Dear Stakeholders in the Arts--
It is with a heavy heart that I share I will be leaving the agency effective June 30. A new agency head will be announced in the coming weeks, and I am confident there will be a fluid transition.
Please know that as much of an honor and privilege it has been to serve in this capacity for nearly four years, it has been an equal honor to get to know and work with each you towards our mutual and collective goals to increase access to high-quality arts experiences and learning for all the citizens of the Commonwealth. I am proud of the gains the agency has made relative to IDEA (Inclusion, Diversity, Equity, and Access), grantmaking, and professional development. In addition, I am proud of this agency’s efforts to support the field, and to be a partner with the field to manage our way through an unprecedented global event. An event from which nearly all of us are emerging stronger, and more innovative than ever before.
I would be remiss if I didn't recognize the significant accomplishment of the appropriation of $2.6 million to the agency in the 20/22 biennium, which would have remained whole if not for the pandemic, reflecting the largest budget the agency would have ever seen. We could not have done it without your voice in advocacy, and more importantly evidence of the impact of the arts on social, cultural, health, and economic activities by your organizations and artists, in communities across the Commonwealth. Time will tell if we receive any measure of the requested restoration of that appropriation, but you have certainly helped to make the case for support.
I am also so proud of the VCA team, who never wavered in their commitment, and in fact, evidenced a greater sense of pride in the work of the agency because they so astutely understood the critical needs and impacts of the past two years.
It has been the honor of a lifetime serving the Commonwealth and its incredible arts organizations and artists across the state, both under Governor Northam and Governor Youngkin. Working collaboratively with the General Assembly, Virginia is moving in the right direction of funding the arts, especially to those that mean so much to the cultural and economic vitality of their communities. I know everyone will continue to work to move Virginia to the $1 per capita in funding that has long been our shared goal.
Though I will soon be leaving the agency, know that I will never stop being a champion for the arts in the Commonwealth! I have had the great privilege to see firsthand, the incredible depth and breadth of arts institutions and working artists in communities rural and urban, small and large; and I truly believe the Commonwealth of Virginia is among the richest in artistic and cultural traditions, and new works. I will never stop telling the tale of these profoundly good works in and through the arts!
Until we meet again, your colleague in the arts—