A Letter from our President & CEO

Dear Artists, Art Supporters, and Friends, 

As we approach our 28th anniversary, Artspace is poised once again to play a role in Raleigh’s transformation. When Artspace opened we were integral in the development of downtown, serving as an anchor in the Moore Square District and City Market. One of the earliest, most innovative, open artist studio projects in the South, Artspace was pivotal in the revitalization of the neighborhood. Our unique 30,000 square foot building, built in 1911 as Raleigh’s city livery, has inspired more than two million visitors since 1986 and served as the heart of Raleigh’s visual art community.

For several years Raleigh has ranked as one of the fastest growing cities in the US in terms of job growth, population growth, and demographics. With a median age of 31, Raleigh is becoming an increasingly younger city with a dynamic arts and cultural community that is vastly different and larger than it was 27 years ago. With the changing landscape of the city, the timing to re-assess the needs of artists and the community at large to ensure Artspace’s relevancy and vibrancy could not be better.

During the fall of 2013, we embarked on a strategic planning process where over 600 individuals from the community–artists, donors and stakeholders, community leaders, and the general public–participated in interviews, surveys, and focus groups to assess Artspace’s role, value, and relevance in the community. The feedback was overwhelming and has sparked new ideas, reinforced what Artspace is doing well, and helped us reimagine how we could be making an even larger impact in the community.

Image 1I am thrilled to announce our new mission: Artspace inspires innovation through opportunities to experience the creative process and engage with artists. Our vision is to be a widely known and highly valued nonprofit visual arts leader in the Southeast. Artspace will be a locus of opportunity for the curious of all ages, where innovation and creativity are explored, experienced, shared and celebrated.

This direction marks a shift in Artspace’s mission to be inclusive of all visual artists and to effectively, more fundamentally, connect with the community. Artist membership no longer requires a review process and is now open to all visual artists. We will continue to ensure high quality of offerings with juried review processes remaining for studio spaces with three-year term limits and for exhibition opportunities.

Our three-year plan to implement the updated mission and vision includes dynamic opportunities to experience the creative process through engagement with artists that will distinguish Artspace from other visual arts institutions and cultural organizations. Repurposing of space in our historic building will attract and accommodate a wider variety of offerings and increase and retain the interest and participation of Raleigh’s constantly evolving community.

Over the next six months, you will begin to see some of these exciting changes at Artspace! We look forward to sharing this path with you and becoming an even more vibrant part of the arts community and the continued growth of the Triangle!

Mary Poole, President & CEO

About Mary Poole

Mary Poole has served in the role of President of Artspace since 2002. From 1997-2001, she was Grants Officer for Artists & Organizations with the Virginia Commission for the Arts (VCA) in Richmond, VA and Artist Services and Arts Education Consultant with the Illinois Arts Council from 1995-1997. Mary received an MA in Arts Administration from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago and a BS in Business Administration from the University of Mary Washington in Fredericksburg, VA. In 2012, she received an Executive Education Certificate from the Harvard Kennedy School for Performance Measurement for Effective Management of Nonprofit Organizations and completed the Junior League of Raleigh’s Capital Leadership Initiative. Mary serves on the planning committee for Innovate Raleigh,and is a member of the Raleigh Chamber of Commerce, and the North Carolina Center for Nonprofits. She has served as an advisory panelist for numerous local and state funding agencies across the country and served on the board of directors of Arts NC.

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