Waterfall Arts celebrates longtime leadership, launches search for new executive director

Posted:  Monday, January 7, 2019 - 1:45pm

BELFAST - On January 4, 2019, with a mixture of loss and deep appreciation, the Waterfall Arts Board of Directors announced the departure of Executive Director, Martha Piscuskas. Martha informed the Board that she needs to step down from her position for personal reasons, effective February 2019. A co-founder of Waterfall Arts and an unerring advocate for the organization, Martha has been with Waterfall Arts since its inception, serving on the Board as Program Committee Chair for the organization’s first five years.

For over eight years she served as the Co-Director and Director of Programming, leading the organization to diversify and expand its offerings, staffing, and audience. Martha was appointed Executive Director in July of 2018, as part of a major reorganization that the Board of Directors implemented in May 2018. 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 Midcoast Maine’s most comprehensive community arts center and a leader in the Maine arts community.

Martha shared, “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.  I helped start Waterfall Arts because I wanted a local source for art instruction and community, and I got that back in spades. Our dedicated staff will carry on the excellent programming and transformative user experience this community has come to expect.”  She added, “As a donor to the Waterfall Rising Campaign myself, I’m confident that Alan and the whole Waterfall team will meet the goal of creating a wonderful, energy efficient and accessible space for all that artmaking to come. I encourage everyone to be a part of it!”

The Board and staff have expressed their great appreciation for Martha’s tenure with the organization. Gianne Conard, President of the Board of Directors, announced Martha’s departure. "Through her work and her words, Martha has taught me the value of this incredible organization.  Her commitment to Waterfall - and the community - is profound; and her recent work with the Board, the staff, and the whole Waterfall Arts family will ensure that we have a bright future. 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, Martha helped to found the original Waterfall Arts in the Kingdom neighborhood of Montville, with its streams, ponds and several waterfalls. Founding Director Alan Crichton, currently the Chair of the Waterfall Rising Capital Campaign, said, "For over two decades, Martha has been both a close friend and a respected colleague. I've been enriched by her understanding of both art and non-profit organizations and her strong leadership of Waterfall Arts. We truly would not be where we are today without her knowledge, skill and care. I know that her dedication to the organization will continue through her ongoing participation in the Waterfall Rising Capital Campaign. Thank you, Martha! I look forward to working with you in the future.”

Over the next few months, the Board of Directors will be conducting 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. This team includes Director of Programming, Meg Fournier; Director of Operations, Julia Raite; Youth & Family Outreach Coordinator, Bridget Matros; Facilities Manager, Mike Fletcher; Facilities Assistant, Jeff Densmore; and newly hired Marketing Manager, Michele Christle; along with numerous committees comprised of devoted Board Members and community volunteers.

A job announcement is on the website, www.waterfallarts.org. Review of applications will begin January 31, 2019. There will be a public celebration of Martha’s time with Waterfall Arts from 5:00-7:00 PM on Friday, January 25, 2019, at the Opening Reception for IN HOUSE, the annual show of work by Waterfall Arts staff, teachers, volunteers, and artists with studios in the building.  

Launched in 2000, Waterfall Arts is a community arts center that offers resources to students, professionals, and arts enthusiasts of all ages. Opportunities include classes, exhibitions, art events, performances, open community studios (clay, print, and darkroom photography), public art projects, and more. For more information, visit waterfallarts.org or call (207) 338-2222.