Kadie Dempsey has illuminated her last pumpkin for Morris Arts.
“There’s a time for everything,” she said at Monday’s Pumpkin Illumination, the Halloween-themed event she started at Morristown’s Vail Mansion eight years ago.
Dempsey is leaving Morris Arts, where she has worked for 16 years, to become a consultant to the Mayo Performing Arts Center.
She starts her new gig on Dec. 1, 2017. Her specialty is “creative placemaking,” which she defines as designing arts programs that reflect the community and enhance the local economy.
“I’m really excited. The staff is awesome at Mayo,” Dempsey said.
MPAC President Allison Larena said one of Dempsey’s roles will be expanding the theater’s involvement in the fledgling Morristown Cultural District.
The South Street district was established in the spring to combine cultural and charitable endeavors.
Member organizations include the Morristown & Township Library, the Presbyterian Church in Morristown, St. Peter’s Episcopal Church, the Jockey Hollow Bar & Kitchen and MPAC.
“We’re so excited to have Kadie join our team,” Larena said. “One great thing about Kadie is she has a stellar reputation in Morristown. She’s a seasoned veteran who will help create a more cohesive bond between MPAC and other arts organizations.”
Slideshow photos by Bill Lescohier and Kevin Coughlin
In addition to the annual pumpkin event, Dempsey’s Morris Arts ventures included the summertime sidewalk fair Meet Me in Morristown; an arts mentoring program at Morristown High School; and the National Endowment for the Arts-backed Gateway Totem Project, sculptures that celebrate the town’s immigration history.
“I’ve had a wonderful experience–great opportunities, great staff, great programs,” said Dempsey, a Morristown native.
She started Core Creative Placemaking on the side two years ago with her husband, artist Dan Fenelon.
“This is the direction I wanted to go in,” Dempsey said.
“Our loss is MPAC’s gain,” said Morris Arts Executive Director Tom Werder, citing Dempsey’s “very exciting and productive years” with the nonprofit arts council.
“She’s gotten to the stage in her career where she can work as a consultant and do the work she loves, and do it at an organization that’s also committed to our community. It’s a great win for her and for MPAC.”
Dempsey’s legacy will be felt every October: Werder said the pumpkin illuminations should continue for “as long as there is Halloween.”