Bottinelli to lead National Folk Festival group

The National Council for the Traditional Arts Board of Directors has announced that Lora Bottinelli has been selected as the organization’s new Executive Director.

The National Council for the Traditional Arts Board of Directors — the national group behind the National Folk Festival that was just held in Salisbury — has announced that Lora Bottinelli has been selected as the organization’s new Executive Director.

Bottinelli is an experienced arts leader, administrator, fundraiser and folklorist who comes to the NCTA following a 16-year career at the Ward Museum of Wildfowl Art, where she has served as Executive Director since 2006.

Subsequent to Julia Olin’s decision, announced last fall, to step down as NCTA executive director, the board of directors conducted a national search for her successor.

“Lora Bottinelli,” said George Holt, NCTA Chairman of the Board, “has the qualifications, credentials, character and commitment to succeed as the next executive director of the NCTA.”

When she joins the NCTA on Oct. 22, Bottinelli will become only the fifth person to direct the organization since its founding in 1933.

“I am excited to build upon the tradition of excellence at the NCTA, and to enable it to reach new heights in the coming years,” said Bottinelli.

Olin, who joined the NCTA in 1990 and has been its director since 2004, will continue to be actively engaged with the organization as Artistic Director and Director of Special Projects & Initiatives. She will support and facilitate the leadership transition.

Bottinelli joined the Ward Museum after receiving her Master of Arts in American Studies from the University of Wyoming. As folklorist there, Bottinelli established the Lower Shore Traditions Folklife Program, co-directed the American Folklife Center Field School in Crisfield, supported the 2004 Smithsonian Folklife Festival Mid Atlantic Water Ways program, and designed the Pass It On: Cultural Traditions of the Eastern Shore K-12 Curriculum and Activity Guide.

As director, she led the organization through first-time accreditation with the American Alliance of Museums, dramatically expanded education programs and attendance, and recently executed a successful multimillion-dollar capital campaign and construction project to expand the facility.

Bottinelli served two terms on the Maryland State Arts Council in leadership roles including the Executive Committee and Treasurer, and partnered in developing Imagine Maryland: A Renewed Strategic Plan for the Arts 2014-2019.

As chair of the Advocacy Committee, she worked in coordination with the Maryland Citizens for the Arts to secure the Special Fund for Preservation of Cultural Arts. She served on the MSAC’s Diversity Committee, working to engage people of diverse backgrounds throughout the state.

A common thread in Bottinelli’s success has been the building of partnerships at the local, regional, state and national levels. She played a key role in creating the coalition that culminated in the city of Salisbury’s successful application to host the 2018-2020 National Folk Festivals.

She served as a member of the Festival’s leadership group during its critical first year, and led the Ward team that curated the special Maryland Traditions Folklife Area program, Chesapeake Traditions, for the 78th National Folk Festival.

“The NCTA’s work and priorities are translatable to so many of the desires of individuals, foundations and corporations that are seeking authentic and lasting relationships with communities and cultures that enhance the quality of life of people, both at a local and national level,” Bottinelli stated. “Our challenge is to identify untapped reserves of support that can underwrite the NCTA’s mission and broaden the support for traditional arts.”

“We are truly fortunate to have someone with Lora’s ability, energy and experience committed to securing the future of the NCTA and the interests of the traditional arts community,” said Holt.

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