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City appoints Branislav Henselmann as Managing Director of Cultural Services

December 15 2016

“We are thrilled to welcome Branislav Henselmann to the City of Vancouver. He brings a wealth of knowledge, experience and creativity to the city having spent time as part of the arts community in New York, London and Munich,” says Mayor Gregor Robertson.

Branislav Henselmann

We are pleased to announce the appointment of Branislav Henselmann as Managing Director of Cultural Services where he will play a lead role in:

  • Shaping our arts and culture vision
  • Developing policies and programs to support our efforts to ensure residents and visitors have access to a wide variety of activities and experiences

“We are thrilled to welcome Branislav Henselmann to the City of Vancouver. He brings a wealth of knowledge, experience and creativity to the city having spent time as part of the arts community in New York, London and Munich,” says Mayor Gregor Robertson. “Arts and culture plays a huge role in Vancouver’s economy and livability and we look forward to Branislav helping us do even more to continue to support our thriving arts and culture community.”

“We are delighted to have Branislav join the City,” says Kathleen Llewellyn-Thomas. “He brings his wide international experience and local Vancouver knowledge to Cultural Services at City Hall.”

About Branislav

Branislav comes to the City as the Executive Director of Ballet BC, leading the organization through a period of extensive growth to a new institutional culture resulting in record-setting box office and fundraising revenues and wide national and international critical acclaim. In addition to a number of achievements, Branislav was recognized in Business in Vancouver’s 2014 Forty Under 40 award.

Branislav currently serves as the Chair of Canadian Ballet Companies for the National Dance Council and a Board Director for the Canadian Dance Assembly.

Previously, Branislav was the Artistic Curator with New York City Ballet’s Choreographic Institute, and also Head of Programming & Learning at DanceEast, a national dance organization where he was responsible for overseeing grants and awards programs.

Branislav is a 2004 Master of Fine Arts (Dance, Choreography & Business Administration) Dean’s Fellowship recipient at New York University and a 2005 Merce Cunningham Foundation Scholar.

From Branislav

"I am thrilled to join Vancouver’s Community Services team as the Managing Director of Cultural Services, where I will have a distinct privilege and a unique opportunity to build on the successes of existing programs, that have nurtured some of the most distinct artistic voices in the country – voices such as Ballet BC, where I will be ending my tenure as Executive Director,” says Branislav Henselmann. “Public investment in arts and culture, with a firm focus on creating social capital through breaking down barriers and providing an opportunity for cultural dialogue and social interaction is at the heart of any vibrant city. In my new role, I look forward to identifying collaborative, community oriented, and innovative strategies for the Vancouver’s cultural sector - strategies that will ensure ongoing vitality of Vancouver’s civic life, built around and defined by the shared civic culture and values. This targeted, collective investment in the cultural sector will be key in fulfilling Vancouver’s current and future aspirations."

From Ballet BC

“Branislav has been an extraordinary Executive Director at Ballet BC during an important period in which Ballet BC has emerged as a company of increasing international importance,” says Dr. Kevin Leslie, Chair and President of the Ballet BC Board of Directors. “His unique vision and energy will be missed and will not go unremembered. The Board has already commenced a search to fill the Executive Director position and aims for an efficient transition. We congratulate Branislav and wish him the very best in his new position with the City.”

Elevating and emphasizing arts and culture in Vancouver

Art and Culture are critical elements of a high functioning and healthy city and we will continue to move forward with its plans to elevate and emphasize art and culture in Vancouver. As outlined in the Culture Plan, our vision for arts and culture includes supporting a diverse and thriving cultural ecology by providing robust support programs for local arts and cultural activities.

Key services delivered through the department include:

  • Managing civic and private sector public art programs
  • Managing other culture related projects
  • Allocating grants to arts and cultural organizations
  • Supporting and developing creative spaces for cultural organizations
  • Overseeing City-owned facilities — including the:
    • Vanier Park cultural institutions
    • Vancouver Art Gallery
    • Vancouver East Cultural Centre (The Cultch)

To support this, City Council recently gave a significant boost to Vancouver’s Public Art program, with $1.5 million to be spent through 2018. This includes the first-ever Vancouver Mural Festival as well as expanding operating grants to cultural organizations to $11.5 million in 2017 including community art grants to $195,000 annually, an increase of $300,000 over two years.