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MK Wegmann Announces Her Retirement

NPN/VAN President & CEO
MK Wegmann Announces Her Retirement

Posted: Monday, October 5th, 2015 at 2:15 pm in Field News, News

MK portraitI am writing to let you know about my impending retirement from my position as President and CEO of the National Performance Network/Visual Artists Network. For the last fifteen years I have enjoyed the privilege of leading NPN/VAN and I am now ready to go back to working independently, continuing to support artists and organizations as they pursue their work.

In 2000, as then chair of the newly formed NPN board, following our move in 1998 to be an independent organization, I led a national planning process to determine the feasibility and viability of our network. The resounding affirmations we heard about the value we hold for artists who are touring and creating new work convinced me to take on the leadership role to build NPN into a strong, well-rounded organization with expanded resources for artists, organizations and communities. Overwhelmingly, artists, Partners and colleagues praised the long-term relationships gained by convening, collaborating and co-commissioning as our highest value – what a network is meant to be.

Over these years we have boosted legacy programs including the expanded presence of artists at the Annual Meeting, Performance Residencies, and the Creation Fund. We have sought to strengthen the capacity of our Partners through mentorship and leadership initiatives. The Performing Americas Program and Asia Connection brought new partners from around the globe. In 2006 we established the Visual Artists Network, mirroring our long-standing commitment to equitable artists’ fees and community engagement to the visual arts field. The Forth Fund launched in 2012 to give additional resources to Creation Fund projects and deepen the relationships between presenters and artists creating new work. This year we are beginning a major multi-year initiative, Leveraging a Network for Equity (LANE), that combines two incredibly important field issues – cultural equity and capitalization. LANE is a perfect reflection of NPN/VAN’s mission, vision and values and a perfect way to lay the foundation for the organization’s future.

Last fall NPN/VAN moved our offices into Arts Estuary 1024, realizing our long-held dream of embedding us in our home community of New Orleans, firmly anchoring our Local Program and connecting the threads of local, national and global activities. Our voice in cultural policy arenas advocates loudly for artists, for communities, for racial justice and for cultural equity − principles of NPN from its inception in 1985.

None of this could have been accomplished without a strong and loyal staff and board, who have supported and contributed to our growth. Their expertise and shared vision for the impact we can have has made our successes possible. I know that as we make the transition to new leadership that there is a solid and committed organization still ripe with possibility and ready for what is next. I am proud of who we are and what we have accomplished, and proud of the part I have played in it.

As a key part of this transition, we are embarking on a research project, a substantive assessment of NPN/VAN’s many contributions to artistic practice, cultural policy, social justice and cultural vitality across the United States, as well as within Latin America, the Caribbean, Japan and Korea. I will continue to work with NPN/VAN through the end of calendar 2016 to be part of this project, which is both archival and analytical.

I am grateful for all of the support shown for NPN/VAN’s work over the past 30 years. The organization’s advancement has been a tremendous team effort from every sector within which we work and we value these relationships with our allies in the field.

With appreciation,
MK Wegmann

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