Planning for the Future: ACOKC Executive Director Peter Dolese to Retire in 2022, Succession Planning is Underway


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Oklahoma City, OK – From the “all good things must come to an end” files, Arts Council OKC Executive Director Peter Dolese has announced that he will retire at the end of 2022, but will remain in a consulting role until mid-2023. While we’re sad to see him go and wish him the very best, we have no doubt that Peter will leave ACOKC in excellent hands.

In fact, that’s why his retirement is a multi-year process. Succession planning is one of the most important tasks the board of any nonprofit will undertake, and under the leadership of Brian Alford, ACOKC is taking a thoughtful approach.

“We appreciate Peter’s thoughtfulness in letting the organization know in advance of his desire to retire as the leader of the Arts Council,” Alford said. “We are grateful for his leadership through the years and admire his passion for the arts and how he and the staff channeled that passion to successfully navigate the pandemic. He will leave us with an amazing staff, a stable budget, a strong brand and a very bright future.”

The plan is for Peter to continue to lead ACOKC through 2022. He will then consult for part of 2023. During 2022, the search for the next executive director will happen, that person will be hired and will then enjoy the benefit of working with Peter for the first months of his or her tenure.

“The Arts Council began its strategic planning process in November, and I felt it was important for me to provide the board and staff with ample notice of my plans to ensure a smooth transition and maintain our momentum,” Dolese said. “Succession planning is vitally important to any organization, but it is especially important for non-profits like ours. We produce large-scale events throughout the year, as well as several ongoing community-based programs. To ensure the continued success of these programs, we must have ample time for leadership transition.”

After 13 years as executive director and some 40 years spent as a volunteer and staff member at ACOKC, Peter’s love of the arts and the thousands of volunteers who bring them to life in Oklahoma City has only grown. For him, regularly connecting people in the community with the arts, especially downtown, is a passion. He launched Art Moves in 2011 to showcase artists in downtown venues each weekday. Under his leadership, Festival of the Arts, which began in 1967, has grown exponentially, attracting more than 750,000 people each year to downtown.

“My focus will continue to be on the opportunities ahead to advance the arts in our community and further strengthen that foundation, which is the basis for our existence,” Dolese said. “I am so proud of our staff and our board — both are bound by a shared belief in the enriching qualities of the arts. In Oklahoma City, the arts are indeed alive and well, and we must continue to foster that creativity.”

For the Executive Director job description and information on applying, click here. 

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