Feb 03, 2022
Johann Zietsman, CEO of Adrienne Arsht Center

Johann Zietsman: 

Born in the 1950s in South Africa, Johann Zietsman grew up under the Apartheid regime and first got involved in the arts as a brass player in his high school band. This led to his lifelong passion for the transformative value and role of the arts in a community.

After serving in the military, he graduated as an architect, and Johann and his wife, Tharrie, moved to Ithaca, New York, where he completed a Master’s degree in music.

After returning to South Africa in 1982, Johann started a 20-year career in various executive arts management positions, including a music school, two orchestras, an opera and music theatre company, a community arts center, a large multi-theatre performing arts company, and a commercial communications company.

During this time, he was actively involved in the political transformation of his homeland through pioneering work in the arts, resulting in recognition from Mr. Nelson Mandela’s government. As a volunteer, he launched and directed two community youth initiatives, which currently serve about 4000 at-risk children (annually) in townships.

Johann and his family moved to the United States when he was recruited in 2002 by the International Society for the Performing Arts (ISPA), based in New York City. Since June 2007 he served as Executive Director of the Mesa Arts Center, and Director of Arts and Culture for the city of Mesa, Arizona. In December 2009, Johann accepted the position of President and CEO of Arts Commons in Calgary, Canada.

He took up the role of President & CEO of the Adrienne Arsht Center in Miami in December 2018.