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Donna Isaac Is Retiring as Scottsdale's Director of Public Art

Donna Issac, who is retiring from her position as director of Scottsdale Public Art.
Donna Issac, who is retiring from her position as director of Scottsdale Public Art.
Scottsdale Cultural Council

Donna Isaac is retiring from her position as director of Scottsdale Public Art. Neale Perl, president and CEO for Scottsdale Arts, made the announcement in a written statement to Scottsdale Arts colleagues on Wednesday, April 12.

Scottsdale Arts is a nonprofit organization that oversees Scottsdale Public Art, the Scottsdale Museum of Contemporary Art, and Scottsdale Center for the Performing Arts.

Isaac is retiring effective Friday, June 30. However, she will serve as a part-time consultant to Scottsdale Arts from July 1 to November 30, Perl says.

"We have big shoes to fill," Perl says. "Public art has captured the imagination of the people of Scottsdale under Donna's leadership."

Part of the Soleri Plaza and Bridge project spearheaded by Donna Isaac during her tenure with Scottsdale Public Art.
Part of the Soleri Plaza and Bridge project spearheaded by Donna Isaac during her tenure with Scottsdale Public Art.
Lynn Trimble

Looking back on nine years with Scottsdale Public Art, Isaac says she's most proud of two accomplishments.

One is managing the construction of the Soleri Bridge and Plaza designed by famed architect Paolo Soleri, which is located at the southwest corner of Scottsdale and Camelback roads. At $3.2 million, it's the largest public art project ever undertaken by the City, Isaac says.

The other is significantly growing the scale and attendance for Scottsdale's Canal Convergence event blending visual with performance art. In 2012, the multi-day event drew 5,700 visitors. By contrast, Perl says, Canal Convergence 2017 drew more than 80,000 visitors to the Scottsdale Waterfront.

One of many Yelena Filipchuk and Serge Beaulieu sculptures featured at Canal Convergence 2017 in Scottsdale.
One of many Yelena Filipchuk and Serge Beaulieu sculptures featured at Canal Convergence 2017 in Scottsdale.
Michelle Sasonov

"I'm proud of changing the way citizens looked at the Arizona Canal running through downtown Scottsdale, and helping people realize what the canal could really be in the community," Isaac says.

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Perl is quick to praise Isaac's many contributions to the public art landscape in Scottsdale.

"It would take a 500-page book to recount all her accomplishments," Perl says of Isaac's work.

Scottsdale Arts is already looking for a new director of public art, who will ultimately be chosen by Perl. The position is posted on the Scottsdale Arts website.

Correction: A previous version of this article indicated that Scottsdale Public Art is overseen by the City of Scottsdale. It is not. The article also has been updated to clarify that Issac was with SPA for nine years, but she was not director for that entire time.

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