After a national search, the Greater Philadelphia Cultural Alliance has tapped a veteran of the local arts scene to be its next leader.
Patricia Wilson Aden, former president and CEO of the African American Museum in Philadelphia, will take over GPCA in January, the alliance announced Tuesday.
Aden is currently president and CEO of the Blues Foundation in Memphis, Tenn., a post she began in October. She said a mix of family and professional interests led her to make the move so soon after starting the job in Memphis.
“This is a confluence of professional opportunity meeting my personal needs. I really welcome the opportunity to come back and be closer to home. At the same time, Philadelphia is poised to face some really critical issues,” she said, referring to the challenges to the sector posed by the pandemic.
Until Aden arrives, Priscilla M. Luce will continue as president and CEO. The previous leader, Maud Lyon, announced in June 2020 that she would be retiring.
Aden, a Delaware native, led Philadelphia’s African American Museum for eight years. She was previously executive director of the Rhythm and Blues Foundation, president of the Preservation Alliance for Greater Philadelphia, and director of the National Trust for Historic Preservation’s mid-Atlantic regional office.
She said it was too early to discuss specific plans for the region’s nearly 50-year-old arts and culture advocacy group with more than 450 member organizations in and around Philadelphia. It will take time to hold conversations with GPCA’s leadership as well as the community, she said.
“What I will say is that I have worked in the Philadelphia cultural sector for over 25 years. I think I know the landscape and I know the players. And when I say the players I’m talking about all of the players in the cultural community, whether large institutions or neighborhood-based organizations. I think all of the voices of all of these players will be a factor as GPCA charts its next chapter.”