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Arts & Science Council names new vice president of public art

Constance White was named the Arts & Science Council’s vice president of public art, replacing Nicole Bartlett, who left in June to dedicate more time to her family.

White, who lives in San Diego, will start on Sept. 2. She spent eight years as the art program manager at the San Diego County Regional Airport Authority, where she’s managed 20 public art projects. Before that, she was an arts administrator for the Percent for Public Art program at the Office of Cultural Affairs in Dallas for nine years.

But White is ready for a change.

“One of the things that intrigued her about joining us was the move beyond a single site – in an airport. But to be very engaged in how public art builds community, which is a major goal of ours,” said ASC president Robert Bush.

As vice president of public art, White will lead Mecklenburg County’s public art program. In 1993, ASC took responsibility for the program after an ordinance was adopted that provided up to 1 percent of construction costs for public art. Since then, 69 public art projects have been completed, with nearly half of the projects led by North Carolina artists. Eight others are underway, including five neighborhood-based projects intended to bring art to areas that have none.

ASC’s search firm, Charlotte-based Levridge Resources, identified about 70 candidates nationally for the position. Bush said White’s experience makes her the best person to lead the growing program.

“She’s seen as a leader in the field,” Bush said.

White plans to move to Charlotte in August. Before she starts, she will meet with people involved in the public art program and research about it. The program is much more complex than what she is used to in San Diego, she said.

“Priorities for the civic investment have not been in public art – it’s been in tourism,” White said. “Public art opportunities in Charlotte have a larger scope of impact on a macro and micro sense.”

Public art is the only thing White says she knows how to do. She hasn’t had a job outside of the field. While in San Diego, she expanded the airport authority’s exhibition opportunities and oversaw public art projects there, including nine contemporary works. .

“(Public art) has an opportunity to be transformative in a way that can be exciting,” White said.

Bush said he’s excited to see how the program grows under her leadership.

“We feel that Constance is the perfect leader at this time to take our program to the next level,” Bush said. “We’re excited for her to join us later this summer.”

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