As I approach the one-year anniversary in my role as CEO, I wanted to reflect on what an extraordinary year this has been for the Joan Mitchell Foundation — a year of substantial transition, of tremendous collective effort, of challenges and accomplishments, and of exciting new beginnings in mapping our future.
- 2015 has given us many reasons to celebrate, with numerous new programs and accomplishments. Let’s take a moment review some of 2015’s milestones:
- The Joan Mitchell Catalogue Raisonné was launched under the guidance of Suzi Villiger, and within the year she put into place her research team, with researchers both in New York City and in France.
- A major European retrospective exhibition of Joan Mitchell’s paintings began at the Kunsthaus Bregenz in Austria, and now has traveled to Museum Ludwig in Cologne, Germany.
- The Emerging Artist Grant Program was announced and awarded the inaugural group of ten recipients this fall.
- The Organizational Grant Program’s New Orleans Initiative was launched, and supported seventeen New Orleans based organizations investing in the arts.
- In August we celebrated the grand opening of the Joan Mitchell Center studio building and residences with the community of New Orleans.
- In September we welcomed the first group of artists to the Joan Mitchell Center, and this December completed the first residency cycle, providing twenty-one artists with time, space, and opportunities to connect and create.
- A new partnership between the CALL Program and Voices in Contemporary Art (VoCA) deepened the conversation with artists around the production, presentation, and preservation of their work through a series of talks.
- The Art Education Program introduced a new professional development initiative called Critical Friends Groups (CFG) to share teaching philosophies and do peer observations.
- Art Education Director Travis Laughlin was appointed New York Ambassador for the National Guild for Community Arts Education.
- Finally, our talented team continues to grow— particularly within the Legacy department:
- Suzi Villiger, Catalogue Raisonné Project Manager
- Arielle Dorlester, Archives Assistant
- Sara Green, Researcher, Joan Mitchell Catalogue Raisonné
- Aimee Solomon, Senior Finance Director
- Alexandra Tagami, Researcher, Joan Mitchell Catalogue Raisonné (beginning in 2016)
- Vincent Williams, Office Administrator, Joan Mitchell Center
This month, the Board approved the Foundation’s 2016–2018 Strategic Plan developed through deep conversations with staff, Board and artists. In January, we will be sharing the plan with the field. Centered on the concepts of sustainability and vitality, the plan outlines our revised mission statement, and renews our commitment to being stewards of Joan Mitchell’s legacy and being artist-centered. Central to this plan are a series of steps to thoughtfully redefine the Foundation’s structure and size for our long-term financial health.
2016 will bring continued transition for the Foundation, and in particular for the Art Education Program, as we bring the current program model to a close. Over the next six months, we will celebrate the program’s many accomplishments and successes over the last eighteen years, and share the gained expertise with the field. As a team, we will revitalize our approach to artist support, incorporating art education into programming.
During our discussions over the last several months, we returned again and again to the idea that this is an organization established by one artist, for many artists. By choosing to support artists directly, Joan Mitchell recognized that creativity begins with individuals. We believe that individual self expression has the capacity to change the world, and with our strategic plan we will continue to strengthen our focus on Joan Mitchell’s legacy while also refining how we can support individuals in their creativity.
I want to personally thank the Foundation’s Board of Directors and staff for stepping forward and embarking with me on this challenging, complex and important journey, with such remarkable commitment and engagement. I also thank the entire Joan Mitchell Foundation community of grant recipients, Artist-Teachers, students, CALL participants, community partners, neighbors, and friends for your ongoing support and engagement. Finally, I want to thank all the artists we have had the opportunity to work with — it is your creativity that inspires and affirms our commitment.
I wish you all a wonderful holiday season and a creative year to come!
Chief Executive Officer
Row 1: Installation view of Joan Mitchell Retrospective: Her Life and Paintings at Kunsthaus Bregenz, Austria. Photo by Markus Tretter. © Courtesy of Kunsthaus Bregenz; first group of Artists-in-Residence in September at the Joan Mitchell Center; New York School Painters & Poets: Neon in Daylight panel at the Joan Mitchell Foundation Education & Research Center.
Row 2: Board of Directors with Foundation and Center staff at Joan Mitchell Center Grand Opening; Joan Mitchell Center Artist-in-Residence Robert Hodge entering his studio for the first time; Installation view of Joan Mitchell Retrospective: Her Life and Paintings at Museum Ludwig, Cologne 2015 © Rheinisches Bildarchiv / Britta Schlier
Row 3: Joan Mitchell Center Community Coffee: "Artist Takeover" with Artists-in-Residence Cecelia Givens, Heather Hart, and Philemona Williamson; inaugural group of Emerging Artist Grant Recipients; VoCA Talk with Mimi Smith at the Joan Mitchell Foundation Education & Research Center.