Robert Parker will be the first-ever executive director and chief executive officer (CEO) of the Bronzeville Center for the Arts, the organization’s board of directors announced on Wednesday.
“We are thrilled to have Robert join and lead the organization at such a pivotal time,” said Kristen Hardy, Chair of the Bronzeville Center for the Arts board, in a statement. “We interviewed many qualified candidates from around the country and were thrilled to find Robert, who brings the right combination of skills to the BCA. Robert shares our vision and has practical, hands-on experience combined with a track record of success in museum development, fundraising campaigns and exhibit coordination. We are confident that Robert is the leader we need to bring the BCA vision to life.”
Established in 2020, the (BCA) was created to highlight and celebrate African American art and is located in Bronzeville, the historic, economic, and social heart of Milwaukee’s African-American community.
Specializing in building organizations from the ground up, Parker brings 25 years of progressive leadership experience to the new role, according to a press release from BCA. Most recently, he served as the inaugural executive director at The Chickasaw Nation-Chickasaw Inkana Foundation in Tupelo, Mississippi, leading the design and development of the new $36 million Chickasaw Heritage Center (CHC). This included spearheading a fundraising campaign that raised $30 million in just two years.
A native of Kinston, North Carolina, Parker earned a bachelor’s degree in professional history and a minor in museum and archival studies at North Carolina Agricultural and Technical State University. He went on to earn a master’s of art degree in public history specializing in cultural resource management from North Carolina State University.
“I am thrilled to join this impressive organization to help advance their strong vision for the BCA and the Bronzeville community,” said Parker. “This project brought me to Milwaukee, and I’m confident it will do the same for visitors from across the state and nation.”
In his new role at the BCA, Parker will be responsible for overseeing the planning, design, construction, community engagement and operation elements of the BCA’s two Bronzeville developments: Gallery 507 and the future destination arts museum.