Center will amplify the natural beauty of the town by creating new ways of bringing folks together under either the same roof or the same sky.”
MCP’s mission is to turn two of Millbrook’s greatest liabilities into its greatest assets, with the conversion of the dilapidated Bennett College campus into a beautiful park at the entrance to the Village, and the preservation and renovation of the abandoned Thorne Memorial School Building as a state-of-the-art community center focused on the arts and learning. Cahan’s background is ideally suited to moving the mission forward.
After a distinguished career as a dancer, Cahan transitioned into an arts administrator as co-founder and Executive Director of the Feld Ballet and its school Ballet Tech. She developed the Lawrence A. Wien Center for Dance and transformed the Elgin Cinema into the award-winning Joyce Theater. She continues to serve as a Trustee Emeritus of both Ballet Tech and the Joyce Theater.
For 29 years, Cahan served as President and CEO of The New 42nd Street, a non-profit organization charged with restoring and finding appropriate uses for seven of the street’s historic theaters. Under her leadership, The New 42nd Street created a permanent workplace for performing artists and the creative process. Most recently, Cahan served as President and CEO of the Baryshnikov Arts Center.
Amongst Cahan’s impressive list of accomplishments, she serves on the Boards of The Park Avenue Armory, Hunter College Dance Advisory Board and Dancers’ Advisory Council of the Entertainment Community Fund [formerly the Actors Fund]. She has served on the boards of the Center for Architecture Foundation (NY AIA), CalArts Board of Governors, Overseer’s Committee of the Bessies Dance Award and The Times Square Alliance.
MCP introduced Cahan as the CEO at its recent event.
The new Thorne Center will serve the Village of Millbrook, the Town of Washington, and central Dutchess County by offering programs for all ages. The facility will include:
A Theater for music, dance, theatrical productions, lectures, film, streamed broadcasts and events,
A Digital Arts Lab featuring access to the expertise and tools necessary for creatives of all ages to design and build in any digital medium,
Community Workspace featuring enclosed and open cubicles, a group meeting room, communal printer and copier and high-speed internet access,
Art Galleries for exhibitions featuring a variety of visual arts and artifacts,
A Dance Studio for rehearsals, classes, public meetings and events,
A Culinary Arts Center featuring culinary instruction, a community kitchen for farm-to-table growers and a catering facility for Thorne Center events,
A Music and Podcast Studio featuring an individual practice and lesson room along with a recording studio, and
Art Studios featuring creative spaces under the iconic skylight on the 3rd floor.
The Bennett Park project will be completed in phases, with Eastern trails and the outdoor Greek Theater on track to open in 2023. The Western section will be opening in 2024, featuring:
An outdoor venue for concerts and performing arts,
Completion of thirty-two acres of beautifully landscaped parkland,
Expansion and improvement of the walking and biking trails, connecting with existing trails, and
A Bennett Museum and Visitors’ Center.