Dr. Gerd Wuestemann Leaves AcA for New Position in Arizona
AcA’s executive director Gerd Wuestemann, D.M.A. has been appointed as the new President & CEO of Scottsdale Arts in Scottsdale, Arizona. AcA announced today that Wuestemann will be departing in March.
“This was a very difficult decision”, Wuestemann said, “I have had the privilege to work with an amazing Board and Staff to build AcA and to contribute to the cultural fabric of this wonderful community. I am eternally grateful for the remarkable people I have worked with for nearly ten years. Leaving this community, which has been my home for two decades, leaving our friends and family here will be tough both for my wife and me. I am looking forward to new challenges, new opportunities, and personal growth. AcA is a phenomenal organization with extraordinary staff and will continue to thrive under new leadership and with a fresh vision.”
Over the past 10 years, Wuestemann has led the transformation of the Acadiana Arts Council into the Acadiana Center for the Arts (AcA), which in 2016 won the Governor’s Culture Award. He developed public and private funding that allowed the arts center to build new facilities, hire more staff, and create a strong Board to jointly develop a vision and implement it. AcA has since quadrupled in size, has become the most prolific presenter in the region and third largest arts organization in the state, merged with PASA, and created a growing endowment, along with building local, regional, and national partnerships.
“Gerd will be greatly missed by the AcA, its Board of Directors, staff, and the Acadiana community. He was instrumental in developing AcA into the organization it is today and we are grateful for his tireless service to the arts in Acadiana,” Olivia Regard, President of the AcA Board of Directors said. “The Board has worked diligently to develop a succession plan and will launch a national search for new leadership in the coming weeks. Gerd will remain fully engaged until his departure and long-time senior staff members Vicki Chrisman and Bree Sargent will co-direct the organization in the interim. The Staff and Board are committed to a seamless transition of leadership without interruption to the organization’s programming, all the while continuing to serve the mission of the AcA of ‘Fostering arts and culture in Acadiana.” “While we hate to lose Gerd, who has been such an asset to our organization, the Board is committed to building on the foundation Gerd helped to shape and continuing and improving the work of AcA in Acadiana.”
AcA today is the cultural hub of Acadiana, and a major presenter in the South, attracting unique and high-level talent to Lafayette. A nationally recognized center of arts education and a Kennedy Center partner, AcA serves over 30,000 students annually through the Lafayette Parish School System and beyond. AcA’s visual arts department presents more than 35 unique, curated exhibits and is a main anchor for the popular monthly ArtWalks. Its community development and outreach programs include the distribution of over $250,000 annually to eight parishes, through five different grant programs comprising over 100 grants. From residencies to public art initiatives to the management of its beautiful state-of-the-art facilities, AcA is a complex organization and significant economic driver at the cultural heart of Acadiana.
Wuestemann, will take the top job for the nationally recognized not-for-profit arts organization Scottsdale Arts, located in the heart of Phoenix, Arizona, the 5th largest metro area in the US.
In his new job, Wuestemann will manage an annual operating budget of $12 million, oversee 71 full-time and 104 part-time staffers at Scottsdale Arts, whose mission is to create diverse visual, performing and public arts experiences that engage the community. Scottsdale Arts operates the Scottsdale Center for Performing Arts, the Scottsdale Museum of Contemporary Art and Scottsdale Public Art. It administers arts and cultural affairs for the City of Scottsdale and also provides a robust education and outreach program in the form of tours, hands-on activities, masterclasses, lectures, workshops, classroom-based and community outreach activities.
“Gerd was the unanimous choice of our board,” Scottsdale Arts’ Board of Trustees President Kathy Wills said. “His extensive experience working with a city to develop its vision for the arts, managing a multi-disciplinary arts organization, fundraising experience and enthusiasm for the Scottsdale Arts’ mission make him the ideal choice to lead and take this organization to the next level. We look forward to working with him.”
“We are pleased to welcome Gerd Wuestemann as the new leader of Scottsdale Arts after conducting an extensive national search that produced many quality candidates” said Board of Trustees Vice Chair Gerri Smith, who led the CEO search committee.
Wuestemann was part of the class of 2015 at National Arts Strategies’ Global Executive Leadership Group, is a 2009 Leadership Louisiana alumnus, was a member of the board of the Lafayette Chamber of Commerce, has co-chaired Louisiana Citizens for Arts Advocacy since 2009, and is co-founder of the INNOV8 Festival of Creativity & Entrepreneurship.
He holds a Doctor of Musical Arts from the University of Arizona, a Master of Musical Arts from the San Francisco Conservatory of Music, spent a post-graduate year at The Julliard School in New York City and holds a Master of Music from Hochschule für Musik in Frankfurt, Germany.
“The new job represents a kind of homecoming for me”, Wuestemann said. “I developed a strong affinity for the desert while working on my doctorate at the University of Arizona”.