Gerd Wuestemann named president and CEO of Scottsdale Arts
May 29, 2018
Gerd Wuestemann is the new president and CEO of Scottsdale Arts after receiving a unanimous vote from the board due to his nearly 40 years of experience in the arts.
Scottsdale Arts oversees the Scottsdale Museum of Contemporary Arts, the Scottsdale Center for the Performing Arts, Scottsdale Public Art and Arts Education and Outreach programs. The nationally recognized non-profit works with an annual operating budget of $11.5 million.
Wuestemann stood out in part for his recent work in Louisiana, where he built an arts organization from the ground up. He also has a doctorate of musical arts from the University of Arizona, a masters of musical arts from the San Francisco Conservatory of Music and a masters from a music school in Frankfurt, Germany. Wuestemann succeeded Mike Miller as president and CEO when he officially took the job on March 19.
“Last year was the first year where I felt like I hit my ceiling in my last job,” Wuestemann says. “I’m someone who likes to change things and build things. I built a multidisciplinary organization in Louisiana, meaning that these individual pieces of visual arts, performing arts, public art and education came together there as well. When this came across my desk, I thought this might just be the perfect fit for me.”
Picking up a guitar at the age of five, Wuestemann was a prodigy performer before accidents left him unable to play. He has spent most of his adult life living in the U.S. and making differences in the arts community.
“Scottsdale has a very lustrous history as a leader in the arts, not only in the Valley and Arizona but nationally,” Wuestemann says. “I think we’ve lost our luster a little bit over the years. We haven’t self-invested enough. I think my organization has done great things, but we’ve also struggled with some leadership challenges. I hope that I can bring solid leadership back to the organization, open some pathways.”
Being “stewards of the cultural aspects” in the city is a job that Wuestemann says he takes seriously. He says the mission is to become the central hub for all things arts and culture in Scottsdale.
“We should support other arts organizations,” the art connoisseur says. “We should play a role in building partnerships across the community and really change the community for the better.”