for Art + Innovation
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By Suzanne Fetscher, Emeritus President + CEO
With a full and grateful heart, I write my farewell to everyone at McColl Center.
Serving as the founding president and CEO of McColl Center has been an honor of a lifetime. I will treasure every relationship I was privileged to form. Those relationships extend to over 400 artists from around the world, the many collaborators in other organizations in Charlotte, the generous board members and donors who have made the journey of these past nearly twenty years a success, funders from around the state and country who believe in the Center's mission and programs, and the loyal audience of experimental and content-full contemporary art in Charlotte.
It's hard to convey the trajectory of this journey and debt of gratitude I have to the array of individuals responsible for making it happen.
First, to Hugh McColl and Bank of America. Hugh wanted to preserve one of the last remaining historic structures in Uptown Charlotte -- the formerly "burned out church" -- and make it a space for artists.
Michael Marsicano at Foundation for the Carolinas helped identify for Hugh the possibility of achieving the last undone piece of Charlotte's first Cultural Action Plan (1977) -- an artists' "colony."
Then, Ed Shelton and Stuart Dickson teamed up with Hugh to establish the Medici Society to build a strong, loyal, and generous philanthropic base for McColl Center's operating support. The Medici Society, along with operating support from the Arts & Science Council, provided annual financial security upon which to build a foundation.
Suzanne Fetscher, circa 1995 [Courtesy of McColl Center for Art + Innovation]
McColl Center has a phenomenal story and it is driven by the community who built it. I have told many people that I am not sure that McColl Center could have happened in a similar way in any other city in the U.S. The broader community and, specifically, the Center's community of artists, board members, and donors, along with the Arts & Science Council and North Carolina Arts Council, made it so.
Leading an arts organization is a daily adventure. It also requires a great team of brilliant and passionate colleagues and board members. My colleagues have become family to me and we have loved and supported each other like family. They know my strengths and weaknesses as a leader and they helped me leverage the best while managing the least of my skills. I will miss them. I know they will continue to do great things for artists and the community. I look forward to beholding new heights to their brilliance.
McColl Center has so much to be optimistic about. Its amazing history of artists and public engagement give me the greatest pride. North Tryon Street is beginning to see redevelopment and residential amenities within a block. The arts are evolving and artists are seen as community assets to be nurtured and supported. It is now perceived that the more artists are living and working in a community, the stronger the community is. Hooray! This has been one of McColl Center's continuous underlying values and purposes.
The nearly 20-year sojourn at McColl Center has been humbling, edifying, fun, and crazy. I wish great success to the Center in the future and only the best for everyone associated with it.
©2017 McColl Center
for Art + Innovation