Dale Lewis: Executive Director, Usdan Center for the Creative and Performing Arts
by Derek Grosso
Where were you born and where do you currently reside?
I was born in New York, and reside on Long Island and in Connecticut.
Walk us through a day in your life.
Usdan Center provides me with varied, challenging, and delightful opportunities. During our summer season, I work with wonderful performer-teachers and 2,000 young people who study at the Center every day. The energy, talent, and sparkle of these great Long Island kids provides me with inspiration and joy. My day consists of educational and artistic planning and programming, as well as the full range of administrative duties that relate to the operation of a large educational institution. These include hiring and supervising a faculty of 200 and a support staff of 100, choosing and presenting artist concerts, working with our Board, and a new Long Island Leadership Council, financial planning and fundraising, personnel management, facilities planning and management (Usdan has a 200-acre campus in Huntington, with 70 buildings), development, government, community and donor relations, etc. I plan curriculum and program additions and changes, and am privileged to work with Usdan's "family" of superb artist-administrators.
What is your favorite restaurant?
My favorite restaurant is in East Orleans on the Cape. It is a clam shack called Captain Cass. Among my favorites on Long Island is Angelina's.
Favorite television show?
Curb Your Enthusiasm
Favorite season/time of year?
Summer (at Usdan!)
Favorite mode of transportation?
Favorite local sports team?
Favorite place on Long Island?
Usdan's magnificent and inspiring woodland.
Most dynamic duo, real or fictional?
Felix and Oscar
What is playing on your radio right now?
WNYC's Leonard Lopate show. Favorite show: Fresh Air
What newspaper(s) did you read this morning?
The Chronicle of Philanthropy
I would like a lifetime subscription to ______ magazine?
Most recent book read or movie seen?
Book: Dan Brown's The Da Vinci Code
Movie: Cinderella Man (not yet released)
Historic figure you would most like to meet, living or dead?
My distant relative, Dr. Emanuel Lasker. He was a mathematician, philosopher, social scientist, humanitarian, and chess grand master. Lasker was world chess champion from 1894 until 1921. My father was a favorite of his.
Who would you like to see run for President?
Memory of growing up?
I was a performing cellist, and have numerous memories of traveling throughout the country on the way to concert appearances.
Favorite vacation spot?
Favorite local secret?
Usdan Center for the Arts
What has been your greatest/proudest accomplishment thus far?
My choice of a perfect spouse, and the successes of our two beautiful children. Professionally: Providing opportunities for, and, perhaps, inspiring young people whose passion is art.
What would you like people to know about you?
They know enough!
Most important life lesson?
Embrace change. It is inevitable in any case.
What makes Long Island special?
Long Island has beautiful spaces, warm and natural people, and the vitality of being part of the metropolitan area. And then there's the water...