Linda Sullivan to Retire as President & CEO
Fairfax, VA (November 2, 2023) – On Thursday, October 26, more than 350 community members, including elected officials, business leaders, patrons, and arts professionals, gathered at Capital One Hall for the 2023 ArtsFairfax Awards. The annual luncheon raised more than $175,000 in support of the nonprofit’s services to arts and culture organizations, artists, and programs throughout Fairfax.
ArtsFairfax Board Chair Scott Cryer opened the event commenting, “I feel incredibly fortunate to be raising my family in Fairfax County where we have access to wonderful arts opportunities presented by our honorees and the many arts organizations here today. I am delighted to be a part of the ArtsFairfax team, working to raise the visibility of the arts in Fairfax.”
Chairman Jeffrey McKay of the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors shared, “We often talk about how the arts help economic and community development, education, and quality of life. This year’s honorees epitomize the benefits of the arts throughout our lives. The arts are not just ‘nice to have’ – they are essential to human development, happiness, and enriched communications with one another.”
Photos of the 2023 ArtsFairfax Awards: © A.E. Landes Photography
Visit the ArtsFairfax YouTube channel for all four 2023 ArtsFairfax Awards honoree videos and a Fairfax County Television segment on the event: https://www.youtube.com/@artsfairfax
The awards ceremony also included a standing ovation for Linda Sullivan, who announced her retirement as ArtsFairfax President & CEO after 14 years in the executive role.
“I am very proud of my tenure at ArtsFairfax over the last 14 years. It has been a privilege to work with all the elected officials, community leaders, board members, and staff members as we met our strategic goals and grew both the organization and the strength of its services. Serving and supporting the arts in Fairfax County has been a labor of love and joy,” said Sullivan, who first joined the organization as a consultant in 2009 and was officially appointed President & CEO in early 2010. She will remain with the organization through the end of the calendar year.
To recognize Sullivan’s career achievements, Cryer was joined on stage by past ArtsFairfax Board Chairs Shelly Hazel and John Mason. Together, they recognized Sullivan’s successes, including her restructuring and rebranding the nonprofit as a service organization that doubled its budget and public funding for arts grants to nearly $800K annually; receiving national recognition as a recipient of five competitive grants from the National Endowment for the Arts; expanding services to artists and arts organizations through growth in grants, promotion, and educational programs; developing new civic engagement opportunities, including the Capital One Hall Community Arts Partnership; and playing a key role in the completion of the County Master Arts Plan for Facilities and the continued development of a County Public Art Master Plan.
Says Cryer, “ArtsFairfax is a different and stronger organization than when Linda arrived. She has transformed the small nonprofit into the professional, service-driven civic agency we are today. We wish Linda well in retirement and know she will be a patron of the arts in Fairfax County for years to come.”
Sullivan also established the ArtsFairfax Awards in 2012 as an annual celebration of the arts in Fairfax and the event has since become one of the County’s outstanding civic events to bring arts leaders, patrons, and elected officials together.
About the 2023 ArtsFairfax Awards
Emceed by Peggy Fox, the 2023 ArtsFairfax Awards recognized the Workhouse Arts Center with the Jinx Hazel Award, Lola Reinsch with the Philanthropy Award, Inova Schar Cancer Institute in partnership with Smith Center for Healing and the Arts with the Impact Award, and The Osher Lifelong Learning Institute at George Mason University with the Education Award.
ArtsFairfax awardees were celebrated with videos produced by Fairfax County Television (Channel 16) and received letters of recognition from Senator Mark Warner and Congressman Gerald Connolly as well as original sculptures by local artist Jean Sausele-Knodt.
Live performances included a medley of songs from the Workhouse Arts Center production of The Who’s Tommy by Julianna Cooper, Merissa Anne Driscoll, Jackie Madejski, Pat Mahoney, and Robbie Taylor, and a violin performance of the Guatemalan song “Luna de Xelaju” by Anthony Hyatt, one of Inova Schar Cancer Institute’s founding Artists-in-Residence.
About Linda Sullivan
Linda serves as President & CEO, reporting to and working with the Board of Directors to meet the organization’s mission, goals, and objectives. By rebranding the organization, expanding the nonprofit’s services, and expanding constituencies to reflect the rapidly growing County, Ms. Sullivan successfully raised the profile of ArtsFairfax to increase government and private support and expand reach throughout Fairfax.
In addition to her leadership at ArtsFairfax, Ms. Sullivan served on the Virginians for the Arts statewide advocacy organization, George Mason University School of the Visual and Performing Arts Advisory Committee, and various advisory committees for arts facility developments. She taught fundraising for George Washington University’s Graduate Program in Museum Studies and served on various grant panels and Standards of Excellence reviews.
Prior to coming to ArtsFairfax, Ms. Sullivan served the greater Washington area as a consultant specializing in interim directorships, strategic planning, fundraising, capital project development, and all aspects of arts management. As a consultant from 2001 to 2010, she worked with over two dozen arts organizations of all disciplines. Prior to this, she provided executive leadership for museums and multi-disciplinary arts centers.
ArtsFairfax is the nonprofit designated as Fairfax County’s local arts agency. Dedicated to the belief that arts are essential to a thriving community, the ArtsFairfax mission is to expand support for and access to arts and culture opportunities for the more than 1.2 million residents across Fairfax County, the City of Fairfax, and the City of Falls Church. By offering informational, financial, and programmatic services, ArtsFairfax promotes the role of arts and culture to deepen social engagement, create a sense of place, and fuel economic growth. Incorporated as a 501(c)(3) since 1964, ArtsFairfax provides these services to all who contribute to and experience arts in Fairfax County, and is funded in part by the County, Virginia Commission for the Arts, and the National Endowment for the Arts, as well as corporations, foundations, and individuals.
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