Andre Perry, MFA

Director of Arts, Engagement, and Inclusion and Senior Advisor to the Executive Officer

As Director of Arts, Engagement, and Inclusion Andre Perry leverages the transformative power of arts and culture to build a campus climate of inclusion and unity. Working closely with the Executive Officer of the Division of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DDEI), campus leadership, and the students, faculty, and staff at the university’s arts and culture academic departments and initiatives, Perry stewards programs, necessary conversations, and policy improvements that engender value and belonging for students, faculty, staff, and alumni at the University of Iowa. 

As a Senior Advisor, Perry works with the Executive Officer on developing and managing short- and long-term strategies for the division as well as provide administrative oversight on campus climate surveys. Furthermore, he interfaces with the DDEI Director of Strategic Communications to provide platforms for candid campus stories that reflect the success, setbacks, and opportunities of a university striving to build a positive learning and working environment for its constituents. 

Perry comes to the division with remarkable experience in the arts and community building. In his most recent role, Perry served as Executive Director of The Englert Theatre, one of Iowa’s most robust presenting and producing arts organizations. During his 11-year tenure, he elevated the theater’s profile into a nationally recognized, locally valued arts institution. 

His artistic vision at The Englert set a new mark for truly representative programming in the Iowa City area. As co-founder/creator of Mission Creek Festival, Witching Hour, and the Writers of Color Reading Series, Perry has consistently designed platforms that celebrate voices and perspectives rarely featured in our community. 

A big-picture thinker, Perry also served as Executive Director and co-architect of The Englert Theatre’s $5.5 million collaborative campaign project with FilmScene, leading to the preservation of two historic properties and the building of a new arts space in downtown Iowa City. The campaign illustrated how partnership among cultural entities can lead to more effective outcomes for the audiences they serve. 

With a firm belief that “in-the-weeds” policy writing is as important as “big vision” thinking, Perry recently led the Englert team through a strategic rewriting of mission, vision, and values--effectively codifying the organization’s commitment to a safe, positive work culture and programmatic policies that embrace diverse representation. 

He also joins the division with extensive experience in DEI-specific work on the regional and national levels. As a board member, he worked closely with CEO Jeff Disterhoft and Board President Fred Mims on GreenState Credit Union’s racial equity task force, resulting in the institution’s investment of $500 million in a minority homeownership initiative. He currently serves as a board member and Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion committee member for Arts Midwest (Minneapolis, MN) and the National Independent Venue Association (New York, NY.) After an 18-month commitment, in 2017, he earned a certificate from the Association for Performing Arts Professionals and University of Southern California’s Leadership Fellows Program, an initiative developed to build diverse leadership in the field of arts and community building. 

Perry is an MFA graduate of the University of Iowa’s Nonfiction Writing Program and received his BA in English from Princeton University. He has previously worked as a graduate assistant teacher in the Department of English, advisor in the Academic Advising Center, and continues to teach graduate students as a Visiting Adjunct Assistant Professor in the Nonfiction Writing Program.