Nick Stuccio to Depart FringeArts After 27 Years Of Groundbreaking Leadership

FringeArts will hold a nationwide search to identify its next leader over the next several months.

By: Sep. 29, 2023

Nick Stuccio to Depart FringeArts After 27 Years Of Groundbreaking Leadership

FringeArts announced today that, after 27 years of leadership, President and Producing Director Nick Stuccio will depart from the organization on April 1, 2024. Stuccio turned his groundbreaking vision into reality by founding FringeArts, initially launched in 1997 as Philadelphia Fringe Festival. With relentless commitment to creativity, bold ideas, and transformative change, he has succeeded in establishing FringeArts as Philadelphia's epicenter for contemporary performance. Stuccio will be working as a consultant in arts and culture for clients in Philadelphia and around the country. He is also planning real estate projects in the non-for-profit space.

"I'm humbled and honored to have had the chance to serve the Philadelphia arts community for the past 27 years, and I am truly excited to pass the torch to the next generation of creative leaders," said Stuccio. "FringeArts has an incredible staff and board, robust community partnerships, and unparalleled artistic vision that will carry on the organization's mission to present world-class, boundary-defying art that expands imagination and reshapes expectations. I am confident that this team will lead FringeArts to new and exciting opportunities that will ensure that the organization maintains its place as the region's quintessential hub for contemporary art."

"Nick has been a transformative leader, not only of FringeArts, but of the Philadelphia arts community during his tenure," noted Mark Dichter, Chair of FringeArts' Board of Directors. "Over his storied 27-year career at FringeArts, Nick was an immeasurable value as a community builder by curating experiences that invited dialogue and transcended conventional norms. He and his team put Philadelphia on the map as a world-class destination for adventurous, contemporary performing arts. We fully support Nick in his future endeavors and are extremely proud and grateful for his long-term commitment to the mission of FringeArts."

Under his leadership, Stuccio served as the organization's visionary founder, redefining the alignment between culture and community. He introduced avant-garde performances to the heart of Philadelphia underpinned by belief that art, in its most untamed forms, has power to engage, challenge, and transform society. Stuccio conceptualized and launched the city's annual Fringe Festival, a 4-week celebration that fills Philadelphia's neighborhoods with 1000+ bespoke and independently produced performances and attracts up to 35,000 festival attendees, $500,000 in ticket sales, 300+ unique presentations, and 2000+ performances annually.

A staunch and deep supporter of local art and artists, Stuccio supported the work of countless Philadelphia based performers and ensembles, including Brian Sanders' JUNK, BalletX, Team Sunshine, Lighting Rod Special, Nichole Canuso Dance Company, The Bearded Ladies Cabaret, Opera Philadelphia, Gunnar Montana, and HeadLong Dance Theater, among many others.

He also traveled to over 25 countries as the chief curator of the festival, producing and importing over 50 international performing arts presentations, working with acclaimed artists such as Romeo Castellucci, Anne Teresa de Keersmaeker, Heiner Goebbels, Trajal Harrell, Kyle Abraham, Geoff Sobelle, Faustin Linyekula, and Lucinda Childs. He also championed large-scale site-specific works and collaborative endeavors, featuring organizations like The Pig Iron Theater Company, Nature Theater of Oklahoma, Rimini Protokoll, Elevator Repair Service, The Wooster Group, and notable productions like Sun & Sea by Lina Lapelytė.

Stuccio identified the current FringeArts building site and led the transformation of the historic pumping station into a multi-faceted arts center, featuring an adaptable theater space for 300 guests, along with a full-service restaurant, bar, beer garden, and a newly launched outdoor pizza restaurant, blurring the lines between culinary, social, and artistic experiences while also serving as profit-generating entities. The dedicated space also provided FringeArts an opportunity for deeper community engagement and year-round programming including Blue Heaven Comedy Festival, Hand to Hand Circus Festival, and late-night events.

He leaves the organization in a healthy state: the 2023 Fringe Festival ticket sales were up sharply, with a 22% jump in total sales from 2022. Additionally, during his tenure, Stuccio raised $11M in capital funds, $25M in private, institutional, and individual philanthropy; and led the effort to secure $1M in operating funds and over $1M from ticket sales, sponsorships, and restaurant revenue annually. He also led the team that produces FEASTIVAL, an annual fundraising event netting $2M+ in its history and recognized as region's #1 chef and culinary event.

FringeArts will hold a nationwide search to identify its next leader over the next several months.

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