Minnesota Street Project announces arts leader, Madison Cario as CEO

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Minnesota Street Project announces arts leader, Madison Cario as CEO
Madison Cario, 2021. Photography by KB Dixon.

SAN FRANCISCO, CA.- Minnesota Street Project and the Minnesota Street Project Foundation are pleased to announce the appointment of Madison Cario as the organization’s Chief Executive Officer (CEO), a new position created to augment the contributions of the founders. Cario, a nationally recognized leader and catalyst for change in the creative, non-profit, and education sectors, will join the MSP team in December.

As CEO, Cario will explore new opportunities for collaboration and idea-sharing across disciplines and sectors, while continuing to develop MSP’s existing offerings and resources. Cario will work alongside Deborah and Andy Rappaport, the MSP and MSP Foundation founders, and both organizations’ staffs to strategically grow both the non-profit and for-profit arms of the Project in support of the tenant and visiting galleries, artists, programs, and initiatives. Cario’s appointment is the second major announcement from MSP and the Minnesota Street Project Foundation in a month. At the start of September, Minnesota Street Project Foundation shared the news of their underwriting of the ICA SF, opening in the summer of 2022 under the leadership of Alison Gass.

“The legacy of the arts in the Bay Area is as rich in history, diversity, and activism as the City itself,” notes Cario. “I am thrilled to return to San Francisco, the place where my early artistic expressions and activist roots were tapped, as the inaugural CEO of Minnesota Street Project. I am especially happy to join the organization at this particular moment, when access and equity are in such sharp focus. With eyes on the horizon and the management of day to day, I look forward to the opportunities to further our founder's vision of a 'dynamic, self-sustaining enterprise, which encourages heightened support for the arts' for the future of all Bay Area residents.”

Pairing entrepreneurial vision with non-profit practice, Cario’s twenty five-year career has focused on improving organizational equity and efficiency, both externally and internally, including most recently in Portland, OR. as the Executive Director for the Regional Arts & Culture Council (RACC). While at RACC, one of the nation’s larger multi-county non-profit arts service organizations, Cario addressed systemic inequities and created a unifying organization-wide vision centered on equity and access. Their work lead to a company-wide reorganization, the launch of an advocacy team, and shifts in grantmaking to enable more equitable distribution of resources. In 2020, they were instrumental in a state-wide collaboration with commercial and non-profit arts organizations in Oregon, garnering more than $50 million in CARES Act funding.

Prior to RACC, Cario was the inaugural Director for the Office of the Arts at Georgia Tech, where they led change and growth through the development of unique programs and experiences exploring the intersection of science, technology, engineering, and the arts. Driven by an intentional approach to equity, Cario’s work activated the midtown Atlanta campus with public art, engaged the campus and community with arts experiences, and produced collaborative work created by artists and Georgia Tech constituents.

In addition to their role at Georgia Tech, Cario served as the Director of Operations at the University of Pennsylvania for over a decade, during which time they worked with the Annenberg Center for the Performing Arts, as well as The Painted Bride Art Center, and other nationally recognized local venues to grow collaborative programs and present models to raise awareness and opportunities for local artists. At the beginning of their career, in early 2000, Cario spent five years in Oakland working with youth in environmental stewardship at the East Bay Conservation Corps, while also serving as a technical director and lighting designer for Bay Area dance and theater companies and venues.

“Madison’s knowledge, their visions, and their rich understanding of the local and national arts eco-systems – ranging from education and nonprofits, to performance arts and commercial enterprises – as well as their depth of professional experiences with effectively addressing systemic inequities, makes them the ideal person to lead the MSP community and MSP Foundation during this time of growth,” Deborah Rappaport, President, Minnesota Street Project Foundation.

A sought-after keynote speaker and panelist who leads transformative workshops on Equity, Diversity, Inclusion and Access around the U.S., Cario has been honored with the 2017 Creative Loafing People to Watch Award, Georgia Tech 2016 Staff Entrepreneurship Award, Faces of Inclusive Excellence Awards in 2017 and 2018, and the Georgia Tech 2015 Diversity Champion Award. They are a trans, queer, neuro-diverse artist, alchemist, and Marine Corps veteran.

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