Arts Council of Princeton Names New Executive Director

Taneshia Nash Laird
Taneshia Nash Laird

Taneshia Nash Laird has been named the new executive director of the Arts Council of Princeton. She succeeds Jeff Nathanson, who is stepping down at the end of the year after leading the organization for 11 years.

A regionally and nationally recognized leader in arts and economic development, Nash Laird will serve as the Arts Council’s third executive director since the organization’s founding in 1967. She was selected after a five-month national search that was chaired by resident Jim Levine.

She is currently the owner of Legacy Business Advisors, a community development consulting firm that provides strategic communications, business development, and financing strategy advice to social entrepreneurs and government agencies. Previously she was the co-founder and chief marketing officer for MIST Harlem, a multimillion-dollar cultural and entertainment center.

From 2006 to 2011, Nash Laird served as executive director of the Trenton Downtown Association, where she led a reorganization that focused on business development and tourism in downtown Trenton.
According to her resume, she launched a new community art gallery and the Destination Trenton cultural tourism initiative during her tenure there. Nash Laird has also held executive positions in both the public and private sectors. Recently she was selected by the National Endowment for the Arts to be a grants panelist providing recommendations on funding place-based projects. She currently serves on the board of the Art Pride NJ Foundation.

She is the co-author of the critically acclaimed book “Still I Rise: A Graphic History of African Americans,” which depicts black history in a 210-page comic book format. In October she was the recipient of an  award from the Princeton Committee of  the United Negro  College Fund. She earned her bachelor’s degree in marketing management from Baruch College, City University of New York, and a certificate in non-profit executive leadership from the Institute for Ethical Leadership Rutgers University School of Business.

“Taneshia Nash Laird is an exciting new leader for the Arts Council of Princeton as it moves into its next half century,” said Ted Deutsch, president of  the board for the Arts Council of Princeton. “She brings a unique blend of arts, economic development and marketing expertise that will help us deliver on our mission in creative ways and  deepen our outreach to the greater Princeton community.”

“As an area resident for nearly two decades, Nash Laird said she has watched the Arts Council of Princeton grow significantly, and  has experienced the ways the non-profit engages people in the arts through its programming.

“I’m thrilled to have the opportunity to lead this deeply respected organization with such a rich legacy of community building,” Nash Laird said. “For me, the appointment fulfills a lifelong dream to lead a regional arts organization and make a significant community impact.”

Deutch said he and the board salute Nathanson for his leadership during a time of tremendous organizational growth.

“His tenure has left an invaluable imprint on the Greater Princeton community,” he said.