Doug Shipman. (courtesy of WAC)

A conversation with Doug Shipman, outgoing president and CEO of Woodruff Arts Center

John Lemley | 24 AUG 2020

Located in midtown Atlanta, the Woodruff Arts Center is the Southeast’s premiere visual and performing arts complex, housing on one campus three of the city’s most prominent arts organizations: the Alliance Theatre, the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra, and the High Museum of Art. Since opening in 1968, the Woodruff Arts Center has grown to become one of the country’s top cultural landmarks and is now the third largest art center in the United States.

Leading the Woodruff Arts Center as its president and CEO for the past three years, has been 47-year-old Arkansas native Doug Shipman. Since accepting the leadership role in 2017, Shipman has guided the organization through an historic period of expansion, overseeing the rebuild and reopening of the Alliance Theatre Coca-Cola Stage, the re-installation of the High Museum of Art’s permanent collection, and the diversification and expansion of the patron base across the entire Arts Center.


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With all of these accomplishments to his credit and with the Woodruff Arts Center on sound footing, Shipman will leave his post at the end of August.

Shipman informed the Woodruff board in February of his impending departure. Over the past six months, the two sides have worked together to respond to the impacts of the Covid-19 pandemic and figure out a smooth leadership transition.

Now, just days before he closes his office door at the Woodruff for the final time, Doug Shipman joined EarRelevant via Skype to talk about his time at the Arts Center and what lies ahead for both the organization and himself. ■

Listen to John Lemley’s conversation with Doug Shipman:


John LemleyJohn Lemley is an Atlanta-based host and producer who has been a mainstay of the city’s media scene for over 20 years, first as an on-air host and producer at 90.1 WABE, then as host and producer of John Lemley’s City Café on 1690 WLMB. John currently serves as an investigative reporter for Nancy Grace’s Sirius XM radio program, Crime Stories.


South entrance to the Galleria in front of Symphony Hall, Woodruff Arts Center.

South entrance to the Galleria in front of Symphony Hall, Woodruff Arts Center.


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