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.