The Chesapeake Arts Center (CAC) board of directors has appointed Donna Anderson as executive director. Anderson succeeds Belinda Fraley Huesman, who will step aside to transition to other entrepreneurial ventures and will serve as CAC’s part-time strategic initiatives advisor through June 2020.
Anderson brings more than 25 years of experience in nonprofit management, most recently a 15-year tenure at Maryland Hall for the Creative Arts, where she served as vice president of marketing and development. After leaving Maryland Hall in fall 2018, she opened Anderson Creative Solutions LLC, a consulting firm providing fundraising planning, grant writing, and marketing services to area nonprofit organizations. She has served as a consultant to CAC under the organization’s Bloomberg Philanthropies grant since February 2019.
“CAC has been my passion for many years,” Huesman said. “I served on the board beginning in 2008 and became executive director in 2012, and in that time, the staff, board, and I have built CAC’s programs and reputation so that we’re now recognized as a major stakeholder in this community. I’m grateful to the board for allowing me to have a say in my successor, and I know Donna’s experience in the arts and her work with CAC for the past year make her the ideal person to be the next executive director.”
Lyndsey Beidle Meninger, CAC’s board president, complimented Huesman for her years of service.
“Belinda’s passion has driven the organization to new levels, including expansion of programs and education activities, establishing a MakerSpace, and external maintenance to give CAC a presence in the community,” Meninger said. “We wish Belinda the best in her new endeavors. We are also thankful for Belinda leading us to Donna Anderson. Donna’s experience and knowledge will help CAC continue to grow by providing arts and education programs to the community. We look forward to working with Donna on CAC’s future, including celebrating our 20th year in 2021.”
As CAC’s executive director, Anderson will manage day-to-day operations including oversight of a 14-person staff that delivers varied performing, visual arts, and education programs to North County residents and other audiences.
At Maryland Hall, Anderson was responsible for generating more than $1 million in revenue and oversaw the development, marketing, box office, volunteer and special event functions. In addition to managing the rebranding of Maryland Hall through a new logo and tag line, she directed the organization’s website redesign and transition to new customer management software. Prior to Maryland Hall, she held management positions in Washington, D.C., at Goodwill Industries, the National Building Museum, and American University.
“I’m honored to be chosen as CAC’s next leader and to build on the great accomplishments Belinda, the board and staff have achieved during the past few years,” Anderson said. “I look forward to helping to further grow CAC’s brand and programs in our region and to connecting new audiences to the great creative programs CAC offers our community.”
During her tenure at CAC, Huesman rebranded CAC with a new logo and direction, becoming more diverse and inclusive of the community it serves. She increased the operating budget to more than $1.5 million, launched new outreach after-school programs for the community’s underserved students, expanded the theater’s rental programs and spearheaded several facility improvements. Since 2012, CAC has received over $1.5 million of operational and programmatic funding.