Data News Staff Edited Report
NEW ORLEANS, LA. — Ashé Cultural Arts Center’s Board of Directors, Efforts of Grace, Inc., is pleased to announce the appointment of Asali DeVan Ecclesiastes as the new Executive Director of Ashé. She will take her post January 1, 2020, succeeding Founding Executive Director Carol Bebelle, who will retire from the organization at the end of December.
After a rigorous search, the Board of Directors concluded that Ecclesiastes’ leadership and considerable experience in both artistic, community and economic development, along with her strong track record of fundraising success, made her the outstanding candidate for the executive director role. Board President Dr. Beverly Guillory Andry, says, “I am delighted to welcome Asali Ecclesiastes as the new Executive Director of Ashé Cultural Arts Center. Ms. Ecclesiastes comes to the organization with vast experience and knowledge in the field of culture and arts, as well as an understanding of its transformational power in the community. Her expertise, experience and reputation will be hugely valuable, and will build on the sterling achievements of our outgoing executive director. It gives me great pleasure, on behalf of the Board of Directors, to welcome Ecclesiastes to her new role at Ashé Cultural Arts Center.”
The board has spent the last several months evaluating the internal workings of Ashé and clarifying the leadership needs for the next phase of the organization’s development. After interviewing and assessing all the leading candidates for the position, it was apparent that not only is Ecclesiastes deeply passionate about Ashé’s work and assets, she also has a clear vision about how to take the organization forward.
Educator, event producer, author, and performer, Ecclesiastes currently serves as Director of Strategic Neighborhood Development for the New Orleans Business Alliance (NOLABA). Prior to joining NOLABA, Ecclesiastes served as Claiborne Corridor Program Manager for the City of New Orleans’ Network for Economic Opportunity, where she advanced place-based projects and secured funding within six priority areas: economic opportunity, cultural preservation, affordable housing, transportation choice and access, environmental sustainability, and safe & healthy neighborhoods.
Before her short tenure in government, Ecclesiastes worked as Congo Square Coordinator for N.O. Jazz & Heritage Festival, Artist Relations Director of Authors for Essence Music Festival Empowerment Seminars and has produced several local neighborhood arts and cultural festivals. Additionally, she has taught in New Orleans Public Schools, area universities, and prisons. She continues to utilize her spoken-and-written-word as a platform for societal change and social justice. She has served as a national and international consultant and speaker concerning policy and practice for equitable community development and arts and culture.
Under the leadership of its co-founding director and visionary, Carol Bebelle, the organization has made significant strides in pioneering the turnaround of the historic commercial corridor, Oretha Castle Haley Boulevard. The organization has played an important role in the recovery of the city following the 2005 Katrina-related disaster, especially for the cultural community. Ashé CAC is now at a critical stage of transition. Following two decades of impactful work, the organization is poised to welcome a new Executive Director to continue its visionary work, building on the founding directors’ successes.
EOSO has been committed to enriching the lives of New Orleans’ children through mentoring since 1994. Trained mentors invest an hour of one-on-one time each week with their mentee, helping them build confidence, courage, and hope. Mentoring not only has a positive, direct effect that guides the children toward future success, it also produces long-lasting relationships and benefits, as children are empowered to achieve and “pay it forward” by continuing the work and service. Thousands of mentors and mentees have benefited from the program since its beginning and many have established connections and friendships that last years, even decades. Children today are faced with even greater obstacles and many are battling poverty, neglect, and violence. Now more than ever, it is critical that advocacy organizations like EOSO not only maintain their already dedicated legacy but continue to evolve and grow, to meet ever-changing and challenging needs.