Piscuskas steps down from Waterfall Arts

Jan 04, 2019
Photo by: Kyle Dubay/courtesy Maine Arts Commission Waterfall Arts’ outgoing Executive Director Martha Piscuskas, right, and Director of Programming & Outreach Meg Fournier converse at the 2018 Maine International Conference on the Arts.

Belfast — With a mixture of loss and deep appreciation, the Waterfall Arts Board of Directors on Jan. 4 announced the departure of Executive Director Martha Piscuskas. She had informed the board that she needed to step down from her position for personal reasons, effective in February.

A co-founder of Waterfall Arts and an unerring advocate for the organization, Piscuskas has been with Waterfall Arts since its inception, serving on the board as program committee chair for the organization’s first five years. For more than eight years, she served as the co-director and director of programming, leading the organization to diversify and expand its offerings, staffing and audience.

Piscuskas was appointed Executive Director in July 2018, as part of a major reorganization that the Board of Directors had implemented in May. She was tasked with running the organization while transitioning Waterfall Arts to the new organizational structure. Thanks to her efforts, this transition is now complete, and Waterfall Arts is well positioned to continue building on its strengths as the area’s most comprehensive community arts center and a leader in the Maine arts community.

“Waterfall has been a wonderful part of my life and identity for the past 20 years. I raised my kids in and around both the Montville and the Belfast sites, and made lots of art here myself,” Piscuskas said. “I helped start Waterfall Arts because I wanted a local source for art instruction and community, and I got that back in spades.”

She expressed faith that the arts center’s dedicated staff will carry on “the excellent programming and transformative user experience this community has come to expect.” As a donor to the Waterfall Rising Campaign, she said she is confident that Alan Crichton and the whole Waterfall team will meet the goal of creating “a wonderful, energy efficient and accessible space for all that art making to come. I encourage everyone to be a part of it!”

Both board and staff have expressed their great appreciation for Piscuskas’ tenure with the organization. Gianne Conard, president of the Board of Directors, announced the departure, saying "She has been a great colleague and friend, and I thank her deeply for all the years, energy, and dedication she has given Waterfall Arts."

With Alan and Lorna Crichton, Piscuskas helped found the original Waterfall Arts in the Kingdom neighborhood of Montville, with its streams, ponds and several waterfalls. Founding Director Alan Crichton said Piscuskas has been both a close friend and a respected colleague, and that he has been enriched by her understanding of both art and nonprofit organizations and her strong leadership of Waterfall Arts.

“We truly would not be where we are today without her knowledge, skill and care,” he said.

Over the next few months, the Board of Directors will conduct a search to find the new Waterfall Arts Executive Director. During this transition period, their priority is to maintain a stable and effective organization while seeking the best individual to lead a phenomenal team that includes: Director of Programming Meg Fournier; Director of Operations Julia Raite; Youth & Family Outreach Coordinator Bridget Matros; Facilities Manage, Mike Fletcher; Facilities Assistant Jeff Densmore; and newly hired Marketing Manager Michele Christle, along with numerous committees comprising devoted board members and community volunteers.

A job announcement is online at waterfallarts.org, and review of applications will begin Jan. 31. There will be a public celebration of Piscuskas’ time with Waterfall Arts Friday, Jan. 25, from 5 to 7 p.m. during the opening reception for “IN HOUSE," the annual show of work by Waterfall Arts staff,  teachers, volunteers and artists with studios in the building.

Courier Publications’ A&E Editor Dagney C. Ernest can be reached at (207) 594-4401, ext. 115; or dernest@courierpublicationsllc.com.

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