| Art |

Joseph Benesh Named Executive Director for Arizona Citizens for the Arts

Joseph Benesh will head Arizona Citizens for the Arts starting on July 1.EXPAND
Joseph Benesh will head Arizona Citizens for the Arts starting on July 1.
Nader Abushhab
Keep New Times Free
I Support
  • Local
  • Community
  • Journalism
  • logo

Support the independent voice of Phoenix and help keep the future of New Times free.

Joseph Benesh has resigned as executive director for Phoenix Center for the Arts, in order to take a new position with Arizona Citizens for the Arts. Benesh will become executive director for the statewide arts  advocacy organization effective July 1.

Catherine “Rusty” Foley, who has served as executive director for Arizona Citizens for the Arts since 2011, announced in February that she would be retiring at the end of June.

Soon Benesh will head the organization, which has its headquarters in Roosevelt Row. He’ll be responsible for implementing the agency’s mission, which includes increasing public support for the arts among policy makers, business leaders, and community members.

“This feels like the right fit for me after years of building arts relationships in Phoenix,” Benesh says. “I’m eager to build more relationships on a statewide level.”

Benesh has been the executive director with Phoenix Center for the Arts since August 2011, and says he plans to be available to help the center transition to new leadership. So far, the center has not announced plans for filling that position.

Under Benesh’s leadership, the center launched its annual Festival of the Arts, partnered with the city to create the annual Mayor’s Arts Awards, and started the Art Mobile arts outreach program. Benesh increased the center’s budget from $200,000 to $2 million, and oversaw both 16 staff members and over 100 teaching artists.

Currently, Benesh is a member of the Greater Phoenix Chamber of Commerce and the Hance Park Conservancy. He also serves on the city of Phoenix arts and culture commission.

“I leave Arizona Citizens for the Arts in great hands,” Foley said in a June 12 press release issued by the organization. “Joseph brings new energy, new thinking, and proven leadership to the position.”

In recent months, Benesh gained visibility for sparring with Councilman Micheal Nowakowski during city meetings about creating a new Latino Cultural Center by stating that a building being considered for the Latino center should become part of the Phoenix Center for the Arts campus instead.

Moving forward, he’ll be focused on arts and culture throughout the state.

“This was a tough decision but my love has grown from Phoenix to Arizona,” Benesh says. “It’s all driven by my love for the arts and my love for people.”

Keep Phoenix New Times Free... Since we started Phoenix New Times, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Phoenix, and we would like to keep it that way. Offering our readers free access to incisive coverage of local news, food and culture. Producing stories on everything from political scandals to the hottest new bands, with gutsy reporting, stylish writing, and staffers who've won everything from the Society of Professional Journalists' Sigma Delta Chi feature-writing award to the Casey Medal for Meritorious Journalism. But with local journalism's existence under siege and advertising revenue setbacks having a larger impact, it is important now more than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" membership program, allowing us to keep covering Phoenix with no paywalls.

We use cookies to collect and analyze information on site performance and usage, and to enhance and customize content and advertisements. By clicking 'X' or continuing to use the site, you agree to allow cookies to be placed. To find out more, visit our cookies policy and our privacy policy.


Join the New Times community and help support independent local journalism in Phoenix.


Join the New Times community and help support independent local journalism in Phoenix.