Renae Williams Niles
Renae Williams Niles has worked in the arts and nonprofit sectors for over 25 years. Early in her career, she worked with the Lula Washington Dance Theatre as an apprentice dancer and eventually company manager overseeing national touring of the professional company. She also served as director of grant programs for the Los Angeles County Arts Commission, where she crafted the Commission’s first economic impact report and participated in the selection of artists for the Ford Amphitheatre. She was the first chief operating officer/associate dean of administration for the University of Southern California Kaufman School of Dance, and also authored their equity plan and co-led diversity and inclusion efforts. For three years, Renae was adjunct faculty for Claremont Graduate University’s Arts Management program. She is currently the executive director for the Culver City Education Foundation, funding district-wide essential programs and priorities. Renae was recently named the Chief Content and Engagement Officer for the LA Philharmonic and will step into that position in June 2021. For over 11 years, Renae worked for The Music Center eventually becoming vice president of programming. In addition to guiding all facets of the dance series, she curated the presentation of over 50 internationally-acclaimed ballet and contemporary companies, created the highly-regarded programs BalletNOW and Moves After Dark and also commissioned the world premiere of LA Dance Project. While at The Music Center, she collaborated with the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater, American Ballet Theatre, The Apollo Theater, Center Theatre Group, Dance Camera West, LA Opera, Live Nation, REDCAT and others. Renae continues to guest curate and has worked with the LA Philharmonic, within both Walt Disney Concert Hall and at the Hollywood Bowl. She was recently named guest curator for The Joyce Theater’s American Dance Platform for January 2022 in New York. Renae is also known for moderating conversations with renowned artists including the feature film La La Land’s entire creative team, award-winning choreographers such as Camille A. Brown and Sir Matthew Bourne, legendary artist Yo-Yo Ma and with artist/author Ben Folds to name a few.
Since 2014, Renae has been a Fellow with the Los Angeles Institute for the Humanities. She frequently serves on boards, as an advisor, grant review panelist, and as an anonymous nominator for national foundations. She has served as a panelist for the Entertainment Industry Foundation, the James Irvine Foundation, the National Endowment for the Arts, United States Artists, and the W.M. Keck Foundation among many others. Renae served as Board President of the Western Arts Alliance (WAA), on the board of trustees for Dance/USA and as a three-year advisor for the New England Foundation for the Arts’ National Dance Project. Within the Los Angeles area, she has served on the Dance Resource Center board, as a founding member of Emerging Arts Leaders, founding member of the Culver City Cultural Affairs Foundation, founding member of USC Kaufman’s Board of Advisors, Host Committee Co-Chair for the 2018 Dance/USA national conference, and currently serves as an advisor to BODYTRAFFIC and an unofficial advisor for many artists and dance companies. She is currently board chair of the Association of Performing Arts Professionals and board member of American Dance Movement. In 2017, she received the WAA Service to the Field Award.
In addition to being an alum of USC, Renae more recently completed an executive education program with the USC Marshall School of Business. She holds a certificate in Diversity and Inclusion from Cornell University and participated in the inaugural USC Racial Equity Leadership Academy. She is the proud mother of three, one a 2020 USC alum, and resides in Culver City, Calif. with her husband, who is a proud UCLA alumnus.