United States Artists announces Judilee Reed as President and CEO
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United States Artists announces Judilee Reed as President and CEO
Judilee Reed, USA’s incoming President and CEO. Photo: Brian Lemond.

CHICAGO, IL.- Following an extensive national search, United States Artists’ Board of Trustees announced the appointment of Judilee Reed as its new President and CEO.

Reed currently serves as Program Director of Creative Communities for the William Penn Foundation. There, she oversees the Foundation's arts, culture, and great public spaces grantmaking portfolios in Philadelphia, PA, as well as the organization’s national initiatives.

“The opportunity to lead USA, particularly during this challenging moment for artists, is an honor,” said Reed. “I am thrilled to join an organization that supports artists through direct funding and considers not just the art that is created, but the artists themselves. As we consider the past, navigate the present, and dream of the future, artists across career stages will continue to play an essential role in their communities and beyond; I look forward to collaborating with the USA team to elevate these cultural practitioners and advance their creative pursuits.”

Previously, Reed led the Thriving Cultures Program at the New York-based Surdna Foundation, where she was responsible for spearheading national arts and culture grantmaking throughout rural, suburban, tribal, and urban communities across the country. Her work helped the organization implement new strategies for supporting racial and economic equity through arts and culture. She has also served as the Executive Director of Leveraging Investments in Creativity (LINC), where she worked to advance arts organizations and improve support systems for working artists in the United States, and early in her career, she held roles at New England Foundation for the Arts and Cambodian Artists Project.

Reed currently sits on the board of both Danspace Project (New York, NY) and Yerba Buena Center for the Arts (San Francisco, CA). She is a graduate of the University of New Hampshire and holds alumna status from the Harvard Business School.

Her appointment comes at an important moment in the evolution of United States Artists, which has expanded its flagship Fellowship program in recent years; the 2022 Fellows—the largest class in its history—will be announced on January 26, 2022. Reed will lead USA’s work to provide unrestricted support directly to artists through these core $50,000 Fellowships, as well as through other programs that include the Berresford Prize, Disability Futures, Knight Arts + Tech Fellowship, and The Rainin Fellowship.

“I first met Judilee in 2005, when she was running Leveraging Investments in Creativity and doing work in Alaska,” said Sonya Kelliher-Combs, a mixed-media artist based in Anchorage, AK, who received a USA Fellowship in 2018. “I am thrilled to welcome her to the USA family, as her commitment to artists working across art forms, aesthetics, and geographies has been unwavering. Quyanna, Judilee, for your dedication.” [“Quyanna” means “thank you” in Iñupiaq.]

“Judilee understands the lives of working artists as well as anyone in this country,” said Jawole Willa Jo Zollar, a choreographer based in Tallahassee, FL, who received a USA Fellowship in 2008. “We all are excited to have her back on the national stage, advocating for artists at every level of policy. A phenomenal woman to lead a phenomenal organization. Amazing!”

USA was a member of the coalition of organizations that created Artist Relief, an unprecedented effort to raise more than $25M to provide $5,000 relief payments to artists during the pandemic. Reed was hired to build upon this chapter of work, position USA as a key member of the national community of organizations that support individual artists, and guide USA through its ongoing growth and evolution. She will also oversee the development of new partnerships currently in the works, including one focused on craftspeople and one focused on Black MFA students.

“Over the years, Judilee has been an active proponent of direct funding to artists and has developed networks of supplemental support – from healthcare resources to financial planning tools,” said USA Board Chair Ed Henry, who led the search process. “Through her work in Philadelphia, she has developed strategies for creative placemaking with an eye towards racial equity. We could not be more thrilled to welcome her to USA, and we look forward to supporting her vision and work on behalf of artists.”

Reed will conclude her current commitments and transition into her new role over the next several months, beginning full-time on May 1, 2022. Jamie Bennett, who has been serving as Interim President and CEO, will continue with USA during this transition period.

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