Arlington Arts Center Announces New Executive Director

By Editorial Team on May 18, 2016

Arlington Arts Center (AAC) announces Holly Koons McCullough as the selection for the Executive Director position.

Bringing more than 20 years of curatorial and administrative experience in the visual arts to AAC, McCullough is tasked with continuing the growth and development of the organization. In response to this, she said, “I am honored to be chosen to lead this institution, and look forward to maintaining AAC’s commitment to excellence while welcoming ever-broader audiences.”

McCullough’s experience with local, regional, and national contemporary artists and programs will strengthen AAC’s ability to achieve its mission of supporting the creation of new work by artists in the Mid-Atlantic Region through its residency program, exhibitions, and educational initiatives.

Steve Harvey, AAC’s Board President remarked, “We’re thrilled to have Holly lead AAC, and her unique blend of experience in fundraising and programmatic development will continue to grow and position AAC as a leading arts center in the region.” Regarding the organization’s work she said, “AAC is an important incubator of creativity for professional artists and students alike, a promoter of public engagement with the arts, and an arbiter of high-quality contemporary art. AAC is a remarkably vital institution with so much to offer the community.”

Selecting AAC’s next leader was no easy task. The organization’s board of directors convened a transition committee led by Marlene Rothacker Harrison and Liz Georges. Together, with help from the entire board, they conducted a rigorous search resulting in a competitive pool of applicants with McCullough in the lead.

Since 2014, McCullough has steered the Greater Reston Arts Center (GRACE) as Executive Director and Curator. For two years prior to that, she served as that organization’s curator. Under her leadership GRACE has seen exhibitions by nationally-recognized artists including Renée Stout, Joyce J. Scott, Patrick Dougherty, and Shih Chieh Huang. In this role, she not only increased the capacity of the organization, but also secured major corporate sponsors like Volkswagen for GRACE’s annual Northern Virginia Fine Arts Festival.

Previous to her appointment at GRACE, McCullough was the Director of Collections and Exhibitions at the Telfair Museum of Art in Savannah, GA. She spent 15 years at Telfair where she spearheaded projects like Telfair’s first internationally-traveling exhibition, Dutch Utopia. 

With a proven track-record of connecting the arts with local businesses, McCullough’s appointment is sure to not only enhance AAC’s financial position, but will also benefit Arlington, VA as a whole. McCullough holds a B.A. from the University of Georgia in English and art history, and an M.A. in art history from the University of Notre Dame.

Since August of 2015, Karyn Miller, AAC’s Director of Exhibitions, has served as Acting Executive Director. Upon McCullough’s arrival later this month Miller will return to leading the curatorial vision and development of AAC’s rigorous exhibitions program.

In the 10-month transition period, Miller, in concert with AAC staffers Samantha Marques-Mordkofsky and Carollei McMillin, and a fully-engaged Board, have maintained a full schedule of activities and programs including a dedicated artist-in-residence program, classes for children and adults, contemporary art exhibitions and public events. They also launched a year-end giving campaign that exceeded its goal by 50%, and surpassed goals for foundation and government grants by 10%.

McCullough will join AAC on May 31, at the tail end of the Spring SOLOS exhibition, and kick off her tenure with the opening of Strange Landscapes, AAC’s main summer exhibition, along with the beginning of AAC’s nine-week summer art camps. For more information, click here. 

(via Arlington Arts Center. Photo courtesy of Turner Photography Studio.)