Stephanie Ybarra is a program officer in the Arts and Culture program of the Mellon Foundation, with a focus on performing arts. Before joining the Foundation, she served as artistic director of Baltimore Center Stage, where she broke ground as the country’s first Latina artistic director of a League of Resident Theaters (LORT) member theater. During her tenure, she was instrumental in leveraging powerful artistic works as a catalyst for conversation, reflection, and action.
Prior to taking on the role of Artistic Director of Baltimore Center Stage in 2018, Stephanie served as the director of special artistic projects at The Public Theater where she led the Mobile Unit and Public Forum programs. She first launched her career in her home state of Texas at the Dallas Theater Center and Dallas Children’s Theater, later transitioning to institutions including the Yale Repertory Theater, Two River Theater Company, and Citizen Schools, a national after-school program based in Boston. While in New York, she co-founded the Artists’ Anti-Racism Coalition, a grassroots organizing effort to dismantle systems of oppression in the Off-Broadway community. Stephanie’s work has been widely recognized, with awards including the Josephine Abady Award for producing from New York’s League of Professional Theatre Women; the Yerba Buena Center for the Arts (YBCA) 100 in 2019; the Congressional Award for Achievement in Excellence from Zara Aina, an international nonprofit dedicated to community-engaged artmaking; and for her sustained work around diversity and inclusion, she received the prestigious Nation Builder Award from the National Black Caucus of State Legislators in 2018.
Stephanie serves as a faculty member at The Juilliard School and New York University. She’s currently on the board of Citizen University, Make Believe Association, as well as the Artistic Council for the People’s Theatre Project. She holds her MFA from the Yale School of Drama and a BFA from Baylor University. She is on Instagram at @saybarra