It took awhile, but Barbara Sexton Smith finally is the permanent president and CEO of the Fund for the Arts. As she should have been a long time ago.
We just got the official news release from the fund. Smith takes over more than a year after her predecessor, Allan Cowen, was forced out after a confrontation with the executive director of the Louisville Visual Arts Association.
The announcement comes after Smith led the fund to a record-breaking opening quarter for the 2012 fund drive.
Fund for the Arts had raised more than $4.3 million for the first quarter. The previous fund-raising record at that point was $4 million back in 2008. The goal for 2012 is $9.2 million, more than comparable to Cowen’s – a legendary fund-raiser – best efforts.
Cowen now is working with the University of Louisville as a liaison to the arts community, and as the point man for a downtown U of L building.
Here’s the release in full:
The Fund for the Arts board of directors unanimously approved Barbara Sexton Smith today as the new President & CEO, transitioning Smith from her interim leadership role. The decision came following a one year search for a new head of the arts funding organization.
“Last year we said that we were committed to bringing in the best candidate to lead our organization. Over the last twelve months it became increasingly clear that the right candidate was already leading the charge,” said Fund for the Arts Board Chair, David Calzi.
Barbara Sexton Smith has been serving the Fund for the Arts for more than 14 years and took the reins of the organization last April. She is a native of Louisville, a graduate of the University of Louisville College of Business, and has served on numerous boards though out the state serving as a champion of the arts.
“Being able to promote and reward leadership from within the organization makes the decision even more gratifying,” said Calzi.
About Fund for the Arts: Fund for the Arts is the oldest united arts fund in the country and has generated more than $172 million since its establishment in 1949. Today the Fund provides financing, facilities and administrative support for twenty-nine area arts groups and programs. In addition, more than 350 community access grants are awarded annually to community groups and schools in Kentucky and Southern Indiana. The Fund for the Arts hosts power2give.org, a micro-funding website for any 501(c)3 organization in Kentucky and Southern Indiana to post arts and culture projects. Other Fund sponsored activities include the annual Whittenberg Young Artist Scholarship and the NeXt! leadership development program for young professionals. For more information, visit www.fundforthearts.com.