‘Rusty’ Foley to retire as Arizona Citizens for the Arts Executive Director

Catherine Foley, better known among arts advocates and supporters statewide as Rusty, will retire as executive director of Arizona Citizens for the Arts in June.

A national search committee has been organized to identify candidates for the position.  Ms. Foley will remain with the organization through the transition period.

Rusty Foley

“Rusty Foley has left an indelible mark on Arizona’s arts and culture landscape, not just during her tenure with Arizona Citizens for the Arts, but during a long corporate career in which she served in leadership positions for many nonprofit organizations,” said AzCA Board President Michael Seiden.

“For Arizona Citizens for the Arts, her leadership, direction and advocacy, particularly in efforts to ensure state funding for the Arizona Commission on the Arts, have significantly impacted arts and culture organizations and those who love and support them statewide.”

Ms. Foley was named executive director in July 2011 after serving on the board of directors beginning in 2003 and as chair. As an arts advocate, she also has served as a board member of Arizona Theatre Company, Childsplay and the Phoenix Art Museum Corporate Council.

“Having previously enjoyed a rewarding career in the corporate world, it has been the honor of my life to lend whatever skills and talents I’ve learned to promoting the value of the arts,”Ms. Foley said. “While I don’t consider myself an artist, the arts were integral to my own education and have been a constant source of joy and enrichment in my life. I firmly believe our lives are happier and healthier and our communities are stronger because of the presence of the arts.”

Ms. Foley was the Phoenix Arts and Business Council’s 2007 Arts Board Member of the Year, received Phoenix Theatre’s “Women Who Care” award and was the Arizona Capitol Times 2012 Leader in Public Policy for Arts and Humanities.  Recently, she received the Raymond G. Van Diest Music Advocacy Award from the Arizona Music Educators Association.  She also is a member of the Americans for the Arts State Arts Advocacy Network and served two terms on the SAAN Council.

“On behalf of the Arizona Commission on the Arts, I heartily congratulate Rusty on her service at the helm of Arizona’s arts advocacy organization,” said Arizona Commission on the Arts Executive Director Jaime Dempsey.

“Utilizing skills sharpened in various service-centered careers, Rusty spent the last several years focused on fortifying our state’s arts and culture support network, strengthening relationships with statewide elected and community leaders. I have appreciated Rusty’s persistent call for Arizona’s business leaders to lend their influence to the cause of Arizona’s creative future, as well as her indefatigable support of women leaders in all sectors.”

Ms. Foley had an extensive career as a communications and public affairs professional and community leader, including 25 years with Salt River Project with responsibilities as a government affairs representative and later an executive manager in communications, community relations and corporate philanthropy.

She has served as chair of Valley Leadership, as a vice president of the Scottsdale Chamber of Commerce, chair of the Phoenix Historic Preservation Commission, chair of the Experience Matters consortium, and a board member of the Valley of the Sun United Way and various other civic and community service organizations.

Ms. Foley lives in Phoenix.

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