JOHNSON – The Vermont Studio Center (VSC) board of trustees has announced the appointment of Vermont’s Ellen McCulloch-Lovell as interim executive director. Effective immediately, McCulloch-Lovell will take the helm to lead the international residency program for artists and writers while working with the board in its search for a permanent executive director.
Vermont Studio Center celebrates its 35th anniversary this year. While envisioning the future, VSC remains committed to providing opportunities for artists and writers to create and connect in an inclusive, international community. After a two-year strategic planning process, the VSC board and former president Gary Clark agreed that the time was right to launch an initiative to reshape VSC for the future. In his new role as president emeritus, Clark will take a year-long sabbatical, during which he will continue to work with new leadership to assure a sustainable future for VSC.
After a search led by VSC trustee Major Jackson, internationally known poet and professor at University of Vermont, the board unanimously approved the appointment of McCulloch-Lovell to assess operations, and to manage, supervise, and coordinate all departments while working with the board to identify and hire a permanent executive director.
“For nearly five decades, in various roles, Ellen McCulloch-Lovell has made significant contributions to the state of Vermont,” said Jackson said. “As a dedicated leader and published poet of immense intelligence, she gets the mission of VSC and understands the arts as a vital element in a democratic society but also an important component of the state’s economy.”
McCulloch-Lovell’s deep commitment to Vermont – its natural resources, and its educational, cultural, and religious institutions – Is evidenced by the trajectory of her rich and varied career in public service. Most recently, she served as Rock Point Legacy Minister, working with the Episcopal Diocese of Vermont to enhance and conserve its 130 acres on Lake Champlain. From 2004–2015, as its eighth and first female president, she led Marlboro College, where she increased the college’s endowment by 50 percent and introduced new programs that strengthened its mission.
McCulloch-Lovell began her career in 1970 at the Vermont Arts Council as program director, then executive director for eight years. From there she went on to serve for 10 years as U.S. Senator Patrick Leahy’s chief of staff in Washington, D.C.
In 1994, McCulloch-Lovell was appointed executive director of the President’s Committee on the Arts and the Humanities, a presidential advisory commission. In 1997, she joined First Lady Hillary Rodham Clinton’s staff, first as deputy chief of staff, then as director of the White House Millennium Council, where she and Mrs. Clinton created Save America’s Treasures, a major, national preservation program. After the White House, McCulloch-Lovell joined the American Folklife Center at the Library of Congress where she founded the Veterans History Project, which collects the first-hand accounts of those who served in wartime.
Currently, McCulloch-Lovell serves on the boards of Vermont Public Radio, the Windham Foundation, Friends of Writers, and the Episcopal Diocese of Vermont, and she consults for several nonprofit organizations concerned with education and the arts. She is an outspoken advocate for the liberal arts, speaking and publishing opinion pieces in the Chronicle of Higher Education, Huffington Post, New York Times online and other outlets. McCulloch-Lovell’s first book of poems, “Gone,” was published by Janus Press in 2010.
In announcing McCulloch-Lovell’s appointment, VSC board chairwoman Mary Louise Pierson stated, “In this moment of VSC reaching a new level of space and creativity, I am thrilled to know that Ellen McCulloch-Lovell will be here to help guide us through it. Our mission aligns with her belief in supporting artists and writers. As someone who has a long history as an arts administrator and a political appointee, she is capable of making the case for public support of the arts.”
Learning of the board’s choice of McCulloch-Lovell, Clark said, “As a poet and VSC alumna, and celebrated leader with a lifetime of experience in and beyond Vermont, Ellen is the perfect choice.”
Cultural facilities grants
MONTPELIER – Cultural institutions in 16 Vermont communities will receive funding for needed improvements through the Vermont Arts Council’s Cultural Facilities Grant program. The FY2020 grants will support Vermont nonprofit organizations and municipalities in facilitating better access, enhanced infrastructure, or increased capacity within existing structures.
“The Cultural Facilities grant program is a critical investment in the long-term health and sustainability of arts and culture in Vermont,” noted Vermont Arts Council Executive Director Karen Mittelman. “Over the past five years, 70 percent of the funding from this program has supported cultural facilities in Vermont’s most rural communities, protecting libraries, theaters, museums, and town halls that serve our most economically disadvantaged residents.”
The Cultural Facilities Grant program is administered by the Arts Council in conjunction with the Vermont Historical Society and the Vermont Division for Historic Preservation. The program is funded through an annual appropriation in the Vermont state capital budget. This years grants were:
- Bradford Public Library, Bradford: $28,200 to support the installation of a physically accessible lift.
- Burlington City Arts, Burlington: $28,200 to support sound and electrical upgrades in Contois Auditorium.
- Friends of the Capital City Grange Hall, Northfield Falls: $26,126 to support air quality upgrades to the lower level renovation of the Capital City Grange Hall.
- Helen Day Art Center, Stowe: $18,864 to support new gallery infrastructure and technology.
- Heritage Winooski Mill Museum, Winooski: $3,121 to support renovations to a media display and window shades in the gallery.
- Isle La Motte Historical Society, Isle La Motte: $1,200 to support electrical upgrades in the Duba Blacksmith Shop.
- Jeudevine Memorial Library, Hardwick: $24,000 to support the installation of a physically accessible elevator.
- Kellogg-Hubbard Library, Montpelier: $10,791 to support the installation of air conditioning in the Hayes Room and on the second floor of the library.
- Kimball Public Library, Randolph: $15,668 to support upgrades to the library’s physically accessible restroom.
- Lamoille County Players, Hyde Park: $25,200 to support electrical upgrades in the Hyde Park Opera House.
- Paramount Center, Rutland: $24,992 to support lighting upgrades.
- Park-McCullough Association, North Bennington: $3,973 to support electrical wiring upgrades in the historic museum.
- Phantom Theater, Warren: $3,760 to support installation of LED lights in the theater.
- Rockingham Free Public Library, Bellows Falls: $2,753 to support the purchase and installation of a hanging rail system for art exhibits.
- Stone Valley Arts, Poultney: $4,606 to support electrical upgrades.
- Westminster West Public Library, Putney: $3,102 to support electrical upgrades and the purchase of a projector system.
For information, go online to www.vermontartscouncil.org.