St. Louis – May 9, 2014 – The Regional Arts Commission (RAC), the largest annual funder of the arts in the St. Louis region, has announced that long-time executive director and one of its founders, Jill McGuire, will retire her position, effective December 31, 2014. McGuire’s decision to retire will bring to close a remarkable career of nearly 30 years of service to the Commission, its constituents and the region at large.
“Jill McGuire has been a visionary for the arts and for the community during her tenure. The Commission is grateful for her leadership and innumerable contributions to RAC over the past 29 years,” said Michael Scully, chairman of RAC. He added that plans are underway to assure an orderly transition over the next eight months. A search committee will be formed to launch a national and local search to choose McGuire’s successor. The committee will be comprised of Commissioners and community leaders.
Scully continued, “While we will miss Jill’s leadership, she has chosen a good time to announce her retirement. The Regional Arts Commission has a solid local and national reputation. Its programs and finances are in great shape, and we are operating under a strategic plan that has outlined a clear direction for RAC for the next several years. We appreciate her thoughtful approach to this important leadership transition.”
Under McGuire’s leadership, RAC has been at the forefront of efforts to elevate the vitality, value and visibility of the arts in St. Louis both locally and nationally. Some of the major accomplishments include: introducing new initiatives such as Artists Support Grants and Artists Fellowships that provide direct support to diverse artists; creating the RAC Innovation/Advancement Fund to support organizations who take risks to accomplish artistic and administrative goals; establishing an open grants process and developing an online grants system, one of the first arts agencies to do so; hosting the first Community Arts Convening in the country; conducting the first comprehensive study of artists working in the St. Louis region and reporting the relative economic impact; advocating for the first percent for art programming in the City of St. Louis; and creating a major arts stabilization fund.
“It has been a privilege to lead one of the nation’s best arts commissions these past 29 years. Deciding to retire was not an easy decision because there are so many exciting things going on right now at RAC. But this is also why now is the right time. I will miss working directly with the many arts organizations and artists, but I will continue to be a strong advocate for the arts in St. Louis,” said McGuire.
“I have enjoyed working with the staff and the many spirited and committed community members who have served on the Commission. They have been, and continue to be important and valued partners who have helped shape RAC into the innovative arts organization that it is,” stated McGuire.
McGuire’s leadership in the arts extends beyond the St. Louis region and the state of Missouri. McGuire has been a long-time advocate for greater public support for the arts. She currently serves on the Missouri Citizens for the Arts board, an advocacy organization for the state arts council. In the early ‘90’s, McGuire was one of the founding directors of the first art political action committee in the United States, Arts and Humanities for America (AHA)!
For her many contributions, McGuire has received numerous awards to include the prestigious 2005 Selina Roberts Ottum Award from the Americans for the Arts. The Selina Roberts Ottum Award is the highest, most distinguished recognition in the arts administration field. McGuire is also a recipient of The Ray Hanley Innovation Award for Leadership in the Arts, given by the United States Urban Arts Federation.
McGuire has also served as board member and past vice president of Americans for the Arts; president of the United States Urban Arts Federation, an alliance of executive directors of the local arts agencies in the nation’s fifty largest cities; and committee member for the National Association of Counties, Arts and Culture Committee.
About the Regional Arts Commission www.art-stl.com
The Regional Arts Commission (RAC) is at the forefront of efforts to transform St. Louis into a more vibrant, creative and economically thriving community by elevating the vitality, value and visibility of the arts. As the largest annual funder of the arts in the region, since its inception in 1985, RAC has awarded more than 6,300 grants totaling over $84 million to support nonprofit arts, individual artists, cultural organizations, consortiums and programs. Directed by a board of 15 commissioners appointed by the chief executives of St. Louis City and County, RAC is a pivotal force in the continuing development and marketing of the arts in the region. www.art-stl.com. Visit our cultural calendar www.ArtsZipper.com or follow us on FACEBOOK at Regional Arts Commission or TWITTER at RACStLouis.