MASSCreative names Emily Ruddock new executive director

Organization also welcomes Boston arts chief Kara Elliott-Ortega and longtime arts advocate Barbara Wallace Grossman to board of directors

BOSTON, September 25, 2019—MASSCreative announces today that Emily Ruddock has been named executive director of the arts advocacy organization. Ruddock, who was appointed interim executive director last April following the departure of founding executive director Matt Wilson, assumed the permanent role after a unanimous vote of the MASSCreative Board of Directors.

“I am honored to lead MASSCreative, which in its first seven years has become an indispensable advocate for the state’s art, cultural, and creative communities,” Ruddock said. “As we look ahead to the next seven years and beyond, our work must expand to advance policies that support a strong, well-resourced creative sector so that everyone in Massachusetts, regardless of where they live, can access the benefits provided by artistic and cultural experiences and participation. The creative sector is one of the most potent contributors to the state’s economic and civic vitality, but none of this happens by accident. It takes strategic planning and advocacy.”

Ruddock brings 15 years of experience in strategic and management positions for non-profit arts organizations, including working as the first director of the City of Lynn’s Downtown Cultural District. Before joining MASSCreative in 2017, Ruddock was the artistic producer at Merrimack Repertory Theatre (MRT), where she managed the day-to-day operations of the Artistic Department, including hiring, resource logistics, and budgeting for theatrical productions. She also developed and supervised MRT’s first education department-focused effort, strengthening partnerships with local social service organizations and schools.

As director of Lynn’s Downtown Cultural District, Ruddock was highly regarded by city officials and local arts leaders for her leadership in coordinating arts and cultural organizations for neighborhood revitalization and economic development. Ruddock worked with elected city and state officials on a range of projects to promote downtown Lynn and the arts community, including drafting legislation establishing the city’s first Public Art Commission. She also organized and executed free public events featuring local arts and community groups.

“Fulfilling our mission to create a Commonwealth in which arts, culture, and creativity are an expected, well-funded and valued part of everyday life will require leadership that is bold, strategic, and collaborative,” said MASSCreative Board Chair Stephen Immerman, who is President Emeritus of Montserrat College of Art. “That is what we have in Emily, who also brings passion not just for art, but for equitable access to art. We are incredibly excited to advance our work with artists, cultural councils, arts organizations and the broader creative community and to have Emily leading these efforts.” 

MASSCreative has also named two new members to its Board of Directors: 

  • Kara Elliott-Ortega, Chief of Arts and Culture for the City of Boston.
  • Barbara Wallace Grossman, interim department chair and professor of theatre at Tufts University’s Department of Theatre, Dance, and Performance Studies. Grossman has also served as a presidential appointee to the National Council on the Arts and the United States Holocaust Memorial Council, and as Vice Chair of the Massachusetts Cultural Council.

MASSCreative also selected new board leadership earlier this month. Immerman was elected board chair, replacing former chair Sara Stackhouse, founder of Stackhouse Creative and The Mama Project, who remains on the board as a member of the executive committee. Susan Chinsen, associate producer at ArtsEmerson and director of the Boston Asian American Film Festival, was elected Vice Chair of the board, and Justin Kang, vice president of economic growth for the Greater Boston Chamber of Commerce, was elected Clerk of the board. 

Last, three board members, Catherine Peterson, executive director of ArtsBoston, Jason Weeks, executive director of Cambridge Arts Council, and Vanessa Snow, a community organizer for SEIU Local 509, stepped off of the board. Both Peterson and Weeks had served as founding board members.

“We are incredibly excited to welcome Kara and Barbara to our board. Each has an impressive depth of knowledge not just of the arts but also its impact on communities and we welcome their leadership and expertise,” Immerman said. “We are deeply grateful to all of the work on MASSCreative’s behalf by Catherine, Jason, and Vanessa. The organization simply would not be as strong as it is today without their generous gifts of time and talent.” 


About MASSCreative

MASSCreative works with artists, cultural councils, arts organizations and the broader creative community to build a Commonwealth where arts and creativity are an expected, recognized, and valued part of everyday life. Working with our coalition of 400 arts and cultural organizations and artists from across the Commonwealth, MASSCreative uses public education and awareness, grassroots organizing, advocacy campaigns, and other civic and political engagement to ensure that arts, culture, and creativity are considered when important policy and political decisions get made at the state and local level.

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