Artist Trust Announces Leadership Transition

The Artist Trust Board of Directors today announced the resignation of CEO Shannon Halberstadt, effective Aug. 31. Halberstadt leaves Artist Trust in strong financial health after six years of steady growth under her leadership, noting that it is the right time for her to step aside and create room for new voices and organizational strategies. Longtime development director Kristina Goetz will serve as acting director.

“I have a deep respect for the mission of Artist Trust,” Halberstadt said. “I am grateful for the opportunity to spend the past six years working with talented staff and board in support of Washington state artists and am inspired by the generous community support for Artist Trust. I look forward to seeing the organization grow and thrive in the future.”

Halberstadt’s accomplishments during her six-year tenure at Artist Trust were many. She executed a strategic plan focusing on racial equity and geographic reach, greatly expanding the organization’s work statewide, while also increasing the dollars given to artists through the organization’s grant programs.

In March 2020, she quickly pivoted the organization to focus on Washington state artists’ critical financial needs during the global COVID-19 pandemic, with $650,000 raised and distributed to nearly 400 artists statewide by the end of July.

Mark Olthoff, Artist Trust board president, recognized Halberstadt’s many accomplishments, saying, “We are grateful for Shannon’s strong commitment to and advocacy for Washington state artists, as well as her insights as a leader. She leaves us well-positioned to weather the COVID-19 crisis and maintain our services to artists. We look forward to building on her successes toward a bold future that further centers our equity and community work with artists.”

Olthoff said that the board will evaluate the current internal structure of Artist Trust, inviting artist and community participation in this process, with the goal of creating a stronger and more-inclusive organization before making any new hiring decisions. “This has been a year of learning and growth. Having two top positions at Artist Trust currently vacant creates flexibility for how we move forward with our staffing model. As we envision the future of Artist Trust, we are committed to deepening our work in partnership with artists and prioritizing an inclusive and equitable future,” Olthoff said.

The board’s executive committee will provide additional oversight while the staff continues advancing Artist Trust’s core mission of supporting Washington state artists’ work. “The Board is confident in Kristina and the staff,” Olthoff said. “They have demonstrated an extraordinary commitment to their work, and we are confident in their ability to manage current operations smoothly and responsively. We are dedicated to providing the team with the support needed during this transition period to ensure they continue doing the good work they’ve been doing for years.”

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About Artist Trust

Artist Trust is a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization whose mission is to support and encourage individual artists working in all disciplines to enrich community life throughout Washington state. Since its founding in 1986, Artist Trust has invested over $11 million in individual artists through its grant programs. The organization also provides a comprehensive suite of professional development training and resources to help artists achieve their career goals. As a fundraising organization, Artist Trust is grateful to the many donors and partners who make our support for Washington state artists possible. Learn more at artisttrust.org.