The Board of Trustees of River Arts welcomes Joseph Pensak as its new Executive Director effective July 1. “We are very excited about a future with Joseph in the leadership position” says Nan Carle Beauregard, Chair of the Board of Trustees. Joseph replaces Dominique Gustin, who came to River Arts 12 years ago as the Program Director and accepted the role of Executive Director in 2016. She leaves this vibrant community arts organization to pursue new opportunities with the Vermont Arts Council.
Joseph Pensak brings 18 years of experience in grant writing, development work and community building to the Executive Director position at River Arts and is excited to see its mission of “Arts for Everyone” continue to grow in richness, depth and scope in its 20th year and beyond. Joseph has served as the director and head curator of New City Galerie in Burlington, an art gallery with attached artist in residence studios since its founding in 2011.
Beyond New City, he brings almost 20 years of experience in New England connecting communities to rich encounters with the arts. He spent three years in Cambridge, MA working with the Brazilian community through ESL Boston, a unique collaboration that incorporated music, food and storytelling into English language classes for all ages. In seven years of community building work at the University of Connecticut, he developed the Signs of Life music series, a collaboration with Paste Magazine to bring touring acts to the campus community.
For the past eight years at New City Galerie, he has curated four art shows per year together with overseeing New City’s on site artist in residence program. Joseph is a Sacred Harp singer and musician and has played drums and guitar in various bands since college. In March he played a record release show at FlynnSpace in Burlington for his new project, Hallowell, released this year on Great Comfort Records.
Joseph’s wife Katie Pensak is a ceramic artist and the head graphic designer for Hunger Free Vermont. The Pensaks have three girls—Nadine (14), Lucie (11) and Maelle (7).
River Arts is a community arts organization in Morrisville. It’s mission is to enrich the community through the arts by making the arts accessible to all, regardless of age, ability, or financial means. Last year, more than 3,500 individuals were engaged in its classes, camps, and workshops. Almost 15,000 visitors enjoyed exhibitions and performances, took advantage of the new clay studio, and shopped in the Artisan Gift Shop, which features the work of 25 local artists.
What types of classes would you like to see held? What community needs could we help meet? Approaching River Arts' 20th Anniversary, help shape our direction by completing the Community Survey here: https://riverartsvt.org/river-arts-community-survey/
We’re bidding a fond farewell to Executive Director
Dominique Gustin who will be leaving us in order to pursue new opportunities and develop her artistic practice. In her own words, “It’s incredibly difficult to make a decision like this, however reaching my twelve-year mark as staff, and approaching our 20th anniversary as an organization, caused me to reflect on what’s ahead, both for me and for River Arts. I feel extremely proud of all we’ve accomplished, and confident that the organization is well prepared for this transition, with the staff, infrastructure, programs, and resources necessary to take it successfully into the future”.
During Dominique’s tenure, we’ve developed and grown innovative programs, public art projects, and focused strategically on launching a community clay studio and artisan gift shop featuring Vermont artists, adding to the vitality of the downtown and creating a dedicated space for individuals and families to engage creatively together. Our operating budget has grown while steadily building a reserve, and we’re in a strong financial position with exciting programs and an effective staff in place. “I can’t thank Dominique enough for her time and commitment to this organization and our community” commented Nan Carle Beauregard, River Arts Board President, “… we wish her much continued success in her next endeavors and look forward to building upon the progress we’ve made under her leadership. She has positioned us well to continue our work providing the community with a vibrant hub for the arts.”
Dominique will remain in a part time capacity to support the organization through this transition, so rather than “goodbye”, it will be more like a “see you soon” albeit in a different capacity. A search for our next executive director has begun, so if you know the perfect person, click here for more details and let us know!