CAMDEN, NJ — Camden FireWorks, an arts organization located in a refurbished waterfront south firehouse, has appointed a new executive director.
Asiyah Kurtz, a Haddon Heights councilwoman originally from Memphis, Tennessee, is taking over for Cassie MacDonald – who stepped down officially Jan. 15.
“I think we were very luck to find the perfect fit for this job. Ms. Kurtz’s experience in fundraising, administrative non-profits and her orientation toward social justice and sustainability are all incredible assets for Camden FireWorks,” MacDonald told TAPinto Camden on Friday.
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MacDonald admitted that she was initially nervous about leaving the role she held since 2010 – six years before the event space and studio even opened.
But Kurtz’s appointment and everything planned for 2021 have enthused her for what’s to come.
“I devoted so much of my energy toward something for so long I wanted to see it entrusted in the right hands…I’m very secure in the decision the board made,” added MacDonald. “It’s a very exciting time for Camden arts.”
In the announcement, the board thanked MacDonald, who they say left “for new professional pursuits.”
“The diversity of my experience encompasses not only non-profit development and fiscal management but also strategic planning and administrative operations,” Kurtz said. “As a self-taught quilter, I developed a passion for creative work that inspires, transforms, and changes us. It is my goal to continue building a solid foundation for the future of Camden FireWorks and the artistic community whom we support.”
MacDonald will continue with the organization in a programming role.
“Asiyah’s commitment to social justice and the arts really resonated with our board. Our hope is that Camden Fireworks will become an indispensable part of the lives of Camden’s artists and the community at large,” said board president Kimberly Camp. “With her arrival, we will be looking to expand our board to ensure that we have the resources and skills needed for that next phase of growth.”
Kurtz’ background includes administrative and fundraising experience with various organizations including St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital. As a councilwoman in Haddon Heights, she manages the budget for Departments of Administration and Parks and Recreation.
As executive director in Camden, she will oversee administration, fundraising, facility operations and programs of the organization. She will report to the Board of Directors, and be in charge of exhibitions, public and educational programs, and community outreach.
“In addition, she will take the lead in our various cultural partnerships including “A New View”, the million dollar, Bloomberg Philanthropies funded public art project with partners, Rutgers Camden Center for the Arts, Cooper’s Ferry Partnership, and the City of Camden,” Camden FireWorks said in a press release.
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