Karen Allen Baxter is the retired senior managing director of the Department of Africana Studies/Rites and Reason Theatre where she developed and produced the department’s and theatre’s projects, productions and programs. These have included Mule Bone by Zora Neale Hurston and Langston Hughes, and The Disappearance by novelist Rosa Guy; national tours of Heart to Heart; Freshwater Road by Denise Nicholas; and the staged reading of The Ballad of Emmett Till by Ifa Bayeza. Baxter also curated and produced The Black Lavender Experience (BLX), theater and conversation sparked by queer artists of color, and spearheaded the Tougaloo-BLX intensive exchange. She started her career in the box office at the New Lafayette Theatre in Harlem. Baxter managed reggae artists Bob Marley & The Wailers, Jimmy Cliff, and Burning Spear. She co-produced the Grammy-nominated album Reggae Sunsplash - A Tribute to Bob Marley. From 1987 to 1999, she produced the Annual AUDELCO Awards that honor Black Theatre excellence. She was also the executive director of Frank Silvera Writers' Workshop. Baxter holds a BS in sociology from the City University of New York, an arts management certificate from Harvard University, and a MS in arts management from Lesley University. Baxter was awarded a two-year scholarship by August Wilson and completed the Minority Business Executive Program at Dartmouth College’s Amos Tuck School of Business.
Currently, Baxter is editing a book about costume design in Black Theatre; chairs the Southside Cultural Center’s Board of Directors; and is a new Trustee of Trinity Repertory Company and teaches a Cultural Equity course, Art Extension Service, UMass Amherst.
Courses Recently Taught
Cultural Equity in the Arts