I’m writing to let you know that after nearly five amazing years as the Executive Director of New Urban Arts, I will be returning to New York to join the senior staff of the Queens Museum of Art where I will take on the position of Director of Education.
In this role I will oversee all of the museum’s education programs which include teen, after-school, school, family, teacher, access programs and more. Like New Urban Arts, the Queens Museum of Art is nationally recognized as a leader and innovator in using the arts to bring together and engage diverse communities. I am very excited to build on the work I’ve done at New Urban Arts at this cutting-edge museum.
I will start my new position on December 17, 2012 and my last day at New Urban Arts will be December 7th, the day of our annual Artist Mentor Exhibition opening. This is fitting as being an artist mentor remains the most important position I have ever had and is what sparked my long relationship with New Urban Arts.
I am very pleased that New Urban Arts is in the hands of a thoughtful, passionate and engaged board of directors led by Board Chair Susan Smulyan and a talented staff who will build on the work that we have done together. Many of you also know that the most important people stewarding New Urban Arts are our current and alumni youth and artist mentors, who I know will collectively ensure that this community thrives long into the future.
I personally invite you to join me this Friday October 5, from 5-7PM at New Urban Arts for our first exhibition opening of the 2012-13 school year.
FROM THE BOARD CHAIR
All of us at New Urban Arts wish Jason the best and thank him for his leadership and friendship. For us, it seems a logical next step for him and we’re so proud that the important work he’s done at New Urban Arts is recognized nationally – especially by the Queens Museum which provides such a wonderful model of community work.
This is a good time for us to look back at what has been accomplished in the nearly five years of Jason’s tenure as executive director. At a time when nonprofits struggle to meet growing needs with limited resources, New Urban Arts has not only held steady but thrived. Growing and persistent economic pressures have hit the young people and families we work with very hard. But we have grown our operating budget, continued to deeply engage youth and artist mentors in our core programs, raised growing amounts of funding through our Annual Campaign, and, maybe most importantly, secured our future by buying a permanent home for New Urban Arts.
We are now close to paying off the mortgage on our new and beautiful building in the neighborhood that New Urban Arts has been so instrumental in bringing to life through a one million dollar Capital Campaign. (BTW: we are in the middle of a 1:1 matching challenge grant from the Prospect Hill Foundation, so NOW is a GREAT time to make your capital campaign contribution, or even your second or third one….).
New Urban Arts, because of our work together in the last few years, is an undisputed leader and model for communities around the country. In the last five years, through national awards, opportunities to present and share our work, publications, emerging leader institutes, and innovative research and documentation projects we are slowly shifting our national dialogue on the role that young people, the arts, and artists can AND should play in bringing about the kind of society for which we all hope.
Our organization is built on the strong foundation that you have laid and that makes me confident about the future. I am excited that Tamara Kaplan, our operations manager and former program director has agreed to serve as interim executive director beginning December 7th. We are also grateful that Past Chair of the Board, Myrth York is leading a search committee for the next executive director. We are conducting a national search and so do keep an eye out for the job posting and share it widely.
We will miss Jason but the success of New Urban Arts has come about because of the leadership and talent of people at every level throughout the organization. With your help and support, we are confident that New Urban Arts will thrive through this transition.
Chair, Board of Directors