Jeff Arnal appointed Executive Director of Black Mountain College Museum + Arts Center

Photo by Kristofer Thompson


Jeff Arnal has been appointed Executive Director of Black Mountain College Museum + Arts Center (BMCM+AC) it was announced today by BMCM+AC Co-Chairs Brian Butler, PhD, and Don Carson effective August 1, 2016. In his position at BMCM + AC, he will be responsible for providing strategic and operational leadership for the institution that has just completed a three-year expansion in downtown Asheville’s vibrant cultural district to further broaden its programming and resources. Arnal succeeds Katherine de Vos Devine, who is completing her doctoral thesis in Art History from Duke University.

Arnal—who has been active in the arts and nonprofit worlds for two decades—moved to Asheville from Philadelphia in 2015, and co-founded Free Range Asheville, a platform for performance, research, and discourse for artists to collaborate and experiment. From 2012‒15, he was a Senior Specialist for The Pew Center for Arts & Heritage, a subsidiary of The Pew Charitable Trusts in Philadelphia. In addition to his work as a grant-maker at Pew, he spearheaded a number of initiatives that provided artists and organizations with capacity building support including symposia on Sound Art, Experiments in Notation, New Spaces/New Formats, and Listening Sessions. Previously, he worked as a consultant with the performance venue National Sawdust in Brooklyn, NY, and organized music, dance, and new-media events in New York City. In 2001, he co-founded Improvised and Otherwise, an interdisciplinary festival in Brooklyn that served as a critical venue for experimentation for hundreds of emerging artists.

Arnal studied at The Peabody Institute, Baltimore, MD, holds a BA in Interdisciplinary Studies: Music Composition and Filmmaking from the University of Maryland, and an MFA in Music from Bennington College.

Butler said, “We are thrilled to welcome Jeff to BMCM+AC at this auspicious time in its history, just one month after the opening our new gallery space and inaugural exhibition Randy Shull/Wide Open: Architecture and Design at Black Mountain College Museum + Arts Center. Our facility is now a truly flexible and generous space for exhibitions, public programs, and study of Black Mountain College’s singular legacy that continues to resonate powerfully today here and internationally. Having worked in the arts and nonprofit sector for the past two decades, first as a composer and percussionist, and later as a curator, writer, administrator, and producer, Jeff is uniquely suited to lead BMCM+AC. We look forward to working with him to sustain the College’s tradition of exploring historic paths and forging new ones.”

Arnal said, “It is an honor and privilege to have the extraordinary opportunity to promote and preserve the legacy of Black Mountain College; a legacy that continues to reverberate throughout the arts and cultural community today. From the beginning, Black Mountain College famously embraced dialogue, experimentation, and hard work in an open and inclusive community. I am eager to continue to turn over the many historic elements of BMC and examine how these threads are connected to the field. Working with my new colleagues and the dynamic Asheville arts community, I look forward to creating programs—from intimate experiences to celebratory events—that offer a variety of entry points to engage with and interpret content that mirrors the evolving conditions of contemporary arts and culture. These will be designed to be conceptually strong and imaginative, offering local relevance alongside international significance.”

Arnal was selected by a BMCM+AC Board committee following a national search.

About Alli Marshall
Alli Marshall is the arts section editor at Mountain Xpress. She's lived in Asheville for more than 20 years and loves live music, visual art, fiction and friendly dogs. Alli is the winner of the 2016 Thomas Wolfe Fiction Prize and the author of the novel "How to Talk to Rockstars," published by Logosophia Books. Follow me @alli_marshall

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One thought on “Jeff Arnal appointed Executive Director of Black Mountain College Museum + Arts Center

  1. Antonio Artusi

    He’s gonna find it very different asking for money instead of giving it out from the Pew Trust. Lots of hands out here in AVL, for the arts and other things. Parks, greenway, indoor swimming pool, French Broad River, etc. Better cozy up to the tourism board right away!

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