Abrupt Leadership Change at the Atlanta Contemporary

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The Atlanta Contemporary Art Center unexpectedly announced today that its development director Veronica Kessenich has been appointed executive director, effective July 4. She replaces Julie Delliquanti, who became director in July 2014.

Delliquanti implemented the Contemporary’s plan of becoming a free institution. The news of the elimination of admission fees, beginning September 1, and a new membership structure was announced last week. Delliquanti also oversaw the center’s makeover with its new branding campaign, advertising, and information technology initiatives.

Prior to the Contemporary, she was curator of art|DBF at the Decatur Book Festival, and head of public programs & community engagement at the High Museum of Art.

In a press statement, board president Tim Schrager said: “With Veronica’s appointment as Executive Director, we will focus on fundraising, which is the natural progression that this “Free” initiative requires.”

Kessenich has been development director at the Contemporary for two years, during which time it received a $200,000 grant from the Community Foundation for Greater Atlanta. Previous experience includes being gallery director for Fay Gold Gallery (2004-09), running an art consultancy, and teaching at SCAD-Atlanta and the Art Institute of Atlanta. She serves on the boards of the Atlanta Printmakers Studio and MINT Gallery.

According to Kessenich’s LinkedIn profile, at the Contemporary she closed out a $625,000 capital campaign in 2013, increased Annual Fund giving by 94 percent and private grant funding by 25 percent, and reimagined the annual fundraising event ART PARTY after an 11-year hiatus, which resulted in huge increases in annual corporate sponsorship (400 percent) and in-kind support (600 percent).

She received a Master’s of Philosophy in art history from the University of St. Andrews in 2004, and a BA in art history from St. Mary’s College in 2001.

We’ll bring you more details as they become available.

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