Newark Arts has selected Felicia A. Swoope as Executive Director, following an executive search process led by Arts Consulting Group (ACG). She will begin her tenure on February 14, 2022.
Swoope brings extensive experience in the arts as a performer, with expertise in teaching, resource development, and diversity, equity, and inclusion. Most recently, she held two positions at Dartmouth College. She served as Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Strategist for Artivism as well as the Assistant Director, Admissions Recruiting at the Tuck School of Business. While at Dartmouth College, she produced multiple virtual programs, bridging gaps between various departments on campus and uniting current students with alumni. She also recruited and retained master of business administration students with a focus on African-American, Latinx, and Native American candidates.
Swoope worked for 16 years as a teaching artist for dance companies, including the Alvin Ailey Dance Foundation and Battery Dance. She was the inaugural Director of the Ailey Camp Newark from 2010 to 2011, where she trained students at Newark Arts High and brought 100 dancers to the stage of the New Jersey Performing Arts Center. She has also worked at Cleo Parker Robinson Dance and Gendarc Dance NYC. Swoope holds a bachelor of arts degree in English from Dartmouth College and a master of fine arts degree in dance from New York University Tisch School of the Arts.
In making the announcement, Interim President of the Board of Directors Donna Walker-Kuhne said, “Felicia’s background as an artist, administrator, producer, curator, and teacher makes her a superb choice for leading an organization that serves over 60 arts groups, produces one of the state’s best-known arts festivals, and creates opportunities for the success and well-being of Newark artists. As a strategic thinker, convener, and arts collaborator, she will strengthen our many existing partnerships and forge new ones with artists, the business sector, and the community at large.”
“I am truly honored to be selected to lead an organization that serves Newark’s vibrant arts community,” said Swoope. “Newark holds a special place in my heart. Many acclaimed artists hail from here and there are many more yet to come. Newark Arts proves that investing in the arts, through partnerships and collaborations, can enrich communities and spur economic growth. Representing many but telling one story resonates deeply with me. BIPOC artists are traditionally under-resourced and Newark Arts fills the gap brilliantly.”
“Congratulations to the board and staff at Newark Arts on the selection of Felicia A. Swoope as Executive Director,” said ACG Senior Vice President Wyona Lynch-McWhite. “Swoope is a dynamic leader with the ability to develop, nurture, and leverage authentic relationships across communities. We are excited to watch Newark Arts continue to grow as she engages with the broad and community stakeholders to drive action that advances the cultural sector in Newark.”