2014 John F. Marsellus Sabbatical Recipient Announced

The Central New York Community Foundation is awarding a John F. Marsellus Sabbatical grant to Shane Lavalette, Director of Light Work, an artist-run, nonprofit providing direct support to emerging and under-represented artists. The John F. Marsellus Sabbatical Program awards grants to nonprofit executives seeking personal and professional growth.

Shane Lavalette

Shane will take his two-week sabbatical by traveling to Kaunus, Lithuania where he will have personal time for reflection and professional development. He will commence his retreat at a residency in association with the Kaunus Photography Gallery. This visit will provide Lavalette with the proper setting and time to focus on future photography projects and writing.

“In the last few years of establishing my footing at Light Work, I have also made sacrifices for my own art,” said Lavalette. “The ‘retreat’ week will allow me to return to my creative side and improve my leadership skills.”

During the development week of his sabbatical, Lavalette will participate in an International Portfolio Review where he will evaluate the work of photographers from Eastern Europe. This experience will offer Lavalette an opportunity to recruit new photographers to apply for a residency at Light Work.

“Light Work has only hosted one artist from Lithuania,” said Lavalette. “It would be a fantastic opportunity to see more work by artists of a region such as Kaunus.”

The John F. Marsellus Sabbatical program was created in 2000 to provide nonprofit executives with a unique opportunity for reflection, revitalization and growth. The program provides each executive with a stipend and support for professional development, as well as an additional award to the organization. Recipients are given the choice between a four-week or an abridged two-week sabbatical.

This initiative was established in memory of the late John F. Marsellus, president and owner of the Syracuse-based Marsellus Casket Company for more than 30 years, to honor his commitment to enhancing the leadership capacity of nonprofit organizations in Central New York. Applicants must have served in a management position of a nonprofit agency in Onondaga or Madison Counties for at least five consecutive years in order to qualify. Twenty seven executives have participated in the program since its inception.

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