Joel Ruark BFA 1978 Distinguished Alumni 2013
In 2000, Joel was drawn back to NEW DRAMATISTS, where he continues to serve as the Executive Director.In the recent twelve years of Joel's leadership, NEW DRAMATISTS has gained significant institutional strength. NEW DRAMATISTS was recognized with a 2001 Tony honor and an institutional Obie Award in 2005.During those twelve years, the previously cash-strapped organization saw extraordinary growth and increased fiscal stability with an annual budget expanding nearly 80%, the retirement of all outstanding debt and the establishment of a reserve fund of just over $1.1 million.Services to writers expanded and the solid reputation that the Organization had established in the fifties and sixties had been quite fully restored.In 2012, Joel oversaw an extensive restoration of NEW DRAMATISTS' flagship 110-year-old building in Manhattan.Thanks to those substantial cash reserves, the Organization remains debt free.
The playwrights that have enjoyed seven-year residencies at NEW DRAMATISTS have collectively been awarded 24 Tony Awards, 73 Obies, 17 Drama Desk Awards, 4 MacArthur Fellowships, 12 Susan Smith Blackburn Awards and 17 Pulitzers, (including the 2012 Pulitzer, awarded to Quiara Alegria Hudes.)Ten of those Pulitzers were awarded to NEW DRAMATISTS playwrights during Joel's tenure.NEW DRAMATISTS has become an important resource for many of America's finest playwrights who have had the opportunity to participate in artistic residencies at critical times in their artistic development.Joel's passion for the mission of NEW DRAMATISTS has made his ongoing work a labor of love and he is proud to have had the opportunity to work with so many fine writers throughout his tenure.
For the 2013 fiscal year, New Dramatists was awarded a grant from the National Endowment for the Arts of $100,000, the largest amount awarded in this round to any arts organization in the country.