Shey Rivera—the artistic director of Providence art center AS220 since she took over from c0-founder Umberto Crenca in 2015—will depart the organization at the end of this year, AS220 announced yesterday.
Managing Director Shauna Duffy, who has co-led the organization with Rivera during this time, will be promoted to executive director, “a newly-established position that will take on the leadership and strategy of AS220,” the organization reported.
“As someone born and raised in Rhode Island, AS220 has been part of my life for over 20 years,” Duffy said in a prepared statement. “I first got involved with AS220 as a teenager going to shows, started volunteering while in college, and eventually became treasurer of the board. It was an honor to succeed Bert and co-lead AS220 with Shey, and I am excited to be named as AS220’s first-ever executive director. Each step I take, personally and professionally, is made with the desire to serve Providence’s arts community.”
Part of how AS220 has expressed the centrality of artists to its organization since it was founded as a cooperative space above the Providence Performing Arts Center (PPAC) at 220 Weybosset St. in 1985 has been to have the artistic director at the head of the organization. Crenca, a towering and unique figure in the organization and the city, occupied this role for much of AS220’s life. AS220 has always been a big group effort, but Crenca has often been a living embodiment of the organization as it was molded by the force of his personality. It’s an impossible job to fill. The ongoing evolution of AS220’s leadership structure reflects the organization working out how to continue on as its founders step back.
Communications Director David Dvorchak writes: “With Shey leaving, the board looked at our organizational structure and felt that having the one executive director position offers more clarity about who is ultimately running AS220, responsible for making decisions, accountable to the board, etc., although AS220 will continue to value collective input and feedback from staff, residents, members and the community at large.”
A three-person executive leadership team comprised of current AS220 staff is expected to back up Duffy. Anjel Newmann has been promoted to director of programs. Marina Balko has been promoted to director of operations. And Ruth Harvey has been promoted to director of development.
Rivera, a native of Puerto Rico who has worked with AS220 since 2010, plans to “focus on their artistic practice, to travel to Puerto Rico more freely to see their parents and family, and to continue doing intentional work with communities of color and celebrate queer identities.”
Duffy, a musician and licensed certified public accountant, has a bachelor’s degree in music and history from Brown University and an master of business administration degree in global business leadership with a concentration in accounting from Johnson & Wales University. In 2008, she became treasurer for AS220’s board of directors beginning. She also worked as an audit manager reviewing nonprofits for the accounting firm Kahn, Litwin, Renza & Co., Ltd. in Providence. She’s also currently the treasurer of the board of directors of Dirt Palace Public Projects.
Pictured at top: Shauna Duffy (left) and Shey Rivera at AS220’s Foo Fest, 2018. (Photo: James Lastowski)
Help Wonderland keep producing our great coverage of local arts, cultures and activisms (and our great festivals) by contributing to Wonderland on Patreon. And sign up for our free, weekly newsletter so that you don’t miss any of our reporting.