Fleisher Art Memorial Announces Rebecca O’Leary as Interim Executive Director and Additions of New Senior Staff

The Board of Directors of Fleisher Art Memorial is pleased to announce the appointment of Rebecca O’Leary as Interim Executive Director. She has replaced Elizabeth Grimaldi, who resigned from her position this fall. O’Leary steps in to lead the institution as a national search for a permanent Executive Director is underway. Previously serving as a Vice President on Fleisher’s Board of Directors, O’Leary brings a wealth of knowledge and expertise to Fleisher with past experience in both non-profit arts management and arts consulting for organizations across the country.

“Rebecca O’Leary’s set of experiences and network in the arts community bring dynamic leadership to Fleisher,” says Board President Mark B. Goodheart. “Her arrival marks a moment of opportunity to tap into Rebecca’s unique vision for Fleisher and her strong leadership and management skills. Fleisher’s mission to create an arts institution accessible to all remains our guiding principle. Our Board is confident that Rebecca will further advance this mission and we look forward to seeing the amazing work she and Fleisher’s staff will do in the coming months.”

After a decade of working in the arts in Los Angeles, O’Leary returned to her native Philadelphia in 2014 and established a local art advisory firm specializing in site-specific art installations and art acquisitions for corporate clients. While living on the west coast, she was the Executive Director at Pharmaka, a non-profit organization in Downtown Los Angeles dedicated to contemporary art and cross-cultural programming, and also served as the Director of Exhibitions at Curatorial, facilitating projects with the Annenberg Space for Photography and museums including the San Antonio Museum of Art, Museum of Glass, the Nevada Museum of Art, and Fundación MAPFRE.

“I am honored to be stepping into this interim role as Executive Director after a number of years on Fleisher’s board,” said O’Leary. “Having grown up around the corner and witnessing Fleisher’s profound impact firsthand, I am committed to ensuring our programming preserves the legacy of our founder, Samuel S. Fleisher, who believed that art is one of society’s greatest assets and equalizers.”

In addition to O’Leary’s recent appointment, Fleisher also recently welcomed new senior staff to lead communications and development-related efforts during this new chapter at the institution. Director of Communications Erin Sweeny is a seasoned communications expert for cultural institutions, joining the team at Fleisher Art Memorial after a number of years with The Fabric Workshop and Museum.
Director of Development Catherine Lee comes with a diverse community-centric fundraising background, recently working with the Smithsonian Institute and Asian Arts Initiative. As part of Fleisher’s executive team, these senior positions immediately bolster the organization’s capacity. The addition of Human Resources Generalist Garrett Williams brings added infrastructure and stability.

To better support the wide range of educational offerings and community programming at Fleisher, the organization has also made some notable structural changes:

• Vita Litvak was recently promoted to Director of Education from her previous role as Associate Director of Adult Education, expanding her leadership skills to oversee Children and Youth Programs.
• Fleisher’s K-5 after-school program, Creative Labs, will be coordinated by new Youth Programs Associate Ashley Gunter, with a relaunch scheduled for spring.
• Director of Exhibitions and Community Outreach Gerard Silva has also shifted into an expanded role, working closely with collaborators on a variety of projects such as 360 Culture Lab—centered around Fleisher’s partnership with Philadelphia’s Indonesian and Venezuelan communities—as well as artists participating in gallery exhibitions throughout the year.
• As members of the senior staff, Vita Litvak and Gerard Silva will also work collaboratively to maintain the connections between the Education and Community Engagement departments.

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