Thursday, March 26, 2009

NBAF executive producer Stephanie Hughley steps down

Posted By on Thu, Mar 26, 2009 at 11:14 PM

According to Access Atlanta, Hughley's last day is June 1:

Hughley is leaving to pursue other opportunities, and will remain on the staff until June 1, and through the 2009 festival, a press release said. In 1987, Hughley was the founding artistic director of the festival, which celebrated its 20th year last summer. She left, only to return in 1999 as executive director after working as vice president of programming for the New Jersey Performing Arts Center.

As CL critic Cinque Hicks noted in his National Black Arts Festival cover story last year, Hughley was a critical part of the festival's effort to increase its visual arts profile in 2008:

When the NBAF launched in 1988, its signature visual arts event was the Artists' Market at Greenbriar Mall, which was organized then and now by textile artist K. Joy Peters. In those early years, the visual arts received as much attention as dance, music and theater.

But the festival's commitment to its visual arts production failed to keep pace with the tremendous resources devoted to its performing arts programming. The disparity was rooted in the festival's leadership, says Leatrice Ellzy, manager of artistic programming and festival production. "It has a lot to do with the person who sits in my chair and the person that sits in [executive producer] Stephanie Hughley's seat," Ellzy says, "and how engaged they are in visual art."

One of NBAF 2008's coups was enlisting, in cooperation with SCAD, artist Carrie Mae Weems for Constructing History: A Requiem to Mark the Moment, an exhibit, according to Hicks, that posed the question "What's the system that helps the world see black art?"

Hughley was one part of one system and it will be interesting to see who replaces her.

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