At the March 17 annual membership meeting, The Society of the Four Arts unanimously elected Susie Elson as the new chair of the board of trustees. Elson replaces Patrick Henry, who stepped down after serving for seven years.
Susie Elson is well-known in Palm Beach as a champion for community service. For nearly 50 years, Elson has been a volunteer leader supporting causes ranging from arts and education to the social services. She is a long-time trustee of The Society of the Four Arts where she has served as chair of the art acquisitions committee for many years and was chairman of the Four Arts Biennial Gala in 2010.
She served as chair of the American Craft Council and is an honorary trustee of the Museum of Arts and Design in New York. She was a trustee of the American Federation of Arts, the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts and was the co-chairman of the Southeastern Center for Contemporary Art in Winston Salem. She is a member of the International Council of the Museum of Modern Art in New York City.
In Atlanta where Elson lived for 40 years, she was a trustee of the High Museum, a board member for the Metropolitan Atlanta Community Foundation, a trustee of the Atlanta Arts Alliance and a board member of the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra.
For many years, Elson was deeply involved in higher education, serving as a trustee of Fisk University, Randolph Macon Women’s College, the Emory University Board of Visitors and the board of governors of Eugene Lang College, New School in New York. In 1992, she was appointed by the Governor of Georgia to the state board of regents, the governing body of Georgia’s state university system comprised of 34 universities with more than 200,000 students. Her longstanding interest in mental health issues on the local and state levels culminated in her serving as president of the National Mental Health Association, which has more than 1 million members.
Elson has received numerous honors and awards, including the YWCA Greater Atlanta Academy of Women Achievers award, the alumnae achievement award from Randolph Macon Women’s College, Palm Beach Atlantic Women of Distinction Award, and the Channel 11 Community Service Award. She was honored as a visionary of the Museum of Arts and Design. An experienced business leader, she served as vice president of marketing for Elson’s, which was America’s largest retail gift shop chain serving the traveling public. She is listed in Who’s Who in American Women and Who’s Who in America. She has been married since 1957 to Ambassador Edward Elson, the American ambassador to Denmark from 1993 to 1998. They have three sons and seven grandchildren.
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