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Wharton Arts Announces Gina Caruso as New Executive Director

originally published: 11/13/2023

Wharton Arts Announces Gina Caruso as New Executive Director

(BERKELEY HEIGHTS, NJ) -- The Wharton Arts Board of Trustees has announced the appointment of Gina Caruso as its new Executive Director, effective November 13, 2023. Caruso was unanimously approved by Wharton Arts’ Board of Trustees following a four-month nationwide candidate search.

“We are excited to welcome Gina to the Wharton Arts family,” states Bob Hamburger, Wharton Arts President. “Her depth of non-profit experience and dedication to education and the arts make for an excellent fit, as Wharton Arts continues to grow and we execute our strategic plan. We are fortunate to have attracted a candidate with Gina’s strong accomplishments and capabilities.”

Caruso has a rich history of leadership in the realms of education, arts, and community building. As the former Head of the New Amsterdam School in New York City, she demonstrated her dedication to fostering an enriching, imaginative learning environment for children. She also served as the Executive Director and Deputy Director of the Creative Alliance, a prestigious contemporary arts organization in Baltimore, Maryland, where her visionary leadership spanned nearly a decade. During her tenure at the Creative Alliance, Caruso’s contributions earned recognition from State Senator Bill Ferguson, who in 2019, awarded the organization as the “best community organization in Maryland.” Notably, she spearheaded a successful capital campaign that culminated in the establishment of the Creativity Center, an innovative educational facility that caters to youth, families, and adults in Baltimore.

"I am excited to welcome Gina Caruso, our new Executive Director. I look forward to partnering with her to advance Wharton Arts' mission and vision," said Helen H. Cha-Pyo, Artistic Director. "Gina's extensive leadership experience and deep understanding of the realms of education, the arts, and community partnerships will help propel Wharton Arts to new heights, making performing arts education accessible and equitable to more individuals in our community."

Said Caruso, "In collaboration with the Board and Artistic Director, I'm excited to lead Wharton Arts into the next phase of growth, where we will continue to champion outstanding and inclusive musical performing arts opportunities for youth in New Jersey."



 
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Caruso’s diverse professional journey includes a five-year role as the Director of the Doris Duke Theater, a key component of the Honolulu Museum of Art, where her leadership yielded highly lauded film festivals and outstanding concert programs. Prior to that, she served as Manager of Public Programs at the Walters Art Museum, where she led family festivals, an award-winning film program, concerts, literary readings, and engaging art workshops for children.

Beyond her leadership roles, Caruso’s creative pursuits extend to her work as the Assistant Editor of Special Issues and Assistant Photography Editor of The Washington Post Magazine. She was also the founder and co-director of Synesthesia, a cohort of Baltimore-based poets and composers from the Peabody Institute of Music. Synesthesia’s innovative collaborations and interpretations of works of art resulted in captivating performances at the Walters Art Museum and the American Visionary Art Museum in Baltimore, Maryland.

Caruso holds an M.A. in English Literature from New York University and a B.A. from Bard College, where her creative writing earned her the prestigious Wilton Moore Lockwood prize.

Caruso, a New Jersey native, finds joy in supporting and empowering young musicians, actors, and artists. She is thrilled to serve as the Executive Director of Wharton Arts, where her journey of leadership and creativity will continue to inspire and shape the arts community.

Wharton Arts’ mission is to offer accessible, high quality performing arts education that sparks personal growth and builds inclusive communities.

Wharton Arts’ vision is for a transformative performing arts education in an inclusive community to be accessible for everyone.

Wharton Arts is New Jersey’s largest independent non-profit community performing arts education center serving nearly 2,000 students through a range of classes and ensembles. The 5 ensembles of the New Jersey Youth Chorus, an auditioned choral ensemble program for students in grades 3–12, encourage a love and appreciation of choral music while nurturing personal growth and creative development. The 15 ensembles of the New Jersey Youth Symphony, which serve over 500 students in grades 3–12 by audition, inspire young people to achieve musical excellence through high-level ensemble training and performance opportunities. Based in Paterson, the Paterson Music Project is an El Sistema-inspired program of Wharton Arts that uses music education as a vehicle for social action by empowering and inspiring young people to achieve their full potential through the community experience of ensemble learning and playing. From Pathways classes for young children to Lifelong Learning programs for adults, the Wharton Performing Arts School has a robust musical theater and drama program and offers both private and group classes for instruments and voice for all ages and all abilities. With the belief in the positive and unifying influence of music and that performing arts education should be accessible to all people regardless of their ability to pay, Wharton Arts offers need-based scholarships.



 
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Wharton Arts is located in Berkeley Heights, New Providence, and Paterson, NJ and reaches students from 12 counties. All of Wharton Arts’ extraordinary teaching artists, faculty members, and conductors hold degrees in their teaching specialty and have been vetted and trained to enable our students to achieve their personal best.


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