News / Press Releases

Artist Trust Executive Director Announces Move to The Seattle Foundation

For Immediate Release:

Artist Trust Executive Director Fidelma McGinn announced today her resignation to assume the position of Vice President of Philanthropic Services at The Seattle Foundation. She will remain at Artist Trust through mid-January 2012 to support its search for a new executive director.

“The six years I have spent at the helm of Artist Trust provided me with some of the most fulfilling experiences of my career,” said Fidelma McGinn. “The mission of the organization is near and dear to me, and I will remain engaged as a supporter and member. I have the utmost confidence in the capabilities of the board and staff to continue Artist Trust’s legacy as a creative catalyst for artists throughout Washington State.”

Under McGinn’s leadership, Artist Trust deepened its relationships with arts supporters and engaged new funders. She maintained a balanced annual budget of more than $1 million over six successive years, leaving the organization in a strong financial position despite industry-wide effects of the recession.

“We congratulate The Seattle Foundation in gaining an effective, inspiring leader in philanthropy,” said Susan Wagner, Artist Trust board president. “Fidelma brought energy, vision and a collaborative spirit to Artist Trust during her six years here, and we are grateful for all of her contributions. As we prepare for our 25th anniversary in 2012, she has positioned us well to celebrate this milestone and the next chapter of Artist Trust’s success.”

With more than $600 million in assets, The Seattle Foundation’s mission is to create a healthy community through engaged philanthropy, community knowledge and leadership. In McGinn’s new role, she will oversee the philanthropic support provided to the more than 700 families who partner with The Seattle Foundation to make their charitable giving more impactful and rewarding.

During McGinn’s tenure at Artist Trust, with support from community members and foundations such as the Washington Women’s Foundation, the amount of grant monies awarded to artists through the Grants for Artist Projects (GAP) and Fellowship programs increased, and two new awards were added. In 2009, through a bequest from artist Su Job and in partnership with 4Culture, the Conductive Garboil Grant was created. In 2010, Artist Trust introduced the Arts Innovator Award, supported by the Dale and Leslie Chihuly Foundation.

McGinn also led an expansion of professional development services for artists of all disciplines, offered through the Artist Trust Creative Career Center with funding provided by Leveraging Investments in Creativity (LINC), the Emily Hall Tremaine Foundation, the Paul G. Allen Family Foundation and the M.J. Murdock Charitable Trust. In 2009, Artist Trust was honored with the Seattle Mayor’s Arts Award.

McGinn championed the case for artists to be recognized for their vital role in the community through collaborative initiatives such as the Washington Artist Health Insurance Program (WAHIP). She introduced programs for underserved artists, including the Native Creative Development Program in collaboration with the Longhouse Cultural Center and forged new partnerships to develop artist residency programs in Port Townsend, on Camano Island, in the Methow Valley, and in Ireland.

In addition to her role at Artist Trust, McGinn has been a strong advocate for artists as a board member of the Washington State Arts Alliance and as a commissioner on the Seattle Arts Commission.

“Fidelma’s leadership has had a tremendous, positive impact on Artist Trust, and on the lives of countless working artists in our region,” said Carla Lewis, President of Washington Women’s Foundation. “We wish her the best in her new role, and we maintain every confidence in Artist Trust’s successful model of supporting and encouraging artists in the pursuit of their craft.”

Artist Trust has invested over $9 million dollars in Washington State artists since its founding in 1987. In 2011 alone, Artist Trust awarded a grand total of $284,000 to 85 artists through its five grant programs. In addition to grant making, Artist Trust provides a comprehensive suite of career training, professional development resources and counseling to help artists achieve their career goals.

About Artist Trust
Artist Trust is a nonprofit organization whose sole mission is to support and encourage individual artists working in all disciplines in order to enrich community life throughout Washington State. Since its founding in 1986, Artist Trust has invested over $10 million in individual artists through grant programs, and provides a comprehensive suite of professional development training and resources to help artists achieve their career goals. Learn more at