Suzanne Fetscher is a visionary not-for-profit Executive Director and strategic consultant with more than 25 years of experience in creating innovative and relevant partnerships between artist-in-residency programs and communities. An artist herself, Suzanne aligns her creativity, curiosity, and entrepreneurial spirit to support artists in their ability to succeed and grow audience connections that are meaningful for all involved. A pioneer
in her field, she positions art as a catalyst for economic, community, and social capital development. Suzanne currently applies her expertise as a consultant, offering guidance to not-for-profit organizations and artist-in-residency programs on audience engagement efforts and artist selection.
In 2017, Suzanne retired from her 20-year career at McColl Center in Charlotte, North Carolina, after building its artist-in-residency program from the ground up into a community treasure that served more than 400 artists from around the world. Within 18 months of joining the Center, she hired a high-performing team who helped her design a public program, curate the first year of exhibits, select the first year’s cohort of artists-in-residence, and outfit the entire center to meet their needs. She then established an innovative strategy to leverage the Center’s urban environment to create one of the leading socially engaged artist residency programs in the United States.
Suzanne developed a strong culture of collaboration at McColl Center and partnered with more than seventy-five organizations in Charlotte to increase audience engagement. She established an environmental artist-in-residence program with installations around the community, receiving a prestigious ArtPlace America grant to develop an Art+Ecology campus. McColl is one of only two organizations in the U.S. ever to receive two such grants, both under Suzanne’s stewardship. She also partnered with Atrium Health Care System to annually engage artists-in-residence who worked with patients and healthcare providers on collaborative projects.
In 2005, Suzanne secured nearly $2 million in grant funding for the development and growth of the groundbreaking, artist-led creativity training program, Innovation Institute, which helped more than 4,000 executives infuse more creativity into their work. Suzanne recently launched a new version of the program alongside former colleagues to continue this work. She has also co-led arts administration courses internationally, most recently in 2015 for high-potential museum leaders in Qatar.
Prior to her engagement at McColl Center, Suzanne was Executive Director of Atlantic Center for the Arts in New Smyrna Beach, Florida, after previously serving as Assistant Program Director and Program Director. During this time, she gained deep insight from the center’s highly progressive community engagement strategy that helped her build the foundation for her later successes.
Suzanne is currently a Board member of North Carolina Arts Foundation. She is a former board member of multiple not-for-profit organizations supporting vibrant artist communities, Suzanne is valued for her ability to create achievable visions and establish the right organization and partnerships to execute them. She served three terms as Chair of the Board of Directors of the Alliance of Artists’ Communities and was a member of the International Advisory Board of Akiyoshidai International Art Village in Japan. Additionally, she served on the Advisory Board and as Treasurer of Res Artis in Amsterdam.
Suzanne received a B.F.A. from the University of Central Florida and a M.F.A from the University of Florida. She spent several post-graduate years teaching design and drawing as an adjunct and full-time visiting instructor at the University of Central Florida and Stetson University.