Peter Van Heerden named executive director of Fairfield University’s Regina A. Quick Center for the Arts


Peter Van HeerdenKevin Lawlor, Fairfield University's executive vice president and chief operating officer, announces Peter Van Heerden, a dynamic leader in the arts in both academic and large-scale nonprofit organizations, as the new executive director of the University's Regina A. Quick Center for the Arts. The appointment is effective on January 13, 2015. Van Heerden was selected at the conclusion of a thorough national search conducted by the Arts Consulting Group.

Van Heerden, a Westport, Conn., resident, comes to the Quick Center from The Westport Arts Center, a nonprofit visual and performing arts organization, where, for the past three years, he was responsible for the management of overall strategic vision, direction and fiscal health of more than 200 programs in visual arts, film, education, jazz and chamber music.

Prior to that post, he was senior faculty member in performance studies for 15 years at City Varsity School of Media and Creative Arts in Cape Town, South Africa, where he also founded and served as artistic director of ERF 81 Cultural Collective, in which artists, performers, historians, educators and others generate projects vested in the culture and heritage of contemporary South Africa. From 2001 to 2003, he served as managing director and co-founder of School Environment and Education and Development (S.E.E.D.), which transforms schools and learning environments through permaculture and sustainable practice. 

"Peter comes to the Quick Center with a wealth of hands-on expertise in the arts, particularly in building a sense of community among patrons, donors, cultural foundations and artists, as well as a proven record as an inspirational leader and collaborator," Lawlor said. "I'm excited to watch the Quick Center build on its rich existing programming and extend its community engagement opportunities under his leadership."

While at the Westport Arts Center, Van Heerden oversaw a resounding growth in patronage and cultivation through community partnerships, and the development of innovative programming in the visual and performing arts. He helped structure a strong exhibition program, featuring internationally known artists, such as Chuck Close and Christo and Jeanne Claude, and oversaw outreach programs in therapeutic arts, working with cancer patients at Yale-New Haven's Smilow Cancer Hospital and veterans at Homes for the Brave in Bridgeport. The center also extended arts-based partnerships in urban schools in Bridgeport and Norwalk.

"I am excited to join Fairfield University as executive director of the Regina A. Quick Center for the Arts," said Van Heerden. "The prospect of positioning the Quick Center as a leading force in the arts in Fairfield County is a great opportunity. I look forward to enhancing engagement with the Fairfield community, sponsors and Fairfield University faculty in advancing the Quick Center to become the leading performing arts center in the region."

A native of South Africa, Van Heerden holds a bachelor's degree in drama and classical civilization from Rhodes University, Grahamstown, South Africa, and a master's degree in theatre and performance, cum laude, from the University of Cape Town.

Arts Consulting Group is a leading provider of hands-on interim management, executive search, fundraising & marketing consulting, facilities & program planning, and organizational development services for the arts and culture industry. With offices in New York, Washington DC, Boston, Chicago, Los Angeles, San Diego, Portland, Seattle, Denver, ACG consultants are also located in other communities throughout North America to best serve the needs of its clients.  For more information, visit www.ArtsConsulting.com.

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Posted on December 16, 2014

Vol. 47, No. 135

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