WNY Book Arts Center Announces Laura McGough As Incoming Executive Director

Buffalo, N.Y. – The Western New York Book Arts Center (Book Arts) is excited to announce the appointment of Laura McGough as the organization’s incoming executive director. Holding a PhD from the Department of Media Studies at the University at Buffalo and an M.A. from New York University, McGough comes to Book Arts with a strong background of arts programming, grants administration, and curatorial positions across arts organizations throughout the US and Canada, including Hallwalls Contemporary Art Center, National Endowment for the Arts, and the Herter Art Gallery at UMass Amherst. McGough is excited to continue advancing Book Arts’ cultural impact and leadership of outgoing executive director, Nicole Cooke, and interim executive director, Gail Nicholson.

Buffalo is my cultural home, and I am exceptionally pleased to be returning to this lively and storied arts community. Book Arts was established 16 years ago as an artist collaborative and has developed into a mature arts organization that continues to honor its founding spirit of collaboration through artist residencies, open studio access and a host of partnerships with schools, educational organizations and regional arts organizations. With its focus on book and print-based arts and goal of providing artists and community members access to, and training in, a range of printing processes, Book Arts occupies a unique place within the cultural landscape of Western New York.

Laura McGough

Incoming Executive Director, WNY Book Arts Center

“On behalf of the board, we are excited about the creative perspective, plus management, curatorial, and programmatic experience in the arts that Laura will bring to the position as Executive Director. Her deep knowledge of the WNY community, contacts, and history bode well for us all moving forward with the extension of our mission as a vital place in Western New York,” says board chair Peter Sowisksi.

Gail Nicholson will be serving as Book Arts interim director, and spearheading McGough’s training through this transition, “I’m excited to welcome Laura back to Western New York in her new role as director of Book Arts. She brings an impressive range of national experience and vitality to Book Arts and Buffalo’s remarkable arts community. I’m really looking forward to our work together in the coming weeks,” says Nicholson.

As McGough begins her leadership at Book Arts, she looks forward to continuing work with community partners, and developing new collaborations and programs that explore the range and diversity of book and print-based arts.

Welcome to the fold, Laura!


Laura McGough is an arts administrator, curator and art historian. Over the past 30 years she has been employed at arts organizations in the US and Canada in a range of administrative and curatorial positions. During her tenure as video curator at Hallwalls Contemporary Arts Center, McGough coordinated the video screenings and festival programming and managed the organization’s video residency program and cable access television program. As the Program Director at the newly established Washington Project for the Arts/Corcoran, she developed arts programming, including gallery exhibitions, public art projects and a guest curator program.  In her capacity as an Independent Curator and Arts Consultant, McGough has curated film, video, web-based, visual arts and performance events for museums, festivals and arts organizations in US, Canada, Europe and Australia and developed board training, strategic plans and program evaluation for a range of nonprofit organizations. From 2000-2003, she served as the Multidisciplinary and Presenting Specialist at the National Endowment for the Arts where she managed a diverse portfolio that included artist communities, performing arts centers, alternative art centers, and technology-based arts projects. More recently, as the Director at The Herter Art Gallery at UMass Amherst, McGough oversaw the presentation of visual arts programming and related events for a campus-wide community. McGough has received funding for curatorial and related research projects from NYSCA, the DC Commission on the Arts, The British Council, and the Canada Council, and has served as a peer reviewer on numerous state and national grant panels. Laura McGough holds a PhD from the Department of Media Studies at the University at Buffalo and an M.A. from New York University. Born and raised in Jamestown, McGough is a Western New York native.