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Roving Reporter | "Visual Arts Director John Aäsp Steps Down" via Rockport Center for the Arts
Executive Director Beverly Trifonidis notes that John Aäsp leaves a fine legacy of artistic integrity and innovation. His successful directorship will continue to provide inspiration for the Rockport art community, and for Rockport Center for the Arts, as the Center approaches its 50th Anniversary in 2019.
"I am so grateful for the last eight years at Rockport Center for the Arts. Working with such a talented team under outgoing Executive Director Beverly Trifonidis, I think the Art Center has seen one of its most active and thriving periods to date. Rockport is a place with innate creative energy. It is the reason why artists have been drawn to it for decades, and why the Art Center continues to attract members and visitors after nearly 50 years. I’m confident the Center will continue to reach toward an exciting future while embracing its extraordinary history. I will miss all of the wonderful artists and people I’ve had the privilege to work and play with, and I’ll miss this incredible place. While I’m headed back to New York state, I will always call Texas home and Rockport-Fulton will have a huge piece of my heart,"says John Aäsp.
After joining the Center in 2007 John successfully chaired the RCA Exhibition Committee and managed exceptional exhibits by Kent Ullberg and Jesus Moroles, Dalhart Windberg and Kyle Polzin, and the 2012 Leigh Yawkey Woodson Museum Birds in Art. He also curated exhibitions with contemporary themes like (un)natural worlds and Breaking the Mold, bringing new artists into Rockport's art community. John coordinated and secured five new sculptures created by internationally-renown sculptors including Leo Osborne, Sandy Scott, Jane DeDecker, Mark Williamson and James Surls to RCA’s Sculpture Garden. He created the annual Artists in Residence program, which has brought artists from all over the U.S. to Rockport including Ewoud de Groot of the Netherlands, plein air painter Diane Pike as well as Judith Selby and Richard Lang's Washed Ashore exhibition and workshop. He managed key aspects of the Rockport Art Festival, an event that showcases more than 120 artists and master craftsmen from all over the U.S. and has grown to 10,000 attendees annually.
John’s effective tenure has reached far beyond the walls of the Art Center and out into the local and state-wide communities. His outreach to Texas colleges and universities has generated an eight year run of the Rising Eyes of Texas exhibition, connecting the Center to academic art departments across the state and engaging a demographic that is underexposed in the Art Center community. John reached out and collaborated with members of the Downtown Heritage Committee to create a plan for outdoor art while encouraging a walkable downtown core, as well as designing the base and working with artist Mark White to install the first permanent piece of public art to appear in downtown Rockport. John also developed the Rockport Film Festival into a vibrant and provocative three-day event which profiles films by Texas filmmakers, hosts international films, and connects the Rockport Art community to the world of independent cinema.