New York – McDowell, one of the Oldest artist-in-residence program In the United States, Chiwoniso Kaitano has been appointed as the new executive director, the group announced Friday.
A press release said Kaitano joined MacDowell with the task of “strengthening advocacy for traditionally underrepresented artistic voices,” among other responsibilities.
“Our search was rigorous and all the finalists were compelling. But Chi’s expertise, dynamic and collaborative approach to engagement, and inspiring leadership qualities proved irresistible,” Author Nell Painter, McDowell, chairman of the board, said in a statement.
Kaitano is the former executive director of Girl Be Heard, an NGO that uses theater and the performing arts to advocate for social change. Originally from Zimbabwe, she also serves on the boards of several arts organisations.
David Macy is Resident Director of the renowned MacDowell resort in Peterborough, New Hampshire. Kaitano will join the organization’s New York office in mid-March. She will succeed transition leader Philip Sinberg.
Following the 2020 protests over the police killing of George Floyd, MacDowell drops “Colony” from name Respond to feedback from fellows and the art community.
“In the language we speak today, colony is a word associated with occupation and oppression,” Painter told The Associated Press at the time. A statement from the group said the name change “is in line with the organization’s longstanding commitment to removing financial, geographic, cultural and accessibility barriers to participation.”
Friday’s statement referred to the shift in announcing Kaitano’s appointment.
Andrew M. Senchak, chairman of the board, said: “This change in McDowell’s leadership follows an intense period of investigation and innovation throughout the pandemic and most recently the social justice movement. “During this period, MacDowell dropped ‘Colony’ from its name, and the staff and Board worked with outside advisors to examine our values and governance to strengthen and democratize our policies, procedures and programs.”
Founded in 1907 by composer Edward McDowell and musician and philanthropist Marianne McDowell, the retreat hosts more than 8,800 fellows from seven disciplines: writing, architecture, composition, film , drama, visual arts and interdisciplinary arts.
“I look forward to working with the board and staff to maintain and increase funding and the extraordinary vision for artist support expressed as Edward and Marianne McDowell welcome their first artist-in-residence,” Keitano said in the statement “Imagine and delightfully meet the changing needs of contemporary artists is how McDowell can and will continue to be a herald of the value of art in our society.”
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