It was a year ago last week that Suzanne Fiol, the Brooklyn arts fixture that founded the experimental performance space Issue Project Room and helped it grow from its humble beginnings in the East Village to its incipient residency in an enormous arts center at 110 Livingston Street, passed away. Since then, the space has been without a permanent leader. Finally, that’s changed. The venue announced today that they’ve selected a new Executive Director, Ed Patuto. If that name doesn’t ring a bell, it’s because Patuto is a West Coast guy. According to the press release:
Patuto has 20 years of experience fundraising and working in arts organizations on the West Coast. He recently served as the Co-Founder/Director of VOLUME, a CA-based curatorial catalyst for interdisciplinary new media work concentrating on the nexus of music and visual arts practices ranging from the experimental to popular culture. Additional positions have included: Director of Development for both the Museum of Contemporary Art Los Angeles and the Montalvo Arts Center; Vice President of Institutional Advancement for both the San Francisco Art Institute and Saybrook University; and Producer/Curator of several exhibitions, performance series and events including VOLUME’s Restless Brilliance at the Armand Hammer Museum Los Angeles, Electronic Cinema Southern Exposure, San Francisco, Scores Lawrimore Project Seattle, Resonant Forms Festival, Los Angeles, and rE/visioning the Collection at de Young Museum, San Francisco to name a few. Patuto has a solid link to the New York area – alumnus of State University of New York and Ailey School of American Dance and used to live in Brooklyn, just three blocks from ISSUE.
It appears that what they need him to do right now is raise money. Issue Project is in the midst of a $2.5 million capital campaign to properly make the Livingston space a reality; they’ve already raised $1.128 million, largely from the city, but that leaves a bunch of money yet to go. Which is where Patutu comes in. “Patuto’s background as both an artist and an arts administrator, the depth of his curatorial experience, his years of successful capital project management, and his passion for our mission made him the outstanding candidate to lead ISSUE,” says Issue Board Chair Steve Wax. “Ed is one of the few leaders who can focus us, the staff and board – on our new theater’s renovation and continued fundraising – as well as maintain the development of our programming.”
One thing Issue hasn’t struggled with in the post-Fiol era is their programming, which has stayed savvy and relevant. Hopefully Patuto won’t toy too much with it. According to him: “I plan to continue ISSUE’s strong tradition of supporting local artists and at the same time see ISSUE as an incubator for creating new collaborations and dialogue between experimental artists here and out West, as well as internationally.” Perhaps that means like 10 percent less Alan Licht? If so, we can live with that. Stop by this week and wish Patuto luck in person–Issue, true to form, is gleefully counterprogramming against CMJ practically all week.