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Karen Mittelman Appointed Arts Council Director

Karen Mittelman Appointed Arts Council Director

July 20, 2017

Karen S. Mittelman, Ph.D, has accepted the position of executive director. Mittelman is currently director of the Division of Public Programs at the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) in Washington, D.C. She brings to the Arts Council more than thirty years of experience in the public sector and the federal cultural arena. In addition to the NEH, Mittelman held a senior position at the National Museum of American Jewish History in Philadelphia and served as curator at the Smithsonian Institution in Washington.

“I’m honored and excited to join the Vermont Arts Council in its vital mission,” said Mittelman. “This is a challenging time for artists and cultural organizations, and it is also a time when the arts are essential to the life and strength of our communities. I look forward to working with my new colleagues and with our partners across the state to learn about, build on, and enhance Vermont’s deep commitment to the arts.”

Prior to selecting Mittelman, the Council conducted a comprehensive national search resulting in 70 applications, including many qualified candidates from Vermont and across the country. “We are thrilled that Karen Mittelman has accepted the executive director position,” said Bob Stannard, Arts Council chair. “In a time when federal arts funding is uncertain, it is vital to have an executive director who has significant experience in a national leadership role. Karen brings to this position the knowledge, expertise, and passion required to continue to advance arts and creativity in our state.”

Mittelman also has close ties to Vermont, having spent time in Bennington County throughout her life. “Since childhood, I’ve spent significant stretches of time kayaking on the Battenkill, skiing, walking, and exploring museums and historic sites,” said Mittelman. “Vermont is a place that I love and feel deeply connected to.”

Mittelman received a bachelor’s degree in American civilization and a doctorate in U.S. history from the University of Pennsylvania. She taught at the University of Pennsylvania and American University, and is a published author.


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Dee says:

Welcome, Ms. Mittleman!

We have quite the struggle ahead of us, and are in need of all you can muster - thank you for coming, and I'll avidly look forward to meeting you.

Dee/Creative Music Photography
Proud Grantee - Loyal VAC supporter, and Eternally-Struggling Artist!

alexis kyriak says:

having received a grant in 09, and being considered for one in this present period, and as a creative and artist living and working in Vermont for 26 years, your appointment is an answer to all of us in the arts. There is another aspect to my own place in Vermont arts, and that is my diagnosis as schizophrenic, 50 years ago.. The arts, through federal funding, (and it would not have been if it were not for the funding I received,) were pivotal in my recovery........and remain so. Community. The arts. and societal wellness, where every sector of the community is able to be nourished and expand, and reach their full potential. I am at present writing and speaking with Anne Donahue, who is an advocate for mental health in the State legislature, representative for my town, Northfield......I am eager, eager to witness to the arts and the power thereof. It is my life......and it has to be spread abroad.......

Jerry Goldberg says:

Welcome, Karen! All best wishes from the In-Sight Photography Project family in Brattleboro!

Dee Boyle-Clapp says:

We have had a long, cherished friendship with the Vermont Arts Council and its wonderful staff, and look forward to meeting you and working together to strengthen the arts and Vermont artists.

Dee Boyle-Clapp
Arts Extension Service
UMass Amherst

Sheila Childs says:


Gayle Ottmann says:

Welcome, Karen.

As a former Arts Council Trustee, I am more than pleased that you will be leading an organization that I have great respect for and know that you, the Board, staff, and fellow Vermonters will insure its sustainability and long range goals to inspire, preserve and enhance art in all it form for generations to come.

I hope I have the pleasure of meeting you in the near future.

Gayle Ottmann