Tuesday was the trim and breezy Brezzo's first day on the job.
Festival President Scott Moore introduced Brezzo to the City Council
and the community at the council meeting that night. Festival search
committee members and Brezzo backers Bruce Rasner and Kathleen
Blackburn also attended.
"I am pleased to be here and to work with a community that is such
a great supporter of the arts," Brezzo said.
Rasner said Brezzo's track record and energy impressed the search
committee from the get-go.
"He has been there, done that," Rasner said. "We had actively
searched for five months and when we looked at the finalists, he
stood alone with his background in the visual arts. We wanted someone
to regain the prestige of the festival as a first-class art venue."
Brezzo spent his entire career until 1999 working in San Diego
museums. Since then he has been bi-coastal, creating traveling
exhibitions and consulting with museums and foundations to establish
new opportunities and expanded programming.
"I first came to California through a Rockerfeller Foundation
program almost 35 years ago," said Brezzo, a native of New Jersey,
who grew up in Pennsylvania and attended college in Connecticut.
He had recently graduated with a master's degree in theater and
fine arts when he was selected as a museum educator by the La Jolla
Museum of Contemporary Art, now the San Diego Museum of Contemporary
"It was during the halcyon days when museums were abandoning
elitism and opening their intellectual arms to bring in new
audiences," Brezzo said.
He moved to the San Diego Art Museum in 1980 as assistant director
and worked there until his contract was not renewed in 1999.
Brezzo was in New York this year when he heard about the
festival's search for an executive director and made contact. He was
in London when festival headhunter Rasner called about the job.
"I visited three or four times," Brezzo said. "I wanted to assure
myself that it was a match: that the festival's expectations were
attainable and the board was ready to make the leap. They have been
very forthcoming and realistic."
Festival President Moore said the board, most of whom had fought