SARASOTA, FL – Westcoast Black Theatre Troupe has named two supporters to leadership roles: Marian Moss has been named board chair, and Doris Johnson is the organization’s newest board member. The two bring business savvy, organizational knowledge and deep commitment to the cause to the table.
Moss fills the vacancy left when former board chair, Julie Leach, was named as WBTT’s executive director this summer. She was asked to join the board in 2009, to assist in the reorganization that helped guide WBTT’s journey from financial uncertainty to fiscal health, under former president Christine Jennings. She has served on various committees, including finance, governance and the search committee, which she chaired in 2015.
“I look forward to working with Julie Leach and my fellow board members – we have the most amazing board,” Moss said. “We bring a different area of expertise to the table, and each of us shares a passion for WBTT.”
A former educator, who has taught elementary school special education, secondary school social studies and mathematics, and assistant dean of the College of Education at the University of New Orleans, Moss joined her family’s business, Moss Brothers and Sons, Inc. in 1988. The company, which was founded in 1898, began as home builders but now deals primarily in commercial real estate development, including building U.S. Post Offices.
Moss is deeply involved in the community with organizations including Planned Parenthood of Southwest and Central Florida, National Council of Jewish Women (immediate past co-president), New College (she co-chaired the Clam Bake two years ago and will co-chair the Daughters for Life luncheon in 2016), Girls, Inc., Circus Arts Conservatory and Sarasota Opera.
Doris Johnson, who first became involved with the organization when she attended a summer show in 2012 and then became a season subscriber, has been a devoted supporter of WBTT from the beginning. She has been a sponsor and committee member in support of numerous events over the past three years, and was the co-chair for the April Fools’ Fete in April of this year.
Before retiring to Sarasota with her husband, Johnson enjoyed a successful career in medical office administration management in Texas. She also had myriad professional and volunteer board involvements, including State of Texas Medical Association Alliance (president), the Performing Arts Center of Fort Worth, Tarrant County AIDS Outreach Center (president), the Harris Methodist Hospital Foundation, and too many more to list.
Johnson – who was a member of the Drama Club and performed in “A Raisin in the Sun” while a student at Rust College in Holy Springs, Miss. – feels that the arts have always been central to her cultural life. Sarasota’s vibrant arts community, including the availability of a theater promoting and celebrating African American history and culture, played a major role in the Johnsons’ decision to move here.
“WBTT provides young artists with a platform through which they can shape their skills and garner national exposure,” said Johnson. “I have seen how this community embraces the young performers and feel that this relationship is immensely important to their success and to the success of WBTT. Honestly, I am just thrilled to be a part of it!”
“I greatly admire [WBTT founder and artistic director] Nate Jacobs and what he has achieved in bringing diversity to our community. I am particularly aware of this when I travel with the troupe and realize that we are nationally unique,” said Moss. “We are so fortunate that the Sarasota-Manatee community has truly embraced our organization and our artists.”
For more information about WBTT or to purchase tickets for the 2015-2016 season, go to westcoastblacktheatre.org.
About Westcoast Black Theatre Troupe:
The Westcoast Black Theatre Troupe of Florida, Inc. is the only professional black theater company on Florida’s West Coast. The mission is to produce plays that promote and celebrate the African-American experience, attract diverse audiences, while using its productions as a vehicle for supporting African-American artists and building the self-esteem of African-American youth. For more information on WBTT, visit the website at westcoastblacktheatre.org or call (941) 366-1505.