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All Best Wishes, Tony, and Thank You

Anthony Spiridigloizzi, who is retiring this month, did not expect to become president of Munson-Williams-Proctor Arts Institute, but when the opportunity was presented, he gladly accepted and met the challenge head on. “I never had any aspirations to be president; I was content where I was, but I made no hesitation accepting the appointment because I wanted to do anything I could for this organization,” he said.

Doing anything he could is what epitomized Tony’s 35 years at MWPAI. He first joined the Institute as treasurer in 1982 after responding to a help-wanted ad while serving as controller for the United Way of the Mohawk Valley. As a lifelong Utican, Tony said he was familiar with the organization but didn’t fully comprehend its importance until after he settled into the position. “It was a bigger job than I had thought,” he said. “I was immediately amazed at the quality and magnitude of the programs and events that were held here.”

Tony was named vice president in 1992. Following the resignation of President Daniel O’Leary in 2011, the board of trustees appointed Tony president. Tony immediately went to work, and his first objective was to improve the visitor experience. “Over the years, the Institute was becoming more accessible, now was the time to take it to the next level,” he said.

“Taking it to the next level” included installing a visitor service desk at an entrance to the Museum of Art, more seating in the galleries, additional banners and signage, and creating a more vibrant atmosphere overall. “I wanted us to become more friendly, more concentrated on families,” he said. “When I started seeing more young moms with strollers coming in, I knew we were making an impact.”

Even more changes included the Art Alive! Family Days and First Fridays Happy Hours. “We’ve always had the finest educational and entertainment programs, now it was time to include a more social element,” he said.

Moreover, under Tony’s administration, the Institute has increased its community involvement with programs for the refugee community, Thea Bowman House, Hospice, and numerous other services. “Now, we’re making an even bigger impact,” he said.

Throughout it all, Tony remains characteristically humble and is optimistic about the Institute’s future. “Nothing makes me feel better than hearing someone say they’ve seen a change in this organization,” he said. “I am grateful to everyone who helped contribute to the successes we’ve had.”

“I feel so fortunate to have found my way here and having a long career with a place that does so much good for the community.”

Tony’s last day is Friday, August 4. When asked what he will do the following Monday morning, he smiled and said, “I’ll have a cup of coffee, read the paper, and not check my email.” After that, he plans on fishing more often, serving on community boards, and traveling with his wife, Mariann.

The staff, faculty, and board of trustees of MWPAI wish Tony the best.

Contributions to the Anthony J. Spiridigloizzi Scholarship Fund may be made to the MWPAI Development Office, 310 Genesee St. Utica NY,  315-797-0055 or at mwpai.org/support.