Baryshnikov Arts Center appoints Sonja Kostich as Executive Director

The Baryshnikov Center for the Arts (BAC) is pleased to announce that Sonja Kostich has been appointed Executive Director of BAC, subject to Board approval. She will take office in mid-October 2022. Ms. Kostich succeeds Cora Cahanwho served as President and CEO of the organization from October 2019. During her tenure, Ms. Cahan, working in tandem with the Founder and Artistic Director Mikhail Baryshnikovushered in BAC through the organization’s 2020 pivot to online-only programming, the advent of the Virtual Artist Commissions initiative (providing space and resources for artists to create new work in film form for presentation on BAC Digital, BAC’s streaming platform), and the organization’s first hybrid season in spring 2022, including the successful reestablishment of in-person public programming.

Ms. Kostich will join BAC from Kaatsbaan Culture Park, where she has served as General Manager and Artistic Director, a position she has held since December 2018. In just under four years, Ms. Kostich has brought the multidisciplinary artist sanctuary and venue from presentation and commissioning to strong financial health and has established the organization as a multi-award-winning arts and cultural hub. Prior to her appointment at Kaatsbaan, Ms. Kostich began her career as a professional ballet dancer, performing with American Ballet Theatre, San Francisco Ballet and Zurich Ballet before moving into contemporary dance, where she worked with Mikhail Baryshnikov‘s White Oak Dance Project and co-founded and co-directed OtherShore, a New York-based dance company. After retiring from dancing, Ms. Kostich pursued a BBA in accounting and business communication at CUNY Baruch College, Zicklin School of Business. After a stint at Goldman Sachs in the finance division, she pursued a master’s degree from CUNY Baruch College in arts administration and served as finance manager at Marc Morris Dance Group and as Program Manager at the New York City Center.

As LAC’s administrative manager, Ms. Kostich, alongside Mr. Baryshnikov, will oversee all facets of the organization, including strategic planning, fundraising, budget oversight, programming and personnel management and installations. Commenting on her appointment, Ms. Kostich said, “I am delighted to join BAC as the next Executive Director. It’s an honor to succeed Cora Cahan, whose prolific career has contributed enormously to New York’s artistic landscape. I look forward to working with Mikhail Baryshnikov and the rest of the BAC team in its important mission to support a wide range of artists and audiences at a culturally phenomenal time in New York. Having followed BAC since its inception in 2005 – and standing alongside the arts community in gratitude for BAC’s enormous contribution and support over the years – it is a privilege to now join this organization as it strives to continue to develop its immense potential as a leading multidisciplinary center for the arts in the cultural capital of the world, and to help reinvent what it means to support artists, innovate across a range of art forms and create a diverse and exciting audience of supporters and partners. »

BAC Founder and Artistic Director Mikhail Baryshnikov says: “As with many arts organizations, the past three years have presented LAC with many unforeseen challenges. Nevertheless, our President and CEO, Cora Cahan, has successfully guided us through this unprecedented time. BAC 2022 has a robust online presence, a larger and more diverse board of directors, and a solid financial base. With LAC firmly poised to move forward into the future, we are indebted to Ms. Cahan for her diligent and creative leadership and wish her well in all her future endeavours. I have known her successor, Executive Director Sonja Kostich, for many years – as a talented young dancer, as co-founder of OtherShore, and have seen her bring new life and energy to Kaatsbaan. I am honored that she brings her talents to BAC and I am convinced that her creative vision, her financial acumen and her love of the arts are precisely what BAC needs to lead us into the future.”

On behalf of the BAC Board of Directors, Board Chair Dave S. Hattem said, “We are thrilled to welcome Sonja Kostich as BAC’s next CEO. A member of the dance community for over 30 years, a business leader, CFO of a major dance company, and Managing Director and Artistic Director of Kaatsbaan, Ms. Kostich brings a wonderfully diverse portfolio of experiences to BAC. She has the energy, vision and passion to help lead BAC, building on its rich history and mission. Couldn’t be happier with Ms. Kostich’s appointment, and we look forward to the exciting next phase of BAC!”

About the Baryshnikov Art Center (BAC)

BAC is the realization of a long-held vision by the artistic director Mikhail Baryshnikov who sought to build an arts center in Manhattan that would serve as a gathering place for artists of all disciplines. The opening of BAC in 2005 marked the launch of this mission, establishing a thriving creative laboratory and performance space for artists around the world. BAC’s activities encompass a robust residency program complemented by a range of professional services, including commissions for new work, as well as the presentation of performances by artists at different stages of their careers. Along with its commitment to supporting artists, BAC is dedicated to building audiences for the arts by presenting contemporary and innovative works at affordable ticket prices. For more information, visit

William E. Bennett