Thursday, February 22, 2007

Deval Patrick and the arts

News from the Massachusetts Cultural Council this week shows Governor Deval Patrick beginning to put his stamp on the Commonwealth’s top arts agency.

The Democrat announced Tuesday that he had promoted MCC board member Elyse Cherry to president of the 19-member board. She replaces Peter Nessen, who served as chairman for 11 years. Patrick also appointed Barbara Grossman to serve as vice-chair. Cherry, as chair, will lead the search for an executive director to replace outgoing MCC chief Mary Kelley, who plans to leave at the end of March after leading the agency for 11 years.

Eleven years and eleven years – is it just a coincidence that this is roughly the length of time Republicans ran the state’s executive branch? “You’ve seen too many Oliver Stone movies,” MCC spokesman Greg Liakos teases me.

Cherry, CEO of the nonprofit financial organization Boston Community Capital and a former partner at the Boston law firm Hale and Dorr, began working with the MCC nearly a decade ago as a panelist reviewing arts and economic development projects.

Grossman, an associate professor and chair of the department of drama and dance at Tufts University, has served as a presidential appointee to both the National Council on the Arts and the U. S. Holocaust Memorial Council.


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