The Nicolaysen Art Museum Board of Directors have announced that Casper native Allison Maluchnik has been appointed the new Executive Director of The Nic.

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The news came via a press release from The Nic's Board of Directors who wrote that Maluchnik will fill the role that was vacated by former Executive Director, Andy Couch.

"New leadership looks forward to new opportunities for 'The NIC,' the release stated. "Wyoming’s lone museum dedicated to contemporary art announced they have hired Casper native Allison Maluchnik to fill the role of Executive Director effective January 20th, 2023. The 25,000-square-foot museum and discovery center also announced that Andrew Schneider was elected today to chair the board of directors, succeeding Michael Bond, who was elected to the Casper City Council in November and will take up that post in January. Bond will remain on the NIC board of directors."

Nic staff, board members and stakeholders from both the museum and various contemporary arts communities recommended Maluchnik for the role, the release said.

"The Wyoming Arts Council would like to congratulate the NIC board for running a community-focused executive search to help advance the crucial mission of the NIC. Everyone on the staff and board at the arts council looks forward to working with Allison in her new capacity as Executive Director." said Wyoming Arts Council Executive Director, Michael Lange.

The panel agreed that Maluchnik brought a level of skill to the museum, based on her experience in both non-profit and public policy sectors, and on her administrative strengths.

The panel also noted Maluchnik's ties to Casper, as well as her prior experience as a board member for The Nic.

The release noted that Maluchnik wasn't originally offered the position after extensive interviews. Candidates from both Montana and California spoke in a candidate forum, meeting with over 40 museum donors, members and stakeholders, including local state legislators, county commissioners, city councilmembers and representatives from Wyoming State Parks & Cultural Resources, the Wyoming Arts Council, the Wyoming Cultural Trust Fund, and several other local arts and culture non-profits.

“While both candidates were wonderful and had friends and supporters in the community, the prevailing theme of feedback from our interview committee and candidate forum guests was skepticism that either was a fit with the needs of our museum and our community at this moment in time.” said NIC board member Andrew Schneider. “When Andy Couch resigned just short of two years on the job, I sought the counsel of many of Casper’s longtime cultural sector leaders. One confided in me that Casper has seen decades of what she called a ‘cycle of doom’ plaguing local arts organizations and the economy at large. While it is a funny turn of phrase, it speaks to a number of serious trends that community leaders and leaders of major arts organizations need to get a handle on if we are to move forward in more sustainable and collaborative ways.”

Schneider believed Maluchnik would be the perfect fit to remedy prior issues.

At first, Schneider approached Maluchnik about possibly taking a sabbatical from her job to lead a board-led interim period to evaluate the museum's strategic position and systems before hiring new leadership.

“While the idea of a board-led interim to help end ‘the cycle of doom’ was certainly compelling to me and had the support of the full board, it became clear that it would not be a fair and feasible option for Allison. Fortunately, Allison was interested enough in rolling up her sleeves and helping the museum that she would resign from the board and apply for the job outright.” said Schneider.

So, that's exactly what she did.

“Contemporary art museums are an exciting look into the world around us, and they inspire and house the expressions of our everyday life. We are so incredibly fortunate to have a place like the Nicolaysen Art Museum here in central Wyoming,” board member and past chair Marlene Ashbaugh said. “It’s not just a place of artifacts; it’s a place of ideas. We are excited to bring a new director into our fold that will bring our ideas to fruition.”

Maluchnik will officially start in her new role on January 20, 2023. The Nic will hold a reception on that day, at 5:30 p.m., to allow the community the opportunity to welcome her and celebrate the openings of several new exhibits.

Maluchnick will take the helm during significant changes around the Casper community," the release stated. "Cultural organizations like Art 321, the Wyoming Symphony and others have recently seen leaders depart while others are starting the new year welcoming new leaders. For example, Visit Casper has recently hired Tyler Daugherty as CEO."

ART 321 still has yet to name a new Executive Director, but when they do, it will signal even more that there is a changing of the guard.

“It sure feels like the winds of change are stirring up the potential for new opportunities, and I am thrilled to have been chosen to lead the Nicolaysen through this time,” said Maluchnik. “It was a difficult decision to leave my Senior Program Manager position at  Serve Wyoming as it has been an incredible experience supporting AmeriCorps programs throughout Wyoming. That being said, I love the Nicolaysen Art Museum. My family and I have made many happy memories at the museum throughout my life, which has helped shape me into the person I am today. I am excited to have the opportunity to continue working with the community to shape the Nicolaysen into the kind of cultural anchor that makes Casper a great place to live, work and play—through robust educational programming, dynamic events, and exhibits that invite everyone to have a personal experience with art.”

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