Monmouth Arts executive director to step down, take new position

RED BANK — After 19 years at Monmouth Arts, 17 as executive director, Mary Eileen Fouratt will be stepping down to take a position with the New Jersey State Council on the Arts.

Fouratt began as the community arts director in 1997 and became executive director in 1999 when the Monmouth County Arts Council and Count Basie Theatre separated into two nonprofits.

“It is with great sadness that we announce the departure of Mary Eileen Fouratt. Her dedication to expanding the reach and voice of arts throughout Monmouth County has changed the face of this area forever, and we are forever thankful for her efforts. She will be deeply missed,” said Monmouth Arts Chair Kathy Donnelly.

Monmouth Arts was founded in 1971 as the official county arts agency and a nonprofit to enrich the community by fostering and inspiring the arts. A leader of the county arts community, the organization consists of 100 nonprofit arts groups, 1,700 artists and 1,796 creative businesses.

Monmouth Arts nurtures the next generation of artists, audiences and arts supporters through direct programs and services for artists and arts groups and the ArtHelps Local Arts Program Grants in partnership with the New Jersey State Council on the Arts, resulting in over 3,800 arts activities serving over 750,000 people from the region.

Fouratt’s tenure has seen unprecedented growth for Monmouth Arts, including the development of the award-winning Monmouth County Arts Plan, “Envision, Imagine, Create,” and the MoCo Arts Corridor, a creative placemaking and marketing initiative. She led Monmouth Arts’ response to superstorm Sandy, ArtHelps, to bring the healing power of the arts to communities in Monmouth and Ocean counties hard hit by Sandy.

Under her leadership, Monmouth Arts has also received a Citation of Excellence from the New Jersey State Council each year since 2006.

“The excitement I have for this new opportunity is tempered by the difficulty in stepping away from such a great organization, the incredible team I have had the privilege to work with, the wonderful board members who give their time to support the arts, all the foundation, corporate, government and individual leaders who make our work possible, and, of course, the incredible artists, arts organizations and creative businesses that make Monmouth County so vibrant,” said Fouratt.

“I look forward to continuing my connection with our local arts scene, even as I work on behalf of arts groups and artists throughout the state,” she said.

“Mary Eileen has been a leader in the New Jersey arts industry — both locally and statewide — for many years, and we’re excited to bring her on board. Her wealth of experience and proven dedication to this work make her a perfect addition to the Council team,” said Nick Paleologos, executive director of the New Jersey State Council on the Arts.

The Monmouth Arts Board of Trustees has appointed Patricia Hassenkamp, director of Finance and Administration as acting executive director upon Fouratt’s departure in mid-September. Hassenkamp has been with Monmouth Arts for 18 years. The Board has formed a search committee to identify the next leader of Monmouth Arts.

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