Oolite Arts' visionary leader Dennis Scholl to retire

The First Art Newspaper on the Net    Established in 1996 Thursday, May 30, 2024

Oolite Arts' visionary leader Dennis Scholl to retire
Dennis Scholl. Photo Credit: Mary Beth Koeth.

MIAMI, FL.- Oolite Arts announces that Dennis Scholl, who led the transformation of Oolite Arts into one of Florida’s largest artist support organizations, will be retiring this year after six years as president and CEO.

A seasoned arts leader, Scholl oversaw a major expansion of Oolite Arts, creating holistic programming that elevates artists’ work at all stages of their careers through studio space, financial support and professional development. Shortly after joining, Scholl proposed and Oolite Arts launched The Ellies, Miami’s Visual Arts Awards, which has provided $2.5 million over the past five years to South Florida’s artists and art teachers, resulting in exhibitions around the world. Scholl also was the moving force for Oolite Arts to create a Cinematic Arts Program, with an innovative residency that provides $50,000 to South Florida filmmakers to conceive, create and screen their works in Miami. The successful program’s first three graduates have won awards and screened at major film festivals. In addition, with the support of the Board, Scholl was instrumental in the creation of Oolite Arts’ Home and Away travel residency program, which enables dozens of artists every year to attend some of the most prestigious residencies in the United States.

Scholl also led the organization’s purchase of a new campus in the City of Miami, to expand opportunities to meet the needs of Miami’s growing visual arts community. Designed by renowned Spanish firm Barozzi Veiga, the state-of-the art campus in Little River will be a cultural hub where visual artists can come together with international curators and Miamians alike to exchange ideas and immerse themselves in contemporary art.

“It’s been a joy to spend six years helping the artists I revere in the 305 and to be a part of elevating their practices in so many ways,” Scholl said. “The greatest thing about Oolite Arts is that it continues to look for ways, in the words of the organization’s founder Ellie Schneiderman, ‘to help artists help themselves.’ I’m thankful to the board for their leadership and for this enormous opportunity.”

An award-winning filmmaker and visual artist in his own right, Scholl will now dedicate his work full time to creating, with upcoming solos exhibitions in France and the United Kingdom.

Oolite Arts will conduct a national search for a new CEO to lead the organization into Miami’s next creative chapter.

“As a board, we’d like to acknowledge the extraordinary leadership and contribution that Dennis has made to elevate Oolite Arts and the Miami artist community by putting artists first,” the Oolite Arts Board of Directors said in a statement. “Dennis came to Oolite Arts at a critical time in our organization’s history. After selling our main building, which put us on firm financial footing, we needed a visionary to help us create the right programming and find the right home for Miami’s artists. He exceeded our expectations, and we’re excited about Oolite’s future.”

Founded in 1984 as ArtCenter South Florida, the organization began by offering artist studios in the then abandoned storefronts on Miami Beach’s Lincoln Road. Recognized as one of the catalysts in the neighborhood’s renaissance, Oolite Arts sold its landmark building in 2014, providing the organization with an endowment to expand its role in South Florida. Oolite Arts continues its programming at 924 Lincoln Road as the new campus is constructed.

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