We write to you today to share important news from the MAP Fund. After 20 years with the MAP community, Moira Brennan, our Executive Director, will be stepping down at the end of 2022. MAP has hired Fisher Associates to assist in the process of finding the next leader of our organization. David Blasher, who has served as a consulting operations manager for the SPA program, will serve as Interim Executive Director.
When Moira began her tenure at MAP, the Fund was in the nascent stages of finding its voice and direction as a force in arts philanthropy. It was a novel idea that performing artists who didn’t adhere to traditionally accepted and therefore abundantly supported, Western-centric practices, deserved both attention and significant investment from the philanthropic community. But Alberta Arthurs and Suzanne Sato, the visionary strategists who declared MAP could and would be different, knew that such an investment could be life-changing for these artists, their practices, and for the greater cultural community.
When Joan Shigekawa, Ruby Lerner, and Philip Horvitz welcomed Moira as a program associate to MAP in 2002, the program was nestled within the Rockefeller Foundation and administered by Creative Capital. “I was immediately intrigued by the questions that lie at the intersection of creative freedom, power, and money in America,” Moira has said of what attracted her to the role at MAP. “I wanted to engage the ‘problem’ of how to redistribute resources with the goal of cultural progress, justice and equity. There are a lot of assumptions embedded in systems of meritocracy, and we often fail to see the profound harm that artists can experience when trying to work within that system. Those questions have driven my thinking always at MAP and will continue to compel me.”
Over the years with Moira serving at both the heart and the helm, MAP has become an organization to fully stand on its own principles, championing artists of color, and advancing cultural, capital, and creative equity within both the philanthropic sector and the greater cultural community. It is under Moira’s leadership that we have grown in ways that we only imagined were possible and that we have been able to infuse resources throughout the country’s cultural ecosystem, shifting the landscape in a fairer, inclusive, and just direction.
“For two decades, Moira has consistently championed the voices of under-resourced communities, of artists who push back on oppressive systems, of artists that explore the edges of artistic practice in doing so,” Reuben Roqueñi, our board president said of Moira’s leadership. “With utmost respect and gratitude, we honor Moira’s leadership, not only at MAP, but in the significant impact she has had on the field.”
As we usher in this new opportunity to imagine what MAP might become, we thank Moira for her unwavering commitment to shepherding our community to what she, our founders, our staff, funding partners and members of our community like you who have supported us over the years knew we could be. MAP has never wavered in its mission to elevate the work of performing artists working in non-Western practices, particularly artist of color, and as Moira has said, the growing MAP community continues to enliven that mission beyond her wildest dreams.
Thank you, as always, for your continued support.
The MAP Fund Team