The new director of the Cultural Center plans exhibitions linking art, science and technology
SOUTH YARMOUTH — Molly Demeulenaere recently began work as the new executive director of the Cape Cod Cultural Center, contributing a range of ideas for future programming to spark visitors’ curiosity about the world around them.
Demeulenaere, who joined the Cultural Center staff in January 2019 and initially worked in fundraising, steps into the leadership role after Robert Nash, who is now facilities director, and Lauren Wolk, who was associate director of the Centre, and has now turned her talents to a full-time writing career.
Demeulenaere grew up on a farm in South Florida, where many of his skills and dreams took shape. “I was a product of informal education and was homeschooled,” she said. “My parents pushed me to think like an entrepreneur.”
She called much of her early education “experiential” or hands-on, accumulated through “learning events in nature” and in places like museums. In her youth, she says, she visited places as varied as “sewage treatment plants (and) nature conservation”, while developing what she called a thirst for knowledge, a thirst that s continued throughout his life. “I was an absolute nerd,” she said. The ‘cumulative impact’ of this hands-on training resulted in ‘curiosity (which was) aroused by these experiences’.
She was interested in both art and science and was a board member of the Florida Association of Museums from 2010-2013. She then worked with the Museum of Science and Industry in Tampa/St . St. Petersburg region, including as President and CEO.
She was also the founder/principal of a museum consulting company called Paper Plane Consulting and worked as a certified facilitator for LEGO Serious Play, a method that uses three-dimensional modeling as a problem-solving strategy in professional situations. All of this contributed, she says, to her growing interest in hands-on educational experiences.
Personal connections brought her to Cape Town in 2019, where she met Wolk, and she soon started working at the Cultural Centre, moving from a role as general manager to executive director earlier this year.
A visit to the Center’s new art exhibit, “Empowerment vs Exploitation,” Demeulenaere said, is a good way to see the kinds of programming she hopes to undertake in her new position. One facet of the new event is the art exhibition, which runs through March 26 and features 53 works in a variety of media, created by artists from 22 states and Canada, on display in galleries across the Center.
According to Demeulenaere, the show was created to stimulate conversation “about gender issues” of discrimination and exploitation against women, while also focusing on programs, images and solutions that can empower.
For the other part of the event, which also runs through March 26, the Center is partnering with Independence House in Hyannis, a local organization that provides services to those affected by sexual abuse and domestic violence.
In keeping with the theme of the art exhibit, the nonprofit Hyannis presents a series of free workshops, live at the cultural center and available for live streaming, from 6-7:30 p.m. Wednesdays through March 23, using Independence House staff and presenters. , on topics such as healing through creative expression, community prevention strategies, media exploitation and child abuse.
March 24 will host a White Ribbon Day celebration and final exhibition at the Center, part of a global campaign that “invites men and boys to be part of the solution to end violence against women. “.
“Empowerment vs. Exploitation” is “art on the walls with programming surrounding it,” Demeulenaere said. “This is the type of work I would like to continue to bring to Cape Cod…with established and emerging artists.”
Demeulenaere was also instrumental in the creation of two new positions at the Cultural Center, those of Julian Loida as Music and Events Manager, and Diane Giardi as Director of Learning. Along with Demeulenaere, the new staff members will help shape future programs, striving to integrate the Cultural Centre’s various areas of artistic interest, including culinary, literary, musical and visual arts.
In the upcoming program, for example, she said the Center is planning a Hispanic heritage event in the fall that will combine Hispanic culture and influences, showcasing its “traditions, language, tastes, music and his art”.
“Worlds collide at the intersection of art and science,” she said. “And in all areas of creative thinking and problem solving, having artists at the table helps.”