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Chiwoniso Kaitano appointed as the First Black Executive Director of MacDowell Artist Residency

MacDowell, the oldest and first artist residency program in the United States, has recently announced the appointment of, Chiwoniso "Chi" Kaitano, as its new executive director, succeeding Philip Himberg, who stepped down in December 2022. Kaitano, who assumed the role on March 1, 2023, is the 10th person and the first Black person to lead the organization since its founding in 1907.

Portrait of Derrick Adams by Christopher Garcia Valle

Kaitano is an accomplished arts leader and advocate with over 20- years of experience in the nonprofit sector. Before joining MacDowell, she was the executive director of Girl Be Heard, a New York-based organization that amplifies the voices of young women and gender non-conforming youth through theater and activism. Kaitano also held senior positions at the Brooklyn Academy of Music (BAM), the New York Foundation for the Arts (NYFA), and the Lower Manhattan Cultural Council (LMCC).

As the new executive director, Kaitano will be responsible for overseeing MacDowell's operations, programs, fundraising, and strategic vision. She will also lead the organization's efforts to identify and support underrepresented artistic voices, diversify its board and staff, and expand its outreach and impact in the local and global communities.

Kaitano's appointment as the first Black person to lead MacDowell is significant and timely, given the current push for greater diversity and representation in the arts. Her focus on identifying underrepresented artistic voices and intensifying outreach will undoubtedly bring new perspectives and ideas to the institution, further cementing MacDowell's legacy as a vital and inclusive space for artistic excellence, experimentation, and discovery.

"Chi is a visionary leader who understands the value and power of art in our society," said Nell Painter, chair of MacDowell's board of directors. "She has a proven track record of advancing the careers and opportunities of artists from diverse backgrounds and perspectives, and of fostering a culture of equity, inclusion, and collaboration. We are delighted to welcome her to MacDowell and to entrust her with the stewardship of this remarkable institution."

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Chiwoniso Kaitano appointed as the First Black Executive Director of MacDowell Artist Residency

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