A new year brings new change for First Night Worcester

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
June 12, 2012

WORCESTER _ Excitement just seems to radiate from First Night Worcester’s new Executive Director Howard McGinn. This Central Massachusetts native and graduate of Worcester State College and Assumption College brings a love of the arts and an impressive background in non-profit and finance to his new post in leading one of the oldest First Night organizations in the nation.

McGinn replaces Joyce Kressler, First Night Worcester’s Executive Director for 14 years, who stepped down in January 2012.

“When I heard about this opportunity, it sounded like something I would love to do,” McGinn said. “I’m totally looking forward to this new challenge. We need to change to meet the needs of the folks that First Night Worcester caters to.”

McGinn said his love of the arts came by way of an art history course he took at Worcester State to fill up a hole in his schedule. It was that course which changed his perspective on the arts forever.

“The professor in that class showed us slides, talked to us, and took us to some fantastic places (art museums etc.),” McGinn said, adding a trip to Rome after graduation and visits to the Vatican sealed the deal on his love of the arts.

However, his career path led him in a different direction. McGinn spent the first 21 years of his professional career at Fleet Bank, beginning his career as a clerk, and ending his career there as a senior vice president, yet always keeping the arts close to his heart through yearly family trips to artistic places around the world.

“In 2004, a merger between Fleet Bank and Bank of America gave me the option to leave and start my own business, Academic Finance Corp., a business which became the largest non-profit holder of student loans in the country,” he said.

Most recently, McGinn has been working on various artistic projects including Worcester Windows, a community gallery program which uses storefronts throughout downtown Worcester as exhibit space to enhance the City’s downtown.  McGinn is co-curator of this initiative.

He said when he learned about the executive director position opening for First Night Worcester, he knew it was the perfect way to meld his passion with his career.

McGinn is hitting the ground running and is already brainstorming with First Night Worcester staff and Board members.

“Howard has the right vision for how First Night Worcester can continue to capture the imagination of our community,” said Charlie Washburn, a founding member of the First Night Worcester Board currently serving as Board Chair. “We chose Howard because he thinks big and has grand aspirations for our organization and for the arts in Worcester.”

“Our goal will be to reintroduce ourselves to the community and let the public know why First Night Worcester matters and why they should be a part of it,” McGinn said. “We need to continue to change to meet the needs of the public. We’re all in this together, to promote the arts. Fireworks are great, but it is really so much more than that. We need to promote the arts each and every day. I want people to think of First Night Worcester throughout the year with small vignettes all year long, not just as a one night event. I’d also like to see this as a First Night for all of Central Massachusetts, not just Worcester.”

McGinn is quick to note the fiscal constraints that First Night Worcester faces, and recognizes the road to growth is a tricky one.

“I want to go to businesses with a great message. They need to understand all of the reasons why contributing to First Night Worcester is good for the community, and for their businesses,” McGinn said. “I believe in the mission of First Night Worcester.”

For more information on First Night Worcester, visit www.firstnightworcester.org.

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June 12th 2012 by FNW
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