Visual Arts

L-R: Eleanor Acquavella, Marlene McCarty, Suzanne McClelland, Alix Pearlstein, Paula Volent

New York, NY – [April 21, 2022] – Skowhegan School of Painting & Sculpture, one of the country’s foremost educational experiences for artists, is pleased to announce some significant changes to its Board of Governors and Board of Trustees.

Marlene McCartySuzanne McClelland, and Alix Pearlstein were appointed as Co-Chairs for the Board of Governors. They succeed Donald Moffett as Chair (2017-2021) who will remain a Skowhegan Governor. McCarty was a Resident Faculty in 2011 and joined the Board of Governors in 2012; McClelland was a Resident Faculty in 1999 and joined as Governor in 2000; and Pearlstein was a Resident Faculty in 2004 and joined as Governor in 2005.

At Skowhegan’s 75th Anniversary benefit dinner toasting Ann Gund’s exceptional service as Chair, Board of Trustees (1998-2022), Gund announced that she and Board President Alan Wanzenberg (2016-2022) will step down when their terms conclude at the end of the year. Both will remain Skowhegan Trustees. Their successors will be Eleanor Acquavella, who joined the Board in 2013 and was appointed Secretary in 2019, and will become the Chair of the Board of Trustees; and Paula Volent, who joined the Board in 2016, and will serve as President. Both will begin their terms in January 2023.

Skowhegan‘s unique governance structure consists of two Boards that work together to provide oversight, ensuring that the organization fulfills its mission and remains a powerful voice in the art community. The Board of Trustees have a fiduciary responsibility, while the Board of Governors, a group of artists of high professional standing, oversee the artistic program, including the selection of faculty and participants.

“Ann Gund’s dedication to Skowhegan during her time as Chair has been inspiring to me and my colleagues on the Board of Trustees and Governors.” says Eleanor Acquavella. “I am honored to assume the role, and particularly excited to work alongside Paula as President of the Board of Trustees, and Governor Co-Chairs Marlene, Alix, and Suzanne. Skowhegan has benefited greatly from the co-governance structure of our dual boards and, as a team, we will work together to ensure the future stability and advancement of one of the country’s most impactful arts organizations.”

Skowhegan‘s program is strengthened by the dedication of its leadership,” says co-director Sarah Workneh. “Marlene, Suzanne, Alix, Eleanor and Paula have strong ties to this community and will continue Skowhegan‘s mission to support diverse forms and philosophies of art-making for our incoming artists.” Co-director Katie Sonnenborn added: “Skowhegan‘s governance structure plays a critical role in the organization’s history and longevity. We are truly excited by this new leadership which carries forward the commitment and vision set forth by Ann Gund, Donald Moffett, and Alan Wanzenberg who did so much to further Skowhegan during their tenures.”

Eleanor Acquavella is a director and co-owner of Acquavella Galleries, which was founded by her grandfather in the early 1920s. Today, Eleanor runs the gallery with her father, William Acquavella; and her brothers, Nicholas and Alexander Acquavella. Specializing in the masters of the 19th and 20th centuries, Acquavella Galleries deals in Impressionist, Modern, and Contemporary art. For over ninety years, the gallery has sold major paintings and sculptures to private collectors and museums worldwide, in addition to presenting museum-quality exhibitions. With over twenty years experience, Eleanor has extensive knowledge of the international art market, and she helps to manage the gallery’s purchases, sales, consignments, exhibitions, and art fairs.

Marlene McCarty studied at the Allgemeine Kunstgewerbeschule Basel from 1978 to 1983. After moving to New York in 1983, she worked with Tibor Kalman at the well-known studio, M&Co. In 1988, with Donald Moffett they founded Bureau, a transdisciplinary design studio that produced art, film titles, political and commercial works. She is a member of the AIDS activist collective Gran Fury, which gained international recognition through public interventions and participated with some notoriety in the 1990 Venice Biennale. Her art practice is fueled by the familial, sociological and biological positioning of the female. Since the 1980s, McCarty’s work has consistently traversed a variety of mediums, from canvas paintings created by ironing to monumental drawings using everyday materials such as graphite or ballpoint pen.

In large-scale canvases as well as collaborative books and prints, Suzanne McClelland has opened new avenues for painting, exploring its visual, linguistic and acoustic dimensions in light of broader cultural and political concerns. McClelland privileges the act of listening and the value of the hand-drawn line—her work celebrates the physicality of speech and sound, and examines the evolution of meaning as it makes its way through the body and into space. McClelland parses such issues as the limitations and malleability of communication, the impact technology has on interpreting information, and the mechanics of translation. Her works are infused with social commentary, underscoring the way in which language itself is gendered and politicized by its context. She has been the recipient of numerous awards including the Guggenheim Fellowship and Anonymous Was A Woman. She is represented by Marianne Boesky Gallery in NYC.

Alix Pearlstein’s practice spans the fields of video, performance, installation, sculpture and collage. Across these forms, she describes a crucial and primarily visual arena in which competitions, seductions, vanities, and judgments are both the subject and the object of scrutiny. She often works with modular figurative objects, both handmade and readymade, as well as with ensemble groups of professional actors, mining their professional skills and personal dramas. Whether staging interactions between groups of people or things, her works explore human subjectivity through relationships, behavior, character, power dynamics and social constructs, to highlight moments where the psychological and spatial overlap.

Paula Volent is VP and Chief Investment Officer at The Rockefeller University, the world’s leading biomedical research university. Prior to joining The Rockefeller University in August 2021, Ms. Volent served as Chief Investment Officer and Senior Vice President at Bowdoin College, a private, residential college in Brunswick, Maine, where she was responsible for the oversight and management of the College’s endowment. Prior to joining Bowdoin in July 2000, Ms. Volent was a Senior Associate at the Yale Investments Office. Prior to her career in finance, Paula was a paper conservator working on a wide range of prints and drawings.

For full bios and images of the leadership, visit: BOARD LEADERSHIP PRESS KIT

Skowhegan School of Painting & Sculpture is one of the country’s foremost educational experiences for artists. Located on a 350-acre campus in Maine, the nine-week program provides 65 emerging artists and 11 faculty artists with a collaborative and rigorous environment that is shaped by risk-taking, mentorship, and peer-to-peer exchange. Skowhegan’s merit-based admissions process ensures that we accept the most promising and cutting-edge artists of any generation, regardless of financial, or educational backgrounds. Its exceptionally diverse population of artists go on to become leaders in the field, as evidenced by the global presence of the alumni and faculty and their countless exhibitions, teaching positions, and awards, including 24 MacArthur “genius” grants. Founded in 1946 by artists, for artists, Skowhegan provides an atmosphere that is intentionally responsive and adaptive in its programmatic model to encourage participants to occupy a space in contrast to market or academic expectations. For further information on Skowhegan, visit

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