Houston Center for Contemporary Craft names a new Executive Director

Leila Cartier / Courtesy of John Carlano

Leila Cartier was announced this week as the new Executive Director of Houston Center for Contemporary Craft. She will begin the position on July 17, 2023.

According to a press release, “Cartier will work closely with the board and staff to begin a new strategic planning process that will emphasize expanding the local and national presence of the organization.” She will aim to enhance educational offerings, advance HCCC’s artist residency program, and strengthen community partnerships.

“With HCCC’s existing networks and excellent programming, I look forward to broadening our reach as a welcoming, imaginative, civic-minded destination and setting a standard for exceptionalism in contemporary craft,” Cartier said in a statement.

Gallery view of “Philippine-Made: The Work of Matt Manalo,” on view February 11-May 13, 2023 at Houston Center for Contemporary Craft / Photo by Katy Anderson

Noted by HCCC for her “wealth of strategic and administrative leadership experience” and “deep understanding of and connections in the world of contemporary craft,” Cartier comes to Houston from CraftNOW Philadelphia, where she served as Executive Director. She holds an MFA in painting and drawing from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, as well as degrees in art and art history. In addition, she maintains a personal studio practice.

Cartier succeeds Perry Price, who led HCCC as Executive Director from 2016 – 2022. Perry left the position in December 2022 to become the new Executive Director of the Haystack Mountain School of Crafts in Deer Isle, Maine.

Cartier’s appointment comes after a months-long national search, contracted through Sorrell, an executive search firm. The search committee was co-chaired by HCCC’s Board President Judy Nyquist and Founding Board President and Sara Morgan.

“We are thrilled to have Leila as our new executive director. She brings an entrepreneurial spirit, a deep connection to the field of contemporary craft, and an eagerness to expand our reach,” said Nyquist in a statement. “We are confident that she has the experience, expertise, and vision to lead HCCC in realizing its full potential in the years to come.”

Cartier joins the HCCC team at a time when the organization also welcomed a new Curator and Exhibitions Director in recent months. Sarah Darro was appointed to that role last fall.

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