Marcelle Polednik Joins International Cultural Leaders

September 15, 2014 1 comment Open printer friendly version of this article Print Article

MoCA Jacksonville's Executive Director was chosen for her deep commitment to the Northeast Florida community as a result of balancing MOCA Jacksonville’s rigorous, nationally recognized exhibition and educational programming while playing a visionary role in the shaping of the conversation surrounding downtown revitalization. She will be participating this year with another Jville Cultural Icon, Hope McMath of the Cummer! More details after the Jump!

Photos by Ingrid Damiani.

Jacksonville, Fla. (Sept. 15, 2014)—National Arts Strategies announced the latest class of exceptional leaders in The Chief Executive Program: Community and Culture, including Marcelle Polednik, director of the Museum of Contemporary Art Jacksonville, a cultural resource of the University of North Florida. These 50 executives will work with NAS and each other over the next year to address their biggest challenges and lead change throughout the arts and culture sector. NAS received applications from leaders in 32 states and 13 different countries and were astounded by the level and diversity of community work these leaders are undertaking. This is the third class of The Chief Executive Program. It has evolved from the experience of the past two classes and discussions with arts and culture leaders around the world. NAS is continuing the program with a focus on leaders of organizations where community is at the heart of the mission.

“I am honored and eager to participate in this extraordinary opportunity and to harness the new skills and tools I will gain to benefit the Museum and the greater Jacksonville community,” Polednik said.

Polednik said she looked forward to collaborating with Hope McMath, director of The Cummer Museum of Art & Gardens, who was also chosen for this year’s class. Previous participants include Maria Hane, executive director of the Museum of Science & History, and Tony Vecchio, executive director of the Jacksonville Zoo and Gardens.

“Healthy organizations share deep connections with their communities. We’ve seen that leaders who build and maintain a strong sense of local relevance are creating organizations for both the present and the future. We at NAS progress field-wide change by providing the training and support to these leaders. Having experienced this program and bonded as a community, these 50 leaders will have the ideas, tools and connections to effect change in their own organizations and to accelerate their work collectively to strengthen communities and the cultural sector,” said NAS CEO Designate Gail Crider.

The Chief Executive Program is built around two learning cycles that help leaders explore, reflect, apply and share concepts that address the two biggest challenges for cultural institutions—making strategic choices that are on-mission and leading change. Beginning in September 2014 and continuing through 2015, the program includes three in-person educational events at Vanderbilt University, at University of Michigan’s Ross School of Business and at Sundance Resort, as well as a variety of at-work activities designed to help leaders move forward on their own unique objectives and goals. These events and activities are designed to give participants a deeper understanding of the strategic challenges they face, a firm grasp of change leadership and the ability to translate their visions for the future into reality.

Participants in The Chief Executive Program: Community and Culture were selected following a highly competitive recruitment process to identify the top executive cultural leaders from around the world whose organizations work closely with communities on creative placemaking initiatives. The leaders chosen to participate in The Chief Executive Program: Community and Culture were selected from a wide range of cultural forms, locations, perspectives and experience levels. These executives have proven themselves to be effective, innovative, collaborative and open-minded.

The Chief Executive Program: Community and Culture Participants

Neil Barclay, Contemporary Arts Center (New Orleans, La.)
Jim Beirne, Live Theatre (Newcastle, United Kingdom)
Michael Bobbitt, Adventure Theatre (Glen Echo, Md.)
Jennifer Boomgaarden, South Dakota Symphony Orchestra (Sioux Falls, S.D.)
Tony Butler, Derby Museums Trust (Derby, United Kingdom)
Polly Carl, HowlRound: A Center for Theater Commons (Boston, Mass.)
Tim Carroll, Bankstown Youth Development Service (Bankstown, Australia)
Serina Chen, Taipei Arts International Association (Taipei, Taiwan)
Uli Sailer Das, Museum at Prairiefire (Overland Park, Kan.)
Robert Davidson, Seattle Aquarium (Seattle, Wash.)
Gretchen Dietrich, Utah Museum of Fine Arts (Salt Lake City, Utah)
Lucinda Einhouse, Beck Center for the Arts (Lakewood, Ohio)
Ahmed El Attar, Studio Emad Eddin Foundation (Cairo, Egypt)
Patricia Finneran, Story Matters (New York, N.Y.)
Gary Ginstling, Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra (Indianapolis, Ind.)
Daniel Gorman, Shubbak Festival (London, United Kingdom)
Brent Hasty, MINDPOP (Austin, Texas)
Jeffreen Hayes, Rebuild Foundation (Chicago, Ill.)
Cristy Johnston Limon, Destiny Arts Center (Oakland, Calif.)
Anne Katz, Arts Wisconsin (Madison, Wis.)
Geoffrey Kershner, Endstation Theatre Company (Lynchburg, Va.)
Karen Kienzle, Palo Alto Art Center (Palo Alto, Calif.)
Scott Kratz, 11th Street Bridge Park (Washington, D.C.)
Lex Leifheit, SOMArts (San Francisco, Calif.)
Sheila Lewandowski, Factory Theater (Long Island City, N.Y.)
Frank Little, City of Edinburgh Council (Edinburgh, Scotland)
María Claudia López, Ministry of Culture (Bogotá, Colombia)
Karen Mack, LA Commons, A Project of Community Partners (Los Angeles, Calif.)
Jeff McCarter, Free Spirit Media (Chicago, Ill.)
Lynne McCormack, City of Providence, Department of Art, Culture + Tourism (Providence, R.I.)
Hope McMath, The Cummer Museum of Art & Gardens (Jacksonville, Fla.)
Tanner Methvin, Africa Centre (Cape Town, South Africa)
Andreas Mitisek, Long Beach Opera (Long Beach, Calif.)
Donna Neuwirth, Wormfarm Institute (Reedsburg, Wis.)
Adam Philipson, Count Basie Theatre (Red Bank, N.J.)
Marcelle Polednik, MOCA Jacksonville (Jacksonville, Fla.)
Kelly Pollock, Center of Creative Arts (St. Louis, Mo.)
Michael Rohd, Sojourn Theatre & Center for Performance and Civic Practice (Evanston, Ill.)
Abe Rybeck, The Theater Offensive: OUT in Your Neighborhood (Boston, Mass.)
Susan Schardt, Association of Independents in Radio (Boston, Mass.)
Roger Schmidt, Alaska Arts Southeast, Sitka Fine Arts Camp (Sitka, Alaska)
Michael Seiwerath, Capitol Hill Housing Foundation (Seattle, Wash.)
Michael Shanklin, Kidspace Children’s Museum (Pasadena, Calif.)
Scott Showalter, Oregon Symphony (Portland, Ore.)
Connie Spreen, Experimental Station (Chicago, Ill.)
Tracy Straus, Celebrate the Beat (Paonia, Colo.)
Alicia Sutton, Free Arts for Abused Children of Arizona (Phoenix, Ariz.)
Clyde Valentin, SMU Meadows Arts + Urbanism Initiative (Dallas, Texas)
Carol Varney, Bay Area Video Coalition (San Francisco, Calif.)
Gerd Wuestemann, Acadiana Center for the Arts (Lafayette, La.)

Development of The Chief Executive Program was made possible by the support of The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, the Fidelity Foundation and The Kresge Foundation. The Chief Executive Program: Community and Culture represents a significant commitment to the field of creative placemaking by The Kresge Foundation. Additional information about The Chief Executive Program: Community and Culture is available at

Founded in 1924 as the Jacksonville Fine Arts Society, the Museum of Contemporary Art Jacksonville is a private nonprofit visual arts educational institution and a cultural resource of the University of North Florida located in the historic Western Union Telegraph building in the heart of downtown. MOCA Jacksonville serves the community and its visitors through its mission to promote the discovery, knowledge and advancement of the art, artists and ideas of our time. For more information, including hours of operation, admission prices and upcoming exhibitions and programs, visit  or call 904-366-6911.

NAS has been working with leaders in arts and culture for over thirty years. We've seen that a dynamic, sustainable arts community comes from the vision and effort of skilled individuals. We provide accessible and affordable, high quality leadership training programs that enable arts and culture leaders to explore their toughest challenges. We draw upon our experience, the experience of other cultural leaders and the expertise some of the leading business school faculty in the United States to craft programs that are interactive and engaging, respectful but demanding. We bring the best thinking from outside the arts sector into the community, challenging arts and cultural leaders to take a fresh look at their projects, organizations and communities. For more information, go to