Announced today, there’s change in leadership at the Society of Illustrators, the legendary organization for artists that also oversees the yearly MoCCA Festival and the Museum of Illustration.

Anelle Miller will step down as of June 30th, and Arabelle Liepold will step in to lead the nonprofit starting on May 22. Liepold, a native of Gemany, was hired after a nationwide search by the SI Board. 

The Society of Illustrators is a New York City institution, operating out of a brownstone in the East 60s that has evolved from a cosy clubhouse the legends of the Golden Age of Illustration – N. C. Wyeth and Norman Rockwell – to its current status as a leading cultural institution in the leading, with art exhibits, concerts, drawing classes and more. 

The SI acquired all the assets of the Museum of Comic and Cartoon Art in 2012, incorporating comics and cartoonists into its exhibits and programs, and taking over management of the MoCCA Festival. 

Liepold was most recently Managing Director of Goethe Institute Pop Up Seattle, where she oversaw exhibition and programming operations of the Germany-funded U.S.-based gallery and co-produced more than 100 hybrid events yearly. She brings wide experience in developing strategic partnerships, producing successful events and exhibitions, driving impactful marketing strategies, and exceeding fundraising goals to the role. She holds a Master’s degree in Media Studies, Art History, and American and German Literature, with a focus on Jewish-American Film and Literature, from the University of Konstanz.  

Miller’s 16-year-leadership of the SoI saw continued change in the role of illustrators, and also encompassed the absorption of MoCCA’s mission into the SOI. It was at times an odd fit, but Miller made it work – most memorably the time she rented a giant Snoopy balloon to loom over the MoCCA Festival when it was held at the Lexington Armory. 

“The staff and I are thrilled about the Board’s decision to appoint Arabelle as the Society’s new leader. She has much experience curating international exhibitions and programs, and will bring a novel perspective to advancing our mission. We look forward to working with her as I transition into the emeritus role that I requested to focus more time on teaching and pursuing social justice causes,” said Miller in a statement.      

According to SI President Leslie Cober, “We are grateful to Anelle for her extraordinary leadership over the past 16 years. She has passionately dedicated herself to every aspect of managing our organization while offering quality exhibitions and programs annually. We are tremendously thankful for the enormous amount of time and energy she has given to position the Society for its future success.” 

In her own opening statement Liepold added, “I am honored to be selected for this important leadership position at America’s oldest nonprofit organization dedicated to the art of illustration. I look forward to collaborating with the Board, staff, and hundreds of artist members who are committed to educating the public about this vital form of art that spans across multiple cultures and a myriad of illustration genres.”