Friday, November 4, 2011

NBAF president and CEO Neil Barclay resigns

Posted By on Fri, Nov 4, 2011 at 11:26 AM

The National Black Arts Festival announced in a press release to volunteers last night that President and CEO Neil Barclay has resigned to "pursue other opportunities." Barclay took the helm of NBAF in 2009, succeeding Executive Director Stephanie Hughley. Hughley had been credited with raising the bar for visual arts programming at NBAF, a festival that historically has placed more emphasis on dance, performing arts and music than the visual arts.

After an underwhelming visual arts schedule at the 2010 fest, CL columnist and critic Cinque Hicks noted in a column the "daunting task" that lay before Barclay:

The former president and CEO of the August Wilson Center for African American Culture in Pittsburgh [Barclay] was appointed to NBAF in 2009 and brings an impressive resume, but he must back it up with the focused vision, staff, and resources that were beginning to take shape just a few years ago. Barclay’s plan to initiate a separate visual arts program at its own time of the year with its own articulated agenda may be a step in the right direction.

NBAF is not just a local affair. It’s an international cultural trust with the potential to be a uniquely Atlantan contribution to global visual arts culture. Artists from as far away as Brazil, France and South Africa already look to the festival as a gauge of what’s exciting in African diasporic culture. If NBAF fails to deliver for visual art, it will be a missed opportunity for us all.

No word yet on details of Barclay's departure and if NBAF has anyone lined up to take over for him. CL's calls for comment have not yet been returned.

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