Forecast Public Art, a St. Paul-based nonprofit organization, has hired Theresa Sweetland as its new executive director. She follows Jack Becker who founded the organization in 1978. He has assumed a new role as Forecast's director of community services which involves planning and developing art projects for cities, suburbs, and towns of all sizes. Consulting on and managing such projects has long been the organization's core mission.
For the past year Sweetland was director of development and external relations at the Minnesota Museum of American Art. Prior to that she spent more than 16 years at Intermedia Arts, a Minneapolis-based multicultural arts organization where she applied her administrative savvy to stabilize finances and staffing, and to strengthen its community programming. At Intermedia in 2005 she co-founded B-Girl Be, billed as "the world's first international women in hip-hop summit." She also founded Creative CityMaking, a partnership between artists and city staff that promoted "racial equity" and tried to "engage underrepresented communities in determining the future of Minneapolis."
She earned a B.A. in cultural anthropology from the University of Minnesota in 1998 and subsequently studied urban and regional planning, community and economic development at the University.
Under Becker's able leadership, Forecast became one of the country's most innovative and successful public art advisory and development organizations. While protecting the creative and financial needs of artists, Forecast earned a reputation for successfully engaging communities in the planning process so that potential controversies were averted, funding was in place, and project designs were appropriate for their settings. He also developed and published the periodical Public Art Review, now an internationally recognized resource in the field.