PROVIDENCE, RI – Governor Dan McKee and the Rhode Island State Council on the Arts (RISCA) today announced Lynne McCormack of Cranston as Executive Director of RISCA.
“Throughout Lynne’s career, time and time again she has proven her passion and commitment to the arts and culture community in Providence, our state and nationally,” said Governor McKee. “Under her leadership and with her experience, diligence, passion and consistency, our State’s Arts Council will continue to thrive and grow. On behalf of Rhode Island, I welcome Lynne to her new role.”
McCormack is a veteran arts, culture and community development leader having served as the National Program Director of Creative Placemaking for Local Initiatives Support Corporation (LISC), a national nonprofit community development financial institution that supports community development initiatives throughout the country.
Prior to joining LISC, McCormack was Director of Art, Culture + Tourism in the City of Providence, serving five mayors and taking charge of the city’s first comprehensive cultural plan in 2009. During her tenure with Providence, she forged partnerships throughout government that resulted in a summer youth workforce development program; planning and zoning policy changes and increased funding for artists; designers and organizations through CDBG, HUD, transit and economic development funds.
“I am thrilled to return to service to Rhode Island’s arts and culture community. I recognize the incredible work that the staff of RISCA has done throughout the pandemic, and it will be a pleasure to work alongside such a wonderful team. I am grateful to the Council and search committee for the community engaged and thoughtful process, which they used during the search,” said Executive Director McCormack. “Rhode Island’s arts community is among the most diverse and connected in the nation. I am looking forward to serving Rhode Island in this leadership position.”
“On behalf of the State Arts Council, we are thrilled to welcome Lynne as the new Executive Director. After an exhaustive nationwide search, the search committee, which was made up primarily of members of the community, were so impressed with the work that Lynne has done nationally in assisting communities, especially those under-represented, through her work with LISC,” said Libby Slader, Chair of the State’s Arts Council. “Lynne’s experience in the arts and especially her leadership centered on diversity, equity and inclusion make her the perfect person to assist the staff and the Council in executing the new strategic plan at RISCA.”
RISCA is a state agency supported by appropriations from the Rhode Island General Assembly and grants from the National Endowment for the Arts, a federal agency. The agency provides grants, technical assistance and staff support to arts organizations and artists, schools, community centers, social service organizations and local governments to bring the arts into the lives of Rhode Islanders.
Said Renée Elizabeth Neely, a visual artist and independent scholar, “After a very rigorous selection process of scaling down almost 70 candidates for the position of Executive Director of RISCA, we selected Lynne. This was an intense and thorough collaboration, and I am very proud to have served with all members of the selection committee.
“What impressed me the most about Lynne were not the accolades surrounding her many years of dedicated service to Rhode Island’s arts and culture communities or her impressive work in the national arts sector – it was the comments of those who worked with and knew her: That she is not afraid to face challenges; that she is loyal and forthright in recognizing her staff within and outside of the organization; that she is a fierce leader and kind,” said Neely. “Most importantly that she is an accomplice – not an ally – in assisting the BIPOC community. Lynne was chosen as the best leader for RISCA now, and for its progressive future. I am honored to have served on the Search Committee to make this important decision for our State.”
About Lynne McCormack, arts, culture and community development leader:
McCormack served as the national program director of creative placemaking for Local Initiatives Support Corporation from 2015 to 2022. During her tenure at LISC, the nation’s largest community development intermediary, she led the integration of arts and culture into community development by creating programs, developing learning networks and supporting local LISC offices in leveraging over $30 million in loan funds towards cultural facilities and artist housing. She also designed and implemented the Our Town Creative Placemaking Technical Assistance Program for the National Endowment for the Arts. This model program serves arts organizations and their government partners to better implement their grants, create systems change and enhance long term community partnerships. At LISC, she was a founding member of the racial equity learning group and led diversity, equity, inclusion & justice (DEIJ) initiatives on the economic development team. She also served on the LISC DEIJ council, representing national programs.
She began her 18 years of service to the city of Providence as production coordinator in the Providence Parks Department, working on the iconic Convergence International Arts Festival and other city events.
When the department of art, culture + tourism was established, she was named deputy director and designed the Neighborhood Parks Performing Arts Initiative and directed operations for Sound Session music festival among other duties. She secured multiple grants from the National Endowment for the Arts that led to the establishment of PVD Fest and served on the board of the Providence/Warwick Convention and Visitors Bureau for close to a decade. Additionally, she worked closely with Americans for the Arts and The U.S. Conference of Mayors.
A trained video artist, Ms. McCormack earned her BFA from Rhode Island School of Design and continues to employ creative practice and design-based thinking in her work as an arts administrator.
Visit www.arts.ri.gov for more information.