Join us in celebrating Deborah Fisher!

Dear Friends,
Please join us in celebrating our founding Executive Director Deborah Fisher today, as she moves on from her leadership of A Blade of Grass, after eleven years of service to the mission and organization she helped create.
Along with founder Shelley Frost Rubin, Deborah’s vision of what art could be and do in the world led to the creation of A Blade of Grass, the only national nonprofit solely dedicated to socially engaged art and the implementation of uniquely responsive artist fellowships.
As a socially engaged artist herself, Deborah has led and loved A Blade of Grass with a singular blend of magic and divination, paired with the grounded intentionality of her aikido and sculpture practices. The integration of air and earth that she embodies has enabled her to welcome artists, curators, community stakeholders, funders, and audiences to join in growing the field. That’s all of us!
Deborah’s skillful use of language to bridge differences, her alchemical thinking, and even her experience in large-scale fabrication have been essential to the creative advocacy, community building, and support offered by A Blade of Grass.
Under Deborah’s leadership, A Blade of Grass has nurtured over 60 artist-led projects from across the United States and abroad, produced challenging and inspirational programming, and generated a trove of research, films, magazines, and other content that will remain a permanent gift to the ever-evolving field of socially engaged art.
We thank Deborah for guiding A Blade of Grass to the threshold of its next chapter. With an artist-led Board and Interim Executive Director in place, we will continue to ask what art can be and do in the world, what the field needs now, and how we can reimagine power dynamics to increase social sustainability.
Please join us in congratulating Deborah for these accomplishments and wishing her well on the path ahead!
The Board of Directors

“As a practitioner I have always seen Deborah’s leadership as an embodiment of best practice for socially engaged art. She combined vision, deep listening, and personal accountability with creativity, diverse relationships, and outward action to transform the world. I am forever grateful for her advocacy for the power of art and artists working in community practice which has subsequently helped to redefine what art, philanthropy, and social engagement looks like in the 21st century.”

– Brett Cook, Board Member and 2014 ABOG Fellow

“Deborah has been a skillful translator and curator for funders who were curious about the field, but lacked contextual understanding of its history, goals, or methodologies. She told compelling stories of multiple, complex projects to illuminate the visions and values of their artists, elevate their stakeholder communities, and ground their processes in human and social outcomes. Deborah’s partnership and articulation informed foundations like the David Rockefeller Fund, which has focused its Arts program on ‘art for social impact’.’”
Michael Quattrone, Board Member
“True to her commitment to the field of socially engaged art, Deborah fostered a multifaceted process of evaluation that emphasized relationships and getting to know the artists and communities the organization supported. Her curiosity and openness have allowed her to develop as an artist and as an administrator. I admire and value her core practices of deep listening, hospitality, and leadership. Deborah sees me, sees us!”
Gregory Sale,  Board Member and 2018 ABOG-David Rockefeller Fund Joint Fellow
“A Blade of Grass could not have wished for a more perfect leader than Deborah.
Her values, sensitivity, intelligence, skills and wisdom ensured that we would forge our unique path and have the capabilities required to realize whatever plans and strategies emerged along the way. I always looked forward to the times when we would meet to explore how we could most faithfully embody ABOG’s mission and vision in every aspect of our operations, from programs to governance. And I am gratified that this approach contributed to the decision to make the transition to an artist led Board.  Along with Shelley, Deborah has laid a solid foundation for ABOG’s bright future and we are forever indebted to her for her dedicated  and masterful service.”
-Lee H. Skolnick, Historic Board Member
“Deborah advocated for my work when other funders wouldn’t touch it. My project wouldn’t have happened without her curiosity, integrity, and willingness to take a risk, engage her own assumptions, and explore discomfort. Her leadership is guided by an audacious spirit that instigates the impossible. Her willingness to translate across sectors, communities, and funders has created invaluable contributions to the history and field of socially engaged art. ”
ashley sparks, Board Member and 2017 ABOG Fellow
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