New Orleans, LA—The Board of Directors of the Contemporary Arts Center, New Orleans (CAC) announced today the selection of Neil Barclay as the organization’s new executive director. Barclay will join the CAC staff on May 1, 2013. Barclay replaces Jay Weigel, the longest serving executive director in the CAC’s history, who announced in 2012 his departure to return to music composition and arrangement.
Until accepting his new position at the CAC, Barclay was most recently a senior consultant with the Arts Consulting Group, the nation’s leading provider of hands-on interim management; executive searches; fundraising and marketing consulting; facilities and program planning; and organizational development services for the arts and culture industry.
As a consultant and practitioner, Barclay has developed extensive expertise in the artistic and operational aspects of non-profit multi-disciplinary arts organizations as both a chief executive and board member. His experience includes working with several institutions of higher learning in Southern California; creating a free standing civic multi-disciplinary arts center for a critically-acclaimed cultural district in the Midwest; and providing comprehensive facility planning services for one of the nation’s largest municipalities.
“Speaking on behalf of the CAC’s Board of Directors and its staff, we could not be more excited about Neil’s hiring,” said CAC Board President Mark Jeanfreau. “We believe that Neil’s background and leadership experience across artistic disciplines, coupled with his enthusiasm to be a part of both the CAC and the larger New Orleans artistic community, make him an ideal candidate to become the CAC’s next executive director.”
“New Orleans is a special place that has captured the imagination of artists and creative thinkers for centuries. I am excited to become a part of such a vibrant community and to be given the opportunity to lead the CAC at this moment in its history. I look forward to working with the region’s artists and their supporters as we continue to bring attention and resources to what I consider to be one of the nation’s most important cultural assets,” said Barclay.
As Associate Director of the Performing Arts Center at the University of Texas at Austin for seven years, Barclay supervised the programming, ticketing, marketing, and development efforts for the University’s seven-venue multi-disciplinary performing arts program. As Founding President and CEO of the August Wilson Center in Pittsburgh he led the design, construction, program and capital fundraising for the $42 million award-winning performing and visual arts facility. He most recently completed the capital development, operations, and fundraising plans for the historic Vision Theater originally built by the late Howard Hughes for the City of Los Angeles’ Cultural Affairs Department.
Artistically, Barclay is recognized for his involvement in the commissioning of new multi-disciplinary works by some of the world’s leading performing artists including the late Pina Bausch, the Kronos Quartet, Ralph Lemon, and Ronald K. Brown. He developed the curatorial framework for the August Wilson Center’s interactive permanent exhibition and its inaugural exhibition entitled In My Father’s House.
As a board member of the Association of Performing Arts Presenters for nine years, including three years as Vice President, Barclay was involved in numerous strategic initiatives including the Creative Campus program and the Association’s efforts to diversify access for artists and audiences to the full range of cultural activities available in communities throughout the United States.
Barclay has served as a peer panelist for the National Endowment for the Arts, the New England Foundation for the Arts’ National Dance Project, the San Francisco based Gerbode Foundation, and the Mid Atlantic Arts Foundation. He received his B.A. in Fine Arts from Loyola Marymount University and his law degree from Loyola Law School, Los Angeles. He was recently named to the advisory board of Loyola Marymount’s College of Fine and Communication Arts.
The CAC’s search process was led by Robyn Dunn Schwarz, the immediate past president of the CAC’s Board of Directors. Said Jeanfreau, “The CAC owes a profound debt of gratitude to the entire committee that conducted the CAC’s executive director search, but Robyn deserves special recognition. The time and effort that she devoted to the search process was truly remarkable. That the CAC was able to hire a candidate of Neil’s caliber is a reflection of the dedication of Robyn and the entire search committee to maintaining the CAC as a leader in the presentation of contemporary art across multiple disciplines.”