Testimonials about our work

“Mary Trudel and Rory MacPherson have been valued colleagues for almost a decade. They bring vast experience helping arts groups communicate their value to funders and other stakeholders. They have been at the pulse point of new research and thinking about the public value of the arts for many years and have accumulated a great deal of knowledge of exemplary arts programs across the U.S. I think of them as resourceful, courageous and passionate about their work. But what I most admire is their refreshing ‘can-do’ attitude, humility as representatives of a prestigious funder, and willingness to learn and grow with every project. Together they have access to an excellent national network and deep experience with a wide range of arts programs and projects. They are unique in their ability to synthesize lessons and communicate complex ideas to improve field understanding and practice.”
— Alan S. Brown, Principal

“Rory MacPherson and Mary Trudel – I will follow in their creative jet stream any day. Two thought leaders who continue to teach me a lot. They bring unique abilities to translate research into useful strategy, consistently display keen judgment and are knowledgeable about far-ranging exemplars in the arts. They reach beyond the big picture and never lose the minutia, great thinkers, marvelous team players and fun loving souls which are delightful to work with.”
— John R. Killacky
Executive Director & Chief Executive Officer
Flynn Center for the Performing Arts in Burlington, Vermont

“Over the years I’ve had the opportunity to collaborate with Mary on several innovative projects in the arts. They weren’t exactly crazy concepts, but things a more prudent executive might have balked at attempting. Mary was one of the first to recognize the thought leader convening power of on-line dialogue and boldly encouraged folks with different points of view to debate and discuss issues important to the field. From her position at Wallace, she was great at seeing potential in a good idea and help find ways to make it happen. Her continuing collaboration with Rory, forged in the trenches at Wallace, marries practical meaningful research with useful actionable strategy. It’s a dynamic combination.”
— Douglas McLennan
Editor, ArtsJournal.com

“Over the last several years, Mary Trudel has taught me entirely new ways of thinking about how to share emerging work with the ever evolving field of arts educators. None of her efforts on behalf of our study on quality in arts education would have had the same value, though, if she had not been such a thoughtful and insightful reader of the research we were producing. Her sensitivity to our findings and the particular nature of our study was the foundation for all of her subsequent creative and innovative thinking about how to ‘get the word out.’ Mary brings extraordinary insight, ingenuity, and passion to her work. I’m deeply grateful to her.”
— Steve Seidel
Patricia Bauman and John Landrum Bryant Chair in Arts in Education
Harvard Graduate School of Education

“Rory: You have been a Prince among men (sorry for the Euro-centric, masculine reference! – but it’s true!!) and we will miss your guidance, good humor, and support. I wish you many wonderful opportunities and fulfilling adventure going forward. We will invite you to Minneapolis to show you what we build!”
— Catherine Jordan
Bush Foundation

“Mary Trudel has the creativity and drive to transform the ordinary into extraordinary. On first meeting we launched a plan to create a new arts communications network which is now in its 3rd year. Launched in 2007, our ArtsCom network is an invitation-only organization of senior communications executives from top-flight arts organizations in metropolitan New York dedicated to the exchange ideas and the advancement of the arts. In tackling strategic issues from the demise of arts journalism to the importance of audience engagement I’m always energized by Mary’s clear headed thinking and decisive approach to problem solving.”
— Toby Usnik
International Head of Corporate Communications

(Re: Rory) “I’m so overdue in sending a note to say how much I’ve enjoyed working with you! You’ve been a great support to us in Chicago, understanding some of the special issues we faced as we developed our local partnership. With your help I think we now have a wonderful program that should provide an ongoing legacy to the arts in our city.”
— Janet Carl Smith
Deputy Commissioner
Chicago Department of Cultural Affairs

“The most unique and invaluable characteristic of Mary’s work is its consistent, creative, and definitive quality. She was tireless in improving the quality of work among her constituents. At the Wallace Foundation, she imagined, executed, and finished projects that positively impacted hundreds of the top professionals in arts education, and consequently, thousands of children. Her work stands out as some of the best I’ve seen since I began working in public education.”
— John Abodeely
Deputy Director of the President’s Committee on the Arts and the Humanities

“Rory has been THE Wallace person for presenters for so many years. He was so instrumental in creating and sustaining the Arts Partners program which dramatically changed the landscape of performing arts presenting in the United States. And of course, he has been central to the Excellence initiatives as well.”
— Ken Foster
Director of the Arts Leadership Program
University of Southern California, Thornton School of Music
(previously the Executive Director of Yerba Buena Center for the Arts in San Francisco)

“I’ve had the pleasure of knowing and working with Mary Trudel as a friend and colleague for many years. During this time I have come to appreciate how she has successfully managed to apply her experience in the for-profit sector to propel major work on behalf of her foundation and its grantees. Among Mary’s strengths are her abilities to take the data from complicated and long-term foundation initiatives and extract lessons learned and communicate those findings in ways that serve the needs of others in similar or allied fields. She also is skilled at helping organizations working toward the same goals learn how to collaboratively share their individual learnings and thus help further the impact of foundation investments.”
— Bruce S. Trachtenberg
Executive Director
Communications Network

“You (Rory) have always been able to keep your sense of yourself right-sized, which it quite an accomplishment considering how much money you have shepherded in nearly 20 years at Wallace. In a business of large egos—both on the art side and the funder side—you have excelled at your job without making it about you. I admire how you have kept principals above personalities. The people you will work with next will benefit from your considerable skills; but just as importantly, they will benefit from your character.”
— Patrick Dewane
Vice President of Advancement
Minnesota Opera

“Mary Trudel is a treasure and made me and my colleague, Cinda Holt, the business development specialist at the Council, feel so special – really, like we were on top of the world — as we participated in foundation convenings and field presentations about our work together. That is a rare talent, in addition to her rich communication expertise, of course. What I’ll always remember is that she gave The Wallace Foundation an extraordinary face who was accessible, professional, polished and gave validity to the hard work others were doing, instead of wanting to have all the limelight on herself or on Wallace. That is true grace, and in my mind, the quintessential trait of being a real leader.”
— Arlynn Fishbaugh, Executive Director
Montana Arts Council
1st Vice Chairman of NASAA and Vice Chairman of APAP

“I have always delighted in working with Mary Trudel. She is so astute, with an ever-ready eye and hand to advance the most important goals, even in complex situations. Her work is imaginative, informed, and highly responsive–not to mention great fun. Her experience gives her a broad understanding of the many moving pieces in communications and planning processes, and her for-profit background proved consistently valuable to me in the non-profit sector. Her persistence and people skills always get the job done, done well, and usually better than I thought possible.”
— Eric Booth
Arts Learning Consultant
Author, speaker

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