Newark Symphony Hall (NSH), New Jersey’s largest Black-led arts and entertainment venue, has announced the appointment of Talia L. Young as interim CEO following the resignation of President and CEO Taneshia Nash Laird, who is stepping down next month after four years. With a background in government affairs, economic development and entrepreneurship, Young has served on the NSH board since 2014. NSH’s board, led by Chair Fayemi Shakur, is spearheading the search for a permanent CEO while working closely with Nash Laird and Young on a transition plan.
“The opportunity to support Newark Symphony Hall during its time of transition is truly an honor. This legendary establishment fueled my love for the arts from an early age,” said Young. “I am committed to the restoration and revival of this remarkable center, expanding its accessibility and community engagement efforts, and reinforcing its fiscal solvency moving forward. I am grateful for Taneshia’s dynamic leadership and look forward to collaborating with the board, staff, administration, community leaders and donors.”
Since taking the helm in 2018, Nash Laird successfully launched a $50 million, 100th anniversary capital improvement campaign for NSH, listed on the National Register of Historic Places. Prudential contributed $2 million to the campaign, and the venue was gifted $750,000 from the New Jersey Historic Trust and another $750,000 from the Mellon Foundation to develop the venue’s programming department. In addition, for the first time in decades, NSH was allocated $5 million in the New Jersey state budget for 2022, which increased to $6 million in 2023.
“Taneshia has set us on a strong financial path to restore the historic building and cultural gem that is Newark Symphony Hall,” said Shakur, NSH’s board chair and the city of Newark’s arts and cultural affairs director. “With strong knowledge of NSH’s mission, values and priorities, Talia will be an excellent interim CEO as we continue to fundraise, attract new programming, and complete our restoration by our 100th anniversary in 2025.”
Young brings nearly 15 years of experience to NSH, including serving as the vice president of public and government relations for the City National Bank of NJ—the state’s first Black-owned and operated bank. She also served as the senior project and policy manager under the late U.S. Senator Frank R. Lautenberg. She is the CEO of Space 2 Create Social Impact Community Development Corporation, which works to expand economic equity and sustainability for communities of color. Young is a graduate of Hofstra University and recently completed a certificate in Creative Placemaking from New Jersey Institute of Technology.
“I would like to congratulate Talia L. Young on her new appointment as Newark Symphony Hall Interim CEO,” said Lt. Governor Sheila Y. Oliver, who also serves as commissioner of the New Jersey Department of Community Affairs. “I look forward to supporting a continued relationship with Newark Symphony Hall through our affiliate, New Jersey Historic Trust, which has already funded a preservation plan which is helping to guide future efforts to maintain, repair and restore the historic interior finishes and exterior restoration of this structure. With nearly 15 years in government affairs, economic development and entrepreneurship, I am confident that Talia will continue the momentum of restoring this beautiful 1920s urban landmark.”
In 2022, NSH added several full-time staff members including NSH’s first-ever director of development Mack Graham; first director of communications and social impact Chris Sabin; first operations manager and acting facilities manager Terry Brown; and first finance and administration manager Ranesha Hunt.
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