SPACE on Ryder Farm appoints Kelly M. Burdick as Executive Director


Kelly Burdick is the newly appointed executive director of SPACE on Ryder Farm. (Benjamin Allen / HudValley Photo)

The Board of Directors of SPACE on Ryder Farm today announced the appointment of Kelly M. Burdick as its new Executive Director. Burdick’s selection comes following a national search conducted by New York-based Tom O’Connor Consulting Group.

Burdick is only the second executive director of the Brewster-based arts organization–she was preceded by founding executive director and North Salem resident Emily Simoness–and she brings more than 20 years experience as a performing arts administrator. “Building on the visionary work of our Founding Executive Director, Emily Simoness, Kelly is adeptly positioned to shape this new chapter for SPACE, steeped in the needs of our artistic community and furthering our commitment to diversity, equity, inclusion and justice,” said Board and Search Committee Chair Janet Olshansky.

“I am thrilled to join the team at SPACE,” Burdick said. “From the moment I stepped on to the fertile soil of Ryder Farm, I could feel the creative energy permeating the grounds and buildings. It is an honor to be invited to work with the dedicated staff and steadfast Board of Directors to bring SPACE into its next phase. I’m excited to see what we can grow, together.”

"Kelly Burdick is an extraordinary arts leader with an inspiring track record of work in arts organizations large and small,” added board member and five-time resident at SPACE Madeleine George, who was part of the seven-member search committee made up of board members, staff, and alumni artists. “She has guided legacy organizations through transitions with a sure and steady hand, and she has built up infrastructure in newer organizations where there was none. She also brings to SPACE a background as a working artist, an expertise in plant medicine, and a lifelong relationship to family farming. For all these reasons and more, we couldn't be more thrilled to welcome Kelly to the Farm. She's uniquely positioned to carry forward SPACE's one-of-a-kind vision, and we're so excited to support her as she grows and inflects that vision with her own passions, commitments, and ideas."

Since its founding in 2011, thousands of artists, innovators, and changemakers have come to SPACE to do their most important work. “I am truly excited for SPACE under the leadership of Kelly Burdick,” said board member and playwright Mfoniso Udofia. “Her passionate leadership style and her understanding of the need of a 'communal table' is exactly what is needed at SPACE, and I can't wait to see how SPACE and SPACE artists will grow under her stewardship.”

Burdick’s experience spans development, communications, and organizational structure. Most recently, she was a key member of the leadership team that brought the American Shakespeare Center through the pandemic and into a new collaborative management structure. She was a member of the team that brought the Classical Theatre of Harlem out of debt and cemented Uptown Shakespeare in the Park’s long-term residency in Marcus Garvey Park. Prior to that, Burdick worked at the Upper Manhattan Empowerment Zone, creating and implementing large-scale capacity building grants for arts organizations in Harlem, Washington Heights, and Inwood.

Burdick holds an MFA from Columbia University and a citation from the New York City Council for Outstanding Service to the City for her work with the Northern Manhattan Arts Alliance. In 2020, she earned her certificate in plant medicine from Iwilla Remedy.

To learn more about SPACE, visit

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