GRACE gets a new Director
The Greater Reston Arts Center (GRACE) is pleased to announce leading arts advocate and administrator Damian Sinclair has been named the new Executive Director of GRACE effective February 6. Sinclair will replace President and CEO John Alciati who will retire after a six year tenure. Alciati will rejoin GRACE’s Board of Directors where he had served prior to his appointment to his executive position.We send Damian our best wishes to continue to take GRACE forward!
Sinclair, 34, was the Arts & Events Director of the Reston Community Center in Reston, Virginia since 2008. Before that, he served as the Director of Development at Arena Stage in Washington DC. Prior to Arena, Sinclair was the Executive Director and brainchild behind the region’s recognized Capital Fringe Festival, creating and growing the event into one of the largest and most exciting annual cultural art offerings in the Washington DC region.
"Under Alciati’s leadership, GRACE and its highly rated Northern Virginia Fine Arts Festival are recognized for bringing high caliber arts programming to the region,” said GRACE’s Board Chair Holli Ploog. “Damian has the experience and skills to maintain this momentum. His experience, coupled with his passion and enthusiasm for GRACE will help guide the organization to the next level, focusing on the importance of arts within communities, expanding our reach and increasing our brand identity.”
"I am excited to come to GRACE," said Sinclair. "This organization is poised to make a major cultural impact on Reston and the Greater DC Region. The coming of METRO to the area and the potential growth of our community means that GRACE will need to meet the artistic and cultural needs of a larger and more diverse audience. I am thrilled to have the opportunity to drive that process."
As the Arts & Events Director of the Reston Community Center, Sinclair programmed a Professional Touring Artist Series, expanded artistic outreach into Reston area schools and the greater community, and helped provide performing elements for many of Reston’s annual festivals. He designed an exciting and innovative performance component for GRACE’s Northern Virginia Fine Arts Festival which helped raise the profile of the already successful event.
As Director of Development at Arena Stage, Sinclair served as a major gifts officer and a leader in the organization responsible in part for an annual budget of $3.3 million and a capital campaign of $125 million. He was part of the team that helped guide the organization through a nomadic transition that saw it depart its longtime home in Washington, DC to take up temporary residence in Crystal City, VA.
As Co-Founder and Executive Director of the Capital Fringe Festival, Sinclair built an organization from scratch that in its first year featured over 100 performing artists (in theater, dance, music, puppetry, and experimental art) presenting over 400 performances in more than 30 venues over 10 days. In his role at Fringe' Sinclair was selected by Washingtonian Magazine as one of its 2006 People Who Made a Mark on DC and Capital Fringe was awarded the 2007 DC Mayors Arts Award for Innovation in the Arts and the 2007 Momentum Award from the Downtown DC BID.
His career in the DC area began as the Director of Marketing for Woolly Mammoth Theater Company where he grew audience participation to record levels and helped move the organization into its new home at 7th& D Streets, NW. Sinclair moved to Reston, Virginia in 2003 with his wife after beginning his career in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania as the Director of Communications at The Wilma Theater and as Managing Director of the critically acclaimed and award winning experimental interdisciplinary ensemble, Pig Iron Theatre Company.