(TRENTON, NJ) -- Lauren Otis will be stepping down from his role as Executive Director of Artworks, Trenton’s visual arts center. The Board of Trustees of Artworks announced that it is initiating a search for Mr. Otis’ replacement. Mr. Otis will continue to lead Artworks until his replacement is hired. Artworks, a non-profit with over 55 years of history in the greater Trenton area, has become one of Trenton’s most visible arts organizations with programming and events that have elevated the profile of arts and culture as one of the Capital City’s most valuable assets, and harnessed them as a potent force for community wellbeing and revitalization within city neighborhoods.
“Artworks, like many urban organizations and communities, has faced huge challenges in recent years. We have met those challenges and overcome them, laying a foundation for ourselves and our diverse Trenton community to prosper,” said Mr. Otis. “I’m proud of what Artworks has been able to accomplish under my tenure, but it’s now time for us to transition to new leadership and move the organization to even greater levels of effectiveness and community engagement,” he said. “I intend to work with my successor and the Artworks Board of Trustees on ensuring the transition is a smooth one and Artworks is well prepared for the next great chapter in our history,” he said.
“We are sorry to see Lauren go, but looking forward to the process of identifying a capable and passionate leader to take his place and build on his successes,” said Artworks Board Chair Barry Zhang.
Mr. Otis has been Executive Director of Artworks since February 2016, and was interim Executive Director prior to his appointment as Executive Director. He served on the Board of Trustees of Artworks from 2009 to 2014, and was Board Chair in 2010/2011. An artist and longtime supporter of Artworks, he was selected to be Executive Director following a national search.
The Board of Trustees will be commencing the selection process for a successor to Mr. Otis with a widely based search for skilled non-profit arts administrators with an interest in urban arts and Artworks’ ongoing programming, including Art All Night, Art All Day, public art projects, exhibitions and educational offerings. Individuals interested in more information or applying are urged to apply online or email EDsearch2021@artworkstrenton.org. The Board intends to actively seek applications from candidates for the Executive Director position until the position is filled. The Board anticipates announcing a successor to Mr. Otis in late 2021.
Artworks is based at 19 Everett Alley in downtown Trenton, NJ, in a repurposed late-19th century warehouse owned by the City of Trenton. Major funding for Artworks is provided in part by the Geraldine R. Dodge Foundation, the New Jersey State Council on the Arts, the Bunbury Fund at the Princeton Area Community Foundation, Bloomberg Philanthropies, and the National Endowment for the Arts.
In addition to annually hosting the Art All Night and Art All Day events, Artworks presents an impressive schedule of exhibitions, art education programs and public art projects. Recent public arts projects include restoration of Nam Jun Paik’s public art installation PBS (1963-2000) in downtown Trenton, an outdoor mural project at the New Jersey Governor’s mansion, Drumthwacket, murals created for the Rider University Center for Diversity and Inclusion in Lawrenceville, and a Black Lives Matter mural series created by Artworks in partnership with the I Am Trenton Community Foundation.
Artworks, was incorporated in 1964 as the Princeton Arts Association and moved from Princeton to Trenton in 1988. It is a dedicated regional visual arts center, committed to being a catalyst for positive community interaction. Art All Night, a twenty-four hour visual and performing arts festival, has become the premier public visual arts event in the region. Artworks' exhibitions, education programs, and public art programs (which, annually, include Art All Night, Art All Day and Art Making Day), provide a community-building bridge between the city and its surrounding suburbs. These programs offer creative, enriching opportunities for city residents and others who are attracted into the city for diverse and uniformly positive arts opportunities.
In response to the COVID-19 pandemic Artworks proactively developed alternative programs, including web-based arts education programs, virtual art exhibits and live on-line events, including Art All Night 2020 and 2021, which attracted a worldwide audience of thousands. With all it does, Artworks believes that art can be transformational to communities, and that continued access to the cultural exchange and creative possibilities offered by Artworks are critical to the Greater Trenton and Mercer County community.