Mid Atlantic Arts Foundation Announces Retirement of
Executive Director Alan W. Cooper

Arts Consulting Group Engaged to
Spearhead New Director Search


Baltimore, MD – August 3, 2016 – Mid Atlantic Arts Foundation (MAAF) announced today that Executive Director Alan W. Cooper will retire effective May 2017. As Executive Director of the Foundation since 1994, Cooper has been responsible for all aspects of leadership and oversight leading to substantial growth in programs and services that have had extensive impact for both audiences and artists in the mid-Atlantic region and beyond.

In making the announcement, E. Scott Johnson, Chair of the Foundation’s Board of Directors said, “It has been an honor and a privilege to work with Alan Cooper. Alan has served the arts community for over 34 years, devoting the last 23 years to providing visionary leadership at the helm of Mid Atlantic Arts Foundation. Alan’s integrity, breadth of knowledge, collaboration with funders, and tireless work to advance the Foundation’s mission have made the Foundation a leader in regional, national, and international arts programming. His commitment to diverse artistic expression and belief in the arts as an agent of change have made him a champion of artists, arts organizations, and audiences, and his impact will remain with us for many years to come. Alan is leaving the Foundation in a strong position, with an experienced staff, dedicated board of directors, and a renewed strategic plan. I am grateful for his years of leadership and friendship, and wish him all the best for a long and happy retirement.”

In his role as Executive Director at MAAF, Cooper has been instrumental in creating programs that not only address issues from a regional perspective, but also provide work for outstanding artists from around the world.

MAAF’s ArtsCONNECT, Mid Atlantic Tours, and Special Presenter Initiatives programs address access to quality performances for audiences and to new markets for performing artists in the mid-Atlantic region. Cooper further expanded MAAF’s regional touring programs in 2011 with the addition of On Screen/In Person, a program that brings independent film makers from across the U.S. to the region to tour with their films while connecting with communities through discussions and outreach.

In the last ten years Cooper increased opportunities for U.S. performing artists to reach international markets and for American audiences to experience artists from abroad. USArtists International (USAI) is the only national initiative solely devoted to providing support for American dance, music, and theatre ensembles and solo artists to perform at major international arts festivals and arts markets outside the United States. Another national initiative created under his watch, Southern Exposure: Performing Arts of Latin America, brings exemplary contemporary and traditional performing arts from Latin America to audiences across the United States that have little access to this work.

Jazz has been a Foundation priority since the early 1990’s and Cooper has implemented innovative programming to support artists and jazz presenters alike. Programs like the Jazz Touring Network provide the opportunity for regional presenters to expand their offerings in jazz and help to create new opportunities for jazz musicians. A commitment to celebrating the life-long achievement of jazz artists is reflected in the Living Legacy Jazz Award which recently celebrated its 20th anniversary and is presented in partnership with the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts. The 23rd BNY Mellon Jazz Living Legacy Award will be presented to bassist Ron Carter at the Kennedy Center On October 7, 2016. Cooper continues to embrace international collaboration through the French-American Jazz Exchange, a program co-administered by MAAF and FACE Foundation, which fosters the development of jazz artists from France and the United States through the support of jointly conceived projects and tours.

Early in his career at the Foundation and with a leadership development grant from the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA), Cooper launched the Delmarva Folklife Project. This three-year effort to document, preserve, promote, and develop the traditional cultural resources of the Delmarva region resulted in numerous publications, an audio tour, conferences and symposia, and a treasure trove of interviews with tradition bearers of the region.

In partnership with the NEA, he led the creation and development of Artists and Communities: America Creates for the Millennium which represented the NEA’s largest investment in the celebration of the year 2000 and was the first-ever national community arts residency program. During that year, MAAF’s Artists and Communities program supported an artist-in-residence in each of the 50 states, the District of Columbia, and in three U.S. territories to engage people from all backgrounds and all ages in the creative process, demonstrating the contribution that arts participation can make to the quality of life in communities across America.

Cooper has spearheaded MAAF’s work to foster a partnership among the region’s state arts agencies and has helped coordinate the work of the six regional arts organizations in the United States. MAAF’s member state arts agencies in Delaware, District of Columbia, Maryland, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, U.S. Virgin Islands, Virginia, and West Virginia convene regularly to explore ways that they can collectively add value to their programs through regional efforts. Likewise, the six U.S. regional arts organizations work collaboratively in delivering programs from the NEA and to elevate important cultural development issues such as international cultural exchange.

Cooper’s previous work experience includes Associate Director of the North Carolina Arts Council, Executive Director of the Winston-Salem (NC) Symphony, and Associate Director of Development for Special Gifts at Washington National Cathedral.

Cooper has served as an officer and a board member of Grantmakers in the Arts and as a member of the U.S. Russia Bilateral Presidential Commission Working Group for Education, Sports, Culture, and Mass Media. He recently completed a second term serving as chair of the U.S. Regional Arts Organizations working group. He is a past advisory board member of National Assembly of State Arts Agencies.

The Foundation has engaged Arts Consulting Group, the leading provider of hands-on interim management, executive search, revenue enhancement consulting, facilities & program planning, and organizational development services for the arts and culture industry, to lead the Executive Director search. Interested candidates can find a complete job description and application information here.

About Mid Atlantic Arts Foundation

Mid Atlantic Arts Foundation develops partnerships and programs that reinforce artists’ capacity to create and present work, and advance access to and participation in the arts.