Newark Arts Council and the Arts Council of Greater Kalamazoo Announce New Executive Directors

Newark Arts Council Names Executive Director

The Newark Arts Council has selected Jeremy Johnson as executive director, following an executive search process led by Arts Consulting Group (ACG). He began his tenure on March 14, 2016. Johnson succeeds Linwood Oglesby, who retired after leading the organization for 17 years.

Johnson served eight years as the Newark philanthropic liaison, a position funded by the Council of New Jersey Grantmakers. In this role, he leveraged more than $50 million in private support for city initiatives. He also led a working group which became the Newark City of Learning Collaborative (NCLC), a collective impact movement to increase college success among Newarkers. He has represented the philanthropic community on proposals that have attracted federal planning grants for the city as well as served on panels about creative placemaking and public-private partnerships. Johnson is a native of Cleveland and a current Newark resident. He earned a bachelor’s degree from Kenyon College in Ohio and a master of fine arts in arts administration from the University of Iowa. His graduate work included a residency at Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts, Inc.

In making the announcement, President of the Board Sheila McKoy said, “Jeremy’s background in the arts, philanthropy, and government made him an excellent candidate. As a convener, fundraiser, and thought leader, he will strengthen our partnerships with artists, arts organizations, and the community at large.”

“The opportunity to lead the Newark Arts Council combines my passion and training in the arts with my devotion to our great city,” said Johnson. “It’s especially gratifying for me to apply the lessons learned while working in the mayor’s office on powerful public-private partnerships.”

“It was a great pleasure working with the search committee at Newark Arts Council,” said ACG Senior Consultant Daniel Zanella. “ACG would like to congratulate Jeremy on his appointment to this key role within the organization. We are confident that his skills and experience will be a valuable asset to the arts and
culture industry in Newark.”

The Arts Council of Greater Kalamazoo Announces Executive Director

The Arts Council of Greater Kalamazoo (ACGK) has selected Kristen Chesak as executive director, following an executive search process led by Arts Consulting Group (ACG). She will begin her tenure on June 1, 2016.

Well-known in Kalamazoo’s arts and nonprofit communities, Chesak has spent the past 22 years at the Kalamazoo Civic Theatre, the last ten years of which as its executive director. Chesak will successfully complete the Civic Theatre’s capital campaign prior to joining ACGK.

In making the announcement, ACGK President Bryan Zocher said, “Kristen brings a wealth of experience in the nonprofit arts world and she has multisector networks throughout the community. She will be a valuable asset to lead our Arts Council team to build on our strong foundation of enriching and engaging our community through the arts.” Zocher thanks the professionalism and expertise of the ACG and the executive director selection committee comprised of past and present ACGK board members and community leaders for five months of service.

“I have been very fortunate to have had such a diverse and varied career in the Kalamazoo Civic Theatre creating and producing theater,” said Chesak. “We are lucky to have so many enriching opportunities in Kalamazoo and I am excited to join the staff of the Arts Council and advocate for all arts in Kalamazoo.”

“Congratulations to Kristen Chesak and the Arts Council of Greater Kalamazoo as they begin an exciting new chapter in the organization’s history,” said ACG Vice President Rebekah Lambert. “The ACG team had a wonderful time working with the ACGK search committee and staff. We are delighted to place Kristen as executive director and know that her wealth of experience will help further enhance the arts industry in Kalamazoo and its surrounding communities.”

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