Press Release

January 20, 2016

(SCOTTSDALE, Ariz.) – The Scottsdale Cultural Council has announced the promotions of Dr. Sara Cochran to director and chief curator of Scottsdale Museum of Contemporary Art (SMoCA) and Ally Haynes-Hamblen to director of Scottsdale Center for the Performing Arts.

“The Scottsdale Cultural Council prides itself on the incredible talent and dedication of its staff,” remarked President and CEO Neale Perl. “Both Sara and Ally have served our organization with distinction. Their experience, insight and creativity are tremendous assets, and we know they will continue to do an outstanding job leading their respective divisions in a spirit of collaboration and innovation.”

Dr. Sara Cochran has been SMoCA’s interim director and curator since May 2015, overseeing all aspects of the Museum’s programming and exhibitions while working closely with the Cultural Council’s development and marketing departments to further the Museum’s success. She joined SMoCA in February 2014 as associate director, curator and educator. From 2008 to 2013, Dr. Cochran served as curator of modern and contemporary art at Phoenix Art Museum, where she produced numerous exhibitions, publications and public programs. From 2004 to 2008, she worked at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, and before that at the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum in New York.

Born and raised in Scotland, Dr. Cochran received her doctorate in 2005 from the Courtauld Institute of Art in London, writing on the late painting of Francis Picabia. She also holds a master’s and diploma of advanced studies (D.E.A.) in art history from Universite Paris-Sorbonne (Paris IV) in France. Dr. Cochran has taught at the Courtauld Institute of Art Summer School, Arizona State University and Sotheby’s Institute of Art in London, and has published and lectured in the United States and Europe in both French and English. She recently completed the 2015 Getty Leadership Institute’s Executive Education Program for Museum Leaders.

Ally Haynes-Hamblen has been interim director of Scottsdale Center for the Performing Arts since June 2015, overseeing the Center’s performing-arts programming and similarly collaborating with both development and marketing. She also served as the Center’s assistant director (2010–15), theater manager (2005–10) and company manager (2004–05). Previously, Haynes-Hamblen was general manager and associate producer for New York-based Entertainment Events, Inc., where she supervised budgeting, finance, marketing and production for national touring and off-Broadway theatrical productions.

Originally from Boulder, Colo., Haynes-Hamblen earned her M.B.A. from Regis University and B.A. from University of Denver. She is the current president of the Arizona Presenters Alliance; treasurer of VSA Arizona, The State Organization on Arts and Disability; and mentorship programs coordinator for California Presenters. Haynes-Hamblen completed the 2015 International Festival Encounters course with the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland and the Emerging Leadership Institute of the Association of Performing Arts Presenters, and she received the 2013 Mentoring Award from Western Arts Alliance.

Through its partnership with the City of Scottsdale, the nonprofit Scottsdale Cultural Council creates diverse, high-quality arts experiences and educational and outreach opportunities for the community, while fostering the active engagement of individuals, business, education and government with the arts. Since its founding in 1987, the Cultural Council has grown into a regionally and nationally significant, multi-disciplinary arts organization offering an exceptional variety of programs through three acclaimed operating divisions – Scottsdale Center for the Performing Arts, Scottsdale Museum of Contemporary Art (SMoCA) and Scottsdale Public Art – as well as destination events such as Canal Convergence, Scottsdale Arts Festival and Scottsdale International Film Festival.

Additional information about the Cultural Council and its programs is available at