Smythe is the founder, CEO and Artistic Director for New Ballet Ensemble. At
the Los Angeles Music Center and through volunteerism in New York public
schools, Katie cultivated a vision to align with educators and human service
organizations to reach children on the margins in her hometown of Memphis,
Tenn. She founded New Ballet Ensemble in 2003 to build an arts bridge across
racial and economic barriers.
2008, 100 percent of NBE graduates have attended college, with five seniors
earning $700,000 in college scholarships in 2015. Acclaimed by the New York
Times, Wall Street Journal and Washington Post, Katie’s creative work, Nut
ReMix ™, Harlem at the John F. Kennedy Center and The Swan© with Lil Buck have
brought international attention to this inclusive Memphis organization.
2014, Katie accepted the National Youth Program Award (President’s Committee on
the Arts and the Humanities) from Michelle Obama.
serves on the board of the National Guild for Community Arts Education, the
Levitt Shell (for which she is a co-founder) and the Cooper Young Business
Association. She was a Fellow at the Community Arts Education Leadership
Institute, a delegate at the National Summit, Creative Youth Development, in
2014, and has served on the City of Memphis Youth Guidance Commission.