Featherstone Center for the Arts announced Monday that Francine Kelly had resigned after eight years at the helm of the nonprofit. Ann Smith, Ms. Kelly’s daughter and assistant, was named the new executive director.
The announcement came as something of a surprise. In recent interviews and public statements Ms. Kelly and board members provided no public hint of a change in leadership. Ms. Kelly wanted to retire from a leadership position, according to a press statement, but would continue to be actively involved with Featherstone.
Ms. Smith said she would work to expand the offerings of the arts center located off Barnes Road in Oak Bluffs. “Francine made a promise to make the arts alive at Featherstone,” she said. “I will strive not only to do so but also to enhance further the broad scope of activities it offers and enlarge its ever-growing participants and supporters.”
According to the press release, Ms. Kelly will help to facilitate the change in leadership and spearhead special events and programs to celebrate Featherstone’s 15th anniversary.
“We’ll have some surprise events to honor our founders and prepare Featherstone for an exciting future,” Ms. Kelly said. “It has been my privilege to lead Featherstone to an increasingly important and visible role in the Island’s arts community.”
As assistant to the executive director for the past three years, Ms. Smith was responsible for administrative, gallery, and educational support.
She holds a bachelor’s degree in art history and economics from the University of Michigan (Class of 1989). She worked for IBM before switching her career direction to education and the nonprofit sector.
An interview with Ms. Smith will appear in next week’s Martha’s Vineyard Times.