The Arlington Arts Center has named Holly Koons McCullough as its new executive director. She joins the organization from the Greater Reston Arts Center, another regional art center right up the road, where she has worked as a curator since 2012 and as director since 2014.
Prior to moving to Northern Virginia, McCullough served as the director of collections and exhibitions at the Telfair Museums in Savannah, Georgia, for 15 years. The museums added a contemporary art facility, theJepson Center for the Arts, during her tenure. At GRACE, McCullough assembled shows by Renée Stout, who recently enjoyed a survey at the American University Museum, and Patrick Dougherty, one of the stars of“Wonder” at the Renwick Gallery.
McCullough says that the Arlington Arts Center’s “expansive physical facility, proximity to [D.C.], reputation for quality, and resident artist program” drew her to the post. She aims to maintain the programs in place now, including itsseasonal solo exhibitions and larger group programs.
“I really have to get the lay of the land,” she says. “I understand that, and this is very common problem, to be fair, that while the Arlington Arts Center is deeply embedded in the community, it still has some visibility issues. I’d like to continue to bring in broader audiences.”
McCullough succeeds Stefanie Fedor, who left the center in July to head up the Visual Art Center of Richmond. Karyn Miller, who acted as the organization’s interim director, will continue to serve as director of exhibitions.
The Arlington Arts Center hosts studios for a number of resident artists, among them Hedieh Javanshir Ilchi, who is also currently showing her work in one of the center’s galleries. For “Daydreams in the Anthropocene,” another recent exhibit, resident artist Rachel Schmidt collaborated with members of D.C.’sBeauty Pill to create a sound installation.
While the resident studios drive a lot of the programming at the center, it also mounts large, curatorially ambitious group shows, including 2015’s playful “Play: Tinker, Tech, & Toy” and 2009’s progressive “Transhuman Conditions.”
McCullough, who leaves GRACE on May 20 and starts at the Arlington Arts Center at the end of the month, says that she hopes that its programs will offer an opportunity to expose the region to new ideas in contemporary art—in particular through the center’s visiting artist program.
“Ultimately I am a content person,” McCullough says. “I would be unable to sell something I wasn’t passionate about.”
Handout photo courtesy Turner Photography Studio