The Maine Arts Commission has reorganized to provide Maine artists with greater access to agency resources and expertise while providing Maine people with greater access to art and arts education. This reorganization of the agency has led to the creation of the position of arts policy and program director, who will work with the cultural sector and to guide arts related programming within the agency.

Entirely federally funded, the position provides leadership, expertise and communication with the field. The director will offer advice on all matters including agency policy issues and visioning and also will oversee many agency programmatic areas including contemporary arts and community arts. Donna McNeil, MAC’s executive director, has transitioned from her previous post to take the inaugural leadership of this position.

Over the last few months, agency staff, the executive director and commission members have been able to take a fresh look at the agency’s structure and this position is the first step to move ahead with several significant changes to position the agency well for the future. The move is designed to build on the commission’s leadership role in the arts, help reinforce the recognized strengths of its dedicated staff and to create new alignments that will best position the agency to continue its vital role as a granting organization, a supporter of arts and education, a leader in both traditional and contemporary arts and, importantly, a leader in advocacy for the arts.

“Arts are such a vital piece of the Maine landscape and this is just one more way the Maine Arts Commission can fulfill our mission to our citizens to an even greater degree. This structure will allow us even greater access to all corners of our state and we are very excited to have Donna take on this role,” said John Rohman, MAC chairman.

McNeil has devoted a lifetime to the arts in both the for-profit and nonprofit sectors, holding directorial and curatorial positions in galleries, museums and the performing arts. Her experience of policy and practice are vital to the agency as it seeks to continue current initiatives and approaches while simultaneously re-envisioning best practices and applied programs of the future.

“I am delighted with the reorganization of the agency which allows me to build on my strengths, my deep and abiding love of the arts, my knowledge of and close working relationship with the field and my understanding of government policy and how that intersects with public funding for the arts,” McNeil said.

McNeil joined the Maine Arts Commission staff in 2003 as an associate overseeing the advancement of artists through advocacy, grants, professional development. She is currently the State Captain for the Americans for the Arts and serves on the National Assembly of State Arts Agencies Governance Committee. She sits on the board of the New England Foundation for the Arts, the Maine Film Commission, the Maine-Aomori Sister City Council and the leadership council for Mobilize Maine.

The Maine Arts Commission has been a driving force for the cultural sector in Maine and beyond for more than 50 years. In this time, the agency has championed many initiatives, always acted proactively and continually brought culture, the arts and arts education to the forefront of thinking for constituents and policy makers and for the benefit of all Maine citizens. With the transition of McNeil to arts policy and program director, the Maine Arts Commission is continuing its tradition of innovation and leadership in the arts.