Hessenius was director of the California Arts Council from 2000 until 2004, when he resigned after the agency's budget was cut from $19 million to $1.8 million. He previously ran the California Assembly of Local Arts Agencies and advised other agencies. He is the author of several books about nonprofit organizations and the arts.
An attorney, Hessenius worked in the music and television industries and ran a company that brokered satellite time before entering the arts world.
Artistic director Alonzo King founded the LINES Ballet in 1982, the San Francisco Dance Center in 1989, and the LINES Ballet School in 2001 The company has been resident at San Francisco's Yerba Buena Center for the Arts since 1994.
"Barry Hessenius is a dynamic and experienced leader who is passionate, creative and practical in his support of the arts," King said. "I am looking forward to working with him to continue the extraordinary growth of our company, school, and dance center."