Ellen McCulloch-Lovell has been appointed interim executive director of the Vermont Studio Center in Johnson.
McCulloch-Lovell will take the helm immediately, leading an international residency program for artists and writers while helping the board of trustees search for a permanent executive director.
Vermont Studio Center marks its 35th anniversary this year, providing opportunities for artists and writers to create and connect in an inclusive, international community.
After a two-year strategic planning process, the board and then-President Gary Clark agreed the time was right to reshape the studio center for the future.
In his new role as president emeritus, Clark will take a yearlong sabbatical, during which he will continue to work with new leadership to assure a sustainable future for the organization.
The board unanimously approved appointing McCulloch-Lovell to assess operations, and to manage, supervise and coordinate all departments while working with the board in searching for a permanent executive director.
“For nearly five decades, in various roles, Ellen McCulloch-Lovell has made significant contributions to the state of Vermont,” said Major Jackson, a studio center trustee, an internationally known poet and professor at University of Vermont. McCulloch-Lovell is also a published poet and a Vermont Studio Center alumna who “understands the arts as a vital element in a democratic society but also an important component of the state’s economy.”
McCulloch-Lovell said she looks forward to the work, “where I can contribute my skills, caring and energy to support the arts and artists — at a time when their imagination and insights are most needed.”
Most recently, McCulloch-Lovell was Rock Point legacy minister, working with the Episcopal Diocese of Vermont to enhance and conserve its 130 acres on Lake Champlain.
From 2004 to 2015, she was the eighth president of Marlboro College, and the first woman to hold the post; she increased the college’s endowment by 50 percent and introduced new programs that strengthened its mission.
McCulloch-Lovell has also been the Vermont Arts Council executive director, U.S. Sen. Patrick Leahy’s chief of staff in Washington, D.C., for 10 years; and executive director of the President’s Committee on the Arts and the Humanities, a presidential advisory commission. In 1997, she joined First Lady Hillary Rodham Clinton’s staff, first as deputy chief of staff, then as director of the White House Millennium Council, where she and Mrs. Clinton created Save America’s Treasures, a major national preservation program.
After the White House, McCulloch-Lovell joined the American Folklife Center at the Library of Congress, where she founded the Veterans History Project, which collects the firsthand accounts of those who served in wartime.
McCulloch-Lovell is on the boards of Vermont Public Radio, the Windham Foundation, Friends of Writers, and the Episcopal Diocese of Vermont, and she consults for several nonprofit organizations. Her first book of poems, “Gone,” was published by Janus Press in 2010.
In its first 35 years, Vermont Studio Center has hosted more than 20,000 artists and writers from every state in the U.S. and more than 50 nations. Information: vermontstudiocenter.org.