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Arts Fort Worth Announces New Executive Director and President

12 May 2023 9:55 PM | Stacy Hollingsworth (Administrator)

Arts Fort Worth announces Wesley Gentle, CFRE has been appointed its next Executive Director & President.

“Over the past ten months, we have had the opportunity to see all of the leadership qualities, as well as the passion and dedication to the organization, that we believe to be necessary to successfully lead Arts Fort Worth into the future,” said Carter Shackelford, Chair of the Arts Fort Worth Board. “Initially, Arts Fort Worth engaged an independent executive search firm to help determine who should replace Karen Wiley by providing the Board a list of qualified candidates to interview for the role. However, after viewing the high level of work that Wesley has delivered since taking on the interim role, we no longer believe that an external candidate would add a greater value to the organization than what we have already seen from him.”

Wesley Gentle joined the staff of Arts Fort Worth in 2018, bringing with him prior experience fundraising for the Fort Worth Symphony Orchestra and Fort Worth Opera, in addition to his career as a performing artist.

As Interim Managing Director, Mr. Gentle implemented a new strategic plan, oversaw the organization’s finances and operations, strengthened partnerships, and led fundraising. As executive director and president, Mr. Gentle will continue the work of navigating the unique challenge surrounding the Fort Worth Community Arts Center. For twenty years, the Arts Center’s expansive galleries, unique theater amenities, and multiple office and classroom have served the arts community and beyond. The building, which is owned by the City of Fort Worth and managed by Arts Fort Worth, requires an estimated $26 million in improvements, and Fort Worth City Council has appointed a task force to recommend future uses for the property.

Arts Fort Worth offers consulting and managerial services and provides arts education, research, and advocacy programs to Fort Worth-area residents. In partnership with the City and other organizations, Arts Fort Worth’s competitive grants program supports arts nonprofits of every size to foster a culture of creativity and innovation throughout the city. Additionally, Arts Fort Worth partners with the City of Fort Worth to administer the Fort Worth Public Art program- bringing Fort Worth residents together to commission works of art that represent their communities’ stories. incubate numerous arts programs and empower the careers of thousands of individual artists and performers.

“When everyone in Fort Worth has the resources, opportunities and empowerment to share their stories through art, and when everyone here can see part of their own story reflected in the art around them, then Arts Fort Worth has succeeded in our mission. Fort Worth is a big city. We’ve got some work to do. But our organization has a long history of changing our city for the better, and I know this community is filled with amazing people who are ready to partner with us to see that vision through.”

Mr. Gentle also serves as president of the board for the Association of Fundraising Professional Fort Worth Metro Chapter, as a board member of Texans for the Arts, and as an active member of the Rotary Club of Fort Worth.

Arts Fort Worth is excited to celebrate its 60th anniversary in 2023 under new leadership with Wesley Gentle, which will continue to move the organization toward an inclusive, expansive, and sustainable future.

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