May 18—After 26 artful years at the Delaplaine Arts Center, Catherine Moreland is set to retire on July 31 from her position as CEO — or, as she describes it, "the best job in the world."
In 1995, when Moreland first arrived at the Delaplaine as its new executive director, it was a much different place.
"We had one gallery and one classroom," Moreland remembers. "Exhibits were restricted to group shows only, so we could allow as many artists as possible to participate. The classroom space had to accommodate multiple mediums, all age groups, and serve as a meeting room. It was a challenge!"
Under her leadership, the Delaplaine's 100-year-old mill building in downtown Frederick's Historic District was sensitively renovated to house seven galleries, as well as classrooms and studios for everything from preschool art classes to metalsmithing.
In 1998, the addition of Gardiner Hall, a ceramics studio, a woodworking studio and a gift shop further expanded the Delaplaine's ability to serve the community. An event deck was added in early 2020.
Today, the arts center is a centerpiece along the Carroll Creek Promenade and typically welcomes more than 85,000 visitors annually, providing more than 50 gallery exhibitions, 250 classes and workshops for all ages, and dozens of educational public programs each year.
"We have always been guided by our belief that 'everyone deserves art,' and that's not just a saying, but a deep commitment," Moreland said. "We work to do more, and do better each year."
The Delaplaine's Community Outreach program has grown over the past dozen years, providing visual arts opportunities and experiences through dynamic partnerships with local nonprofits and service organizations such as Head Start, Alzheimer's Association, Centro Hispano and Children of Incarcerated Parents Partnership, among others.
Moreland was also responsible for the Delaplaine earning accreditation in the Standards for Excellence program in 2000, and remaining accredited since. The Delaplaine is one of about 250 nonprofits, and one of only about a dozen arts organizations, to be accredited in the national program.
Moreland is especially proud that the organization has not only weathered this challenging year but, in some ways, blossomed because of it.
"We were forced to explore new ways of serving the community, both virtually and physically," Moreland explained. "Our programs and impact have grown as a result."
After two-and-a-half decades of building the organization, Moreland isn't planning to abruptly leave it all behind.
"I've been working closely with the Delaplaine's Board of Trustees for several months, making plans to secure the future of the Delaplaine and to make a smooth transition to new leadership," Moreland says. She has agreed to stay on in an emeritus role, with reduced hours, at least through the end of December. "Because I love the Delaplaine and all it does for our community, I plan to help out whenever I'm needed."
The board unanimously voted to name Duane Doxzen, the Delaplaine's director of development and communications for the past seven years, as CEO beginning Aug. 1.
Prior to coming to the Delaplaine, Doxzen worked at the B&O Railroad Museum in Baltimore and worked at the Historical Society of Frederick County for about 14 years, the last 10 as assistant director.
Moreland and Doxzen will work together to provide continuity and continued stability throughout the transition.
"Catherine and I have a wonderful working relationship," Doxzen said. "The fact that she will continue to be actively involved beyond her stepping down as CEO is a tremendous boon to the Delaplaine, and, frankly, to me personally. Her advice, experience, and institutional knowledge are invaluable resources. Catherine's not just the Delaplaine's CEO, she's also been its fiercest champion."
The Delaplaine Arts Center is at 40 S. Carroll St., Frederick. For information about upcoming programs and activities, call 301-698-0656 or visit delaplaine.org.