Arts and Culture

The Carnegie Center for Art and History in New Albany will soon have a vacancy at the top. 

Eileen Yanoviak confirmed her departure in a Facebook post Thursday, linking to a News and Tribune story that reported the news of her leaving the previous day. 

In her post, Yanoviak, who will step down at the end of the month, wrote that she’s “so very sad to leave, but also excited to start my next adventure.”

That next adventure will be at Sacred Heart Model School in Louisville, where her daughter attends. Yanoviak will be an art teacher. 

Yanoviak was named the center’s director in spring 2018. Prior to directing the center, she worked at the Speed Art Museum and KMAC Museum in Louisville. She has a doctorate in art history from the University of Louisville. 

“Working at the Carnegie Center and with the community has been the greatest privilege of my professional career,” Yanoviak said in an email to WFPL. “However, the pandemic really forced me to consider my priorities. Non-profit leadership work is very demanding on time and mental energy. I decided that if I was presented with the right opportunity, I would make a change in order to focus on my family.”

She said the the opportunity at Sacred Heart Model School also would give her the change to focus on arts education.

“I especially love fostering an appreciation for the arts for non-artists to build future arts patrons,” she said.

Yanoviak is also the chair-elect for the Greater Louisville Arts & Culture Alliance. She told WFPL she’ll continue to stay in that role “until there is a suitable replacement for me.” 

“I want to make sure that there is a smooth transition,” she said. “The [Sacred Heart Model School] is an active member, so I will remain engaged. I plan to see through any volunteer commitments I have in the community, as time permits.”

The center is part of the Floyd County Library. Library director Melissa Merida told News and Tribune that Yanoviak has been a “breath of fresh air and a wonderful leader.”

Merida said they had yet to confirm a timeline for finding Yanoviak’s successor. 

The news comes soon after several other local arts groups announced changes to leadership.

The former director of Louisville’s KMAC Museum stepped down in June after eight years in the position. KMAC hasn’t filled the role yet.

Both Speed Art Museum and Fund for the Arts will get new leaders next year. and will conduct national searches. Speed Art Museum also lost one of its top curators to the Museum of Contemporary Art in Denver earlier this year. Plus the city of Jeffersonville in southern Indiana is looking for a new public art administrator. 

Additionally there’s been leadership turnover at Greater Louisville arts and cultural institutions the past few years. Louisville Visual Art publicly announced its new director earlier this summer. 21c Museum Hotels announced new leadership earlier this year. And, in 2019, the Frazier History Museum and the Filson Historical Society named new leaders. 

Yanoviak said she thinks “cycles of change in arts and culture leadership” are common. 

“Change is what keeps institutions fresh, engaged, creative, and, importantly, responsive to the changing community. Greater Louisville’s social and cultural milieu is evolving, and new leadership is often critical to that process.”

Stephanie Wolf is WFPL's Arts Reporter.