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JACK Founder Alec Duffy Announces His Transition From Leadership

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Under his guidance, JACK has become known for its commitment to connecting art and community, and for serving as a launchpad for many early-career artists.

JACK Founder Alec Duffy Announces His Transition From Leadership

JACK Founder/Co-Director Alec Duffy will transition out of leadership in July 2022, a fulfillment of his original intention upon founding JACK in 2012 to lead the space for only 10 years, to allow for the infusion of fresh energy and ideas.

Under his guidance, JACK has become known for its commitment to connecting art and community, and for serving as a launchpad for many early-career artists, including director Lileana Blain-Cruz, playwright Celine Song, director Charlotte Brathwaite, among others. Programmatic series such as Forward Ferguson and Reparations365 established JACK as a space unafraid of taking a stand on critical issues of the day. Furthermore, JACK's Co-Director model - introduced in 2016 - has served as an inspiration to other organizations seeking alternative leadership structures to increase equity.

Jordana De La Cruz, who joined Duffy as Co-Director in 2019, will remain in her role, working alongside a new Co-Director chosen by the Board and search committee through a selection process that will commence in January 2021. The search committee includes current Board members as well as community stakeholders, artists, and leaders from peer arts organizations. Duffy will overlap with the new Co-Director for several weeks in order to help transfer knowledge and relationships. The Board and staff at JACK feel confident that with this robust and inclusive process, an outstanding new Co-Director will be identified. Even as leadership evolves, JACK remains committed to its mission of fueling experiments in art and activism.

Upon reflecting on his time founding and helping lead JACK, Duffy shared, "My experience with JACK over the past 10 years has profoundly changed me - after so much time spent with extraordinary artists and neighbors, I think, act, and move differently. I have a tremendous amount of gratitude for everyone who has had a hand in making JACK what it is. My original intention in transitioning out of leadership after 10 years was for the strength of the organization - that after a decade, JACK would benefit from fresh energy and ideas, and new leadership would provide an opportunity for JACK's community to expand. I want JACK to thrive beyond me, and this move is a step towards that goal. The new Co-Director will have a brilliant partner in Jordana De La Cruz. I will remain on the Board of Directors, at least for the next few years, to serve as a resource, advocate, and a sounding board as needed. In the meantime, I intend to take a moment to reflect on potential next steps and new journeys."

Board Chair Lance Fensterman: "From my position, I've been able to witness closely Alec's unwavering focus on the pillars on which he founded JACK: art and activism. He has employed every method imaginable to support those priorities, without compromise. While JACK is intimately personal to Alec, it was never about him, and his commitment to transition from leadership - as he originally planned when founding JACK - is yet another example of his steadfast commitment to making a profound difference in our neighborhood, community, city and culture through art and activism. We will miss Alec, but the inspiration and vision he has imbued in JACK will always remain."

Co-Director Jordana De La Cruz: "Alec is more than an ally in the movement for art and activism, he is a leader who cleared space for expression and experimentation at a time when many theaters and art organizations were dying. Both thoughtful and patient in his vision, Alec never hesitated to invest in artists and neighbors. It didn't matter if you'd never attended a town hall or ever received a review in a major publication - you and your voice were worthy of being heard. He has made me a more empathetic leader and prepared me to thrive in this transition. Even in his exit he is mindful, providing us with an opportunity to examine the benefits of set term limits for arts leaders. Alec may be stepping down but the example he has set over the years will forever fuel JACK's commitment to performance and civic engagement."


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