April 5, 2017 – Charlottesville, VA – Piedmont Council for the Arts, the local arts agency of Charlottesville and Albemarle County, is proud to announce that Deborah McLeod has accepted the position of Executive Director, effective April 17.
McLeod is the owner and director of Chroma Projects Art Laboratory, a contemporary arts gallery open in downtown Charlottesville since 2010. As a staff member or guest curator, she has worked with institutions throughout the Commonwealth, including Second Street Gallery, Longwood Center for the Visual Arts (Farmville), Peninsula Fine Arts Center (Newport News), Hand Workshop (now the Visual Arts Center of Richmond), Richmond Arts Council, and McLean Project for the Arts. She is also an active arts journalist, exhibition catalog author, and juror. McLeod earned her B.A. degree in Arts Management at Mary Baldwin College and studied craft and sculpture at the Instituto Allende in Mexico.
“Deborah is widely respected in the Charlottesville area arts community,” Jon Parrish Peede, PCA Board President, stated. “She has built an incredible network with individual artists and collectors through her gallery. And she has been a vocal supporter of arts organizations of all sizes and genres throughout our region for decades. We’re delighted to have such a talented, passionate executive director.”
“I am very honored to take up the baton from the many leaders who have stewarded PCA over the nearly 40 years that it has been advocating for our area artists and cultural organizations,” McLeod said. “I want PCA to remain vital, to be a nurturing and facilitating and promoting organization, working closely with all who imagine creative ways to make Charlottesville a polestar for art.”
As the City and County government leaders discuss the possibility of creating an arts employee position, PCA sees itself playing a complementary role that is focused on arts sector marketing and research, professional development, fiscal sponsorships, and related activities. In addition, PCA has dedicated budget resources to expanding the popular ArtInPlace public art program to sites in the County of Albemarle.
In her discussions with the PCA Board, McLeod stressed the importance of advocating for and promoting nonprofit and commercial arts organizations as both are economically important to our community’s wellbeing. “I deeply believe our artists should know that there is an organization here looking out for their interests, providing them the best possible platform for their own prosperity,” she said.
Having organized a successful Madonnari festival on the Downtown Mall, McLeod knows how impactful cultural festivals can be for the local community and visitors alike, and she supports the preliminary discussions about the benefits of a winter arts festival.
In addition to her arts and business experience, McLeod brings a strong record as a grant writer to PCA. Her most recent grant is from the Virginia Foundation for the Humanities for the production and printing of Repository of Missing Places: Richard Crozier’s Paintings of Lost & Kept Charlottesville. McLeod created and designed the award-winning book. All proceeds from the sale of the book, which includes more than 50 Crozier paintings, will benefit PCA as the fiscal sponsor of the project.
PCA will hold a reception in the coming weeks at our office at 9 York Place to celebrate our executive director and to introduce new PCA Board members to the public.