ASCA Director Shannon Daut Leaving Post on May 2nd; Visual & Literary Arts Program Manager, Andrea Noble-Pelant Named Acting Executive Director

Contributed by Benjamin Brown

Shannon Daut, Executive Director of the Alaska State Council on the Arts (ASCA), has accepted and will soon begin a new position leading the Cultural Affairs Division for the City of Santa Monica, California. Her last day at ASCA is May 2, 2016. Daut moved from Denver, Colorado, in January of 2012 to begin her term as Executive Director of ASCA. Prior to moving to Alaska, she served as Deputy Director of the Western States Arts Federation (WESTAF), a regional arts organization serving the 13 western state arts agencies.

Daut also serves on the board of the National Performance Network and in her capacity as a State Arts Agency director, served on the boards of the Association of Performing Arts Presenters and WESTAF. In her new position, Daut will oversee 24 employees and a $5.4 million budget, managing a wide array of arts and culture programs in the City of Santa Monica.

“Shannon Daut was a simply outstanding Executive Director for the Alaska State Council on the Arts,” said Benjamin Brown of Juneau, ASCA Chair. “Shannon started with great experience four years ago, and since then she has excelled at learning about and from our artistic and cultural communities, reaching out across the Great Land to bring Alaskans together.” Brown added, “When we brought Shannon to Alaska, I noted her enthusiasm and intelligence. She has done a superb job helping revitalize our state arts agency, significantly increasing levels of non-governmental financial resources and involving an ever more diverse array of Alaskans in shaping our state’s arts and cultural policy.”

Reflecting on her time leading the agency, Shannon reflects that,“Our work has repositioned the role of the arts and culture in advancing Alaska into the future. I am proud of the many partnerships we have strengthened and forged anew, from building on our relationship with the Rasmussen Foundation to establishing new partnerships with the CIRI Foundation, the Alaska Travel Industry Association, and a variety of economic development agencies. These partnerships helped to expand and highlight the role of the arts and artists in building our creative economy.” Daut added, “Our new mission and strategic plan ( present a bold vision of the significant role that the arts can play in fostering a more vibrant Alaska for all. We have also worked assiduously to ensure that artists’ work is valued and respected as part of our Alaskan quality of life and economy.”

ASCA’s Visual & Literary Arts Program Director Andrea Noble, Pelant will serve as Acting Director while ASCA undertakes a recruitment process to find the next Executive Director. Andrea has worked at ASCA since 2006, where she oversees the State of Alaska’s Art in Public Places Program and Percent for Art Collection and the State Writer Laureate program, as well as managing a portfolio of ASCA grant programs. Andrea holds an honors BFA in Art & French from the University of Western Ontario (London, Canada) and a B.Ed. in Art Education from the University of British Columbia (Vancouver, BC). She has lived in Alaska since 1998 and was a secondary art educator with the Anchorage School District and then curator of art education at the Anchorage Museum of History & Art before joining ASCA.

Shannon notes that, “Andrea will be a terrific Acting Director, keeping the important work of ASCA moving forward. Her strong leadership, coupled with the exemplary work of our other program officers, Saunders McNeill and Laura Forbes, and the rest of our excellent staff, leaves me confident that ASCA will continue to advance in its work to serve Alaskan citizens and communities through the arts.”

More information about the search for a new ASCA Executive Director will be forthcoming.
The Alaska State Council on the Arts (ASCA) is a division of the Alaska Department of Education and Early Development, and is governed by eleven council members appointed by the Governor. ASCA is supported with general funds appropriated by the Alaska State Legislature and the National Endowment for the Arts, with additional support from Rasmussen Foundation and the Margaret A. Cargill Foundation. The mission of the Alaska State Council on the Arts is to represent, support and advance the creative endeavors of individuals, organizations and agencies throughout Alaska.