October 19, 2018

CAC’s Director and CEO Will Stay on the Job Through End of 2018

NEW ORLEANS, LA – Aug. XX 2018 – The Contemporary Arts Center’s Director and CEO, Neil Barclay, announced that he will step down from the job he has held for more than five years. At the request of the CAC board of directors, he has agreed to remain in his position until the end of 2018. Barclay said the completion of many of his goals made the timing right for his announcement. “I leave with mixed emotions to explore new opportunities to work more closely with the artists, institutions
and projects I have supported over the course of a career that has spanned three decades.” He will continue as a member of the Executive Committee for South Arts as co-chair of its Strategic Planning Committee and will also remain on the Board of Advisors at Loyola Marymount University’s College of Communication and Fine Arts. CAC President and Chair Deborah Brockley said Barclay’s work will have a positive impact on the Center for many years to come. “Neil brought enthusiasm, creativity and deep experience to the position of executive director, and we very much appreciate his efforts.”

She said a search committee for an executive director will be formed immediately. “We also expect to name an interim director to fill the gap until a permanent director is selected. This process will attract many qualified applicants and afford us a quick and seamless transition.” Longtime CAC supporter, benefactor and emeritus trustee Sydney J. Besthoff said Barclay will be fondly remembered for his work in New Orleans. “Neil’s tenure brought the CAC stability and it provided a foundation for growth. His experience and innovative approach to the performing arts, music and the visual arts helped to attract many talented artists from all disciplines.” During Barclay’s tenure, the CAC’s operating budget increased by more than 40 percent with the support of many of the nation’s leading arts philanthropies including significant grants from the Bloomberg, Ford, Lambent, Andrew W. Mellon and Wallace Foundations, none of whom had funded the CAC in the previous decade. Capital improvements helped complete the renovation of the Center’s historic physical plant, doubling the size of its galleries and creating a flexible performance, exhibition and special event space in its warehouses. The Domain Company’s co-working space The Shop was also negotiated, constructed and brought online during Barclay’s tenure.

Barclay credited the CAC’s board and staff. “Our success was possible because of the generosity of our local and national philanthropic community, our Trustees and the tremendous colleagues with whom I have had the privilege of collaborating with in this endeavor.” Former CAC Board Chair and current Chair of the Board of Directors of the New Orleans Museum of Art
Michael J. Siegel recognized Barclay for his leadership of the CAC and his contributions to the arts as well. “It is beyond encouraging to see the high level of community attention to the arts in New Orleans, and Neil deserves credit for playing a strong part in this effort over the past five years.”


About the Contemporary Arts Center
The CAC is a multidisciplinary arts center dedicated to the presentation, production, and promotion of the art of our time. The Center organizes, presents, and tours curated exhibitions, performances and programs by local, regional, national, and international artists. It demonstrates proactive local and regional leadership by educating children and adults, cultivating and growing audiences, and initiating and encouraging collaboration among diverse artists, institutions, communities, and supporters.

The CAC began in 1976 as an artist-run, artist-driven community organization in the nearly empty arts district of New Orleans. As the burgeoning arts district grew, so did the CAC, evolving to meet the increasing needs of a diverse audience and artist communities.

Today, the CAC is one of a handful of nationwide arts organizations who have remained solvent and successful while serving a truly multidisciplinary mission. Currently, it dedicates 10,000 square feet of gallery space in its historic four-story warehouse district building to rotating exhibitions throughout the year. The CAC is proud to be a home to artists and bold experiments in painting, theater, photography, performance art, dance, music, video, education, and sculpture.

About Neil A. Barclay
Neil A. Barclay was appointed Director and CEO of the Contemporary Arts Center in May 2013. Before joining the CAC, Barclay was a senior consultant with Arts Consulting Group, one of the nation’s leading providers of executive consultancy services for the cultural sector. A consultant and practitioner with three decades of executive experience, Barclay has been a leading national presenter of contemporary performing and visual arts; a senior consultant on cultural facility development for the Department of Cultural Affairs for the City of Los Angeles; and the founding executive director of Pittsburgh’s August Wilson Center for African American Culture from its inception through its opening in 2009.  He served as the Associate Director of Texas Performing Arts at the University of Texas at Austin for 7 years during which time he began a nine-year tenure on the board of directors of the Association of Performing Arts Professionals including 3 years as the association’s Vice President. He was the founding chair of Dance Theater Workshop’s National Performance Network (NPN) prior to its incorporation as a
separate not for profit.  Barclay served as a Hub Site representative for the New England Foundation for the Arts’ National Dance Project for nearly a decade in addition to serving on the Board of South Arts, the regional arts re- granting agency for the southern United States where here currently serves on the executive committee as co- chair of the agency’s Strategic Planning Committee. He received his Juris Doctorate from Loyola Law School and his BA in Fine Arts from Loyola Marymount University where he currently serves as a member of the Advisory Board of the University’s College of Communications and Fine Arts.

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