Veteran curator Jane Hart has been let go at the Art and Culture Center of Hollywood, ending nearly a decade of cutting-edge programming at the downtown nonprofit venue.
Reluctant to share many details while the terms of a severance package are being discussed by the ACCH board of directors, Hart said Wednesday that she was informed of the move during a Friday phone call from the center's executive director, Joy Satterlee.
Hart described the decision as unexpected but said she was not totally surprised.
"In some respects, no, because there's been a pattern of a certain type of activity that I would say is reflective of a climate there," said Hart, who has curated ACCH exhibits for almost nine years. "But I can't really go into more than that."
Satterlee said ACCH policy prevented her from discussing details of the termination.
"Jane Hart is no longer with the Art and Culture Center. We wish her the very best in her future endeavors," Satterlee stated. "It's our policy that no matter what employee leaves, there is no other conversation."
Hart has more than 30 years of experience in the contemporary art world at galleries and institutions in Miami, New York, Los Angeles and London.
Her touch at the ACCH was both wild and whimsical, ranging from "Ryan Humphrey: Fast Forward," a 2011 touring show of Humphrey's sculpture and multimedia collages that filled the venue with BMX bike ramps, to the universally acclaimed 2013 show "Charles M. Schulz: Pop Culture in Peanuts" and the current exhibit devoted to Emmy-winning artist and puppeteer in "Wayne White: Art Is Supposed To Hypnotize You or Something."
The Wayne White exhibit was supported by a $15,000 Art Works grant from the National Endowment for the Arts, the first time the center had received an NEA grant for a gallery exhibition.
Speaking to Hart's legacy at the center, Satterlee acknowledged her creativity.
"Jane Hart is a very talented person. She has a great vision. We really wish her the very best in the future, being a curator and an artist. We really do," Satterlee said.
Satterlee said she could offer no details on when the board would begin seeking a new curator.
The decision to terminate Hart was not unanimous among the ACCH board.
"Jane did a great job," board member and artist Virginia Fifield said. "She's done a lot for the local art community. She gave many artists their first opportunity for a solo exhibition, which led to the launching of careers."
Fifield said she was informed of the executive committee's termination of Hart after the decision had been made and without explanation.
Hart is unsure about her next step, but she is a working artist and lately has been developing two film projects, a feature film and a documentary on famed lyricist Lorenz Hart, first cousin to her grandfather. She said she'll remain in the area and hopes to watch the ACCH continue its success.
"I do hope everything works out amicably. I want to help them," she said. "I am very dedicated to seeing the art scene here blossom and grow and get the attention that it deserves."