Johann Zietsman was born in the 50’s in South Africa, and has nurtured a life-long passion for the transformative value and role of the arts in a community. Eventually gaining degrees in architecture and music, he returned to his homeland in 1982, and started a 20-year career in executive arts management positions, including a music school, two orchestras, an opera and music theater company, a community arts center, a large multi-theater performing arts company, and a commercial communications company. During this time he was actively involved in the political transformation of South Africa through pioneering work in the arts, resulting in recognition from Mr. Nelson Mandela’s government. As a volunteer, he also launched and directed two community youth initiatives, which currently serve about 4000 at-risk kids in the townships.
Johann moved to the USA in 2002 to run the International Society for the Performing Arts (ISPA), based in NY, and then to Mesa, AZ, in 2007, when he now serves as Executive Director of the Mesa Arts Center, and Director of Arts and Culture for the city of Mesa.