One of the crown jewels of the county’s cultural framework, ArtsWestchester has long championed some of the region’s most innovative exhibitions and artists. Now, CEO Janet Langsam has a new right-hand man in George King, a former executive director of both The Georgia O’Keeffe Museum in Santa Fe, NM, and Westchester’s own Katonah Museum of Art, who has signed on as the organization’s new senior deputy director. We asked King how he arrived at his new position and just what lies in store for ArtsWestchester under his guidance.
How did you end up working at ArtsWestchester?
There was a deputy director here before me named Joann Mongelli. Once Joann left, people on ArtsWestchester’s board suggested that I might be interested in filling the position. After Janet and I started talking about how we could work together, what I might do here, and what projects she’s working on, she decided to offer me the position.
I’m just thrilled to be here working for Janet — to be part of this fast-moving train that she’s created. Obviously, it couldn’t be a better fit for me, and I’m so thrilled to be here.
What will your new role consist of?
It basically means helping Janet oversee all aspects here that have to do with fundraising, relationships with government officials around the county, and with the New York State Council for the Arts. I also help build and maintain relationships with individuals who support the organization and with all the foundations and corporations that support the arts in some way or another.
In addition, I help to manage the staff here, which includes curatorial staff, fundraising staff, educational staff, PR/marketing staff, IT staff, and other arms of the fundraising world.
What lies ahead for the organization under your guidance?
I do have some plans and some ideas, but I’m not the director, and I’m going to work with Janet on [any major changes]. However, people are realizing that the arts are extremely important to the development of young minds. You’ve heard of STEM, the educational initiative, we call it “STEAM” here, and it’s something that we really believe in and promote.
But more specifically, to your question, it’s to let people not forget about the impact of the arts — not just economically, but in everybody’s daily life. I think that in our fast-paced world, where technology has overtaken us, I’d like to bring notable artists, young and old, to the floor and make sure that they are heard and that they are recognized for their talent.