The Georgia Department of Economic Development (GDEcD) announced that Tina Lilly will be the new Executive Director of Georgia Council for the Arts, effective immediately. Lilly has served Georgia Council for the Arts for the last 14 years, most recently as director of the organization’s $2 million grant program.
A lifelong arts advocate, Lilly will lead Georgia Council for the Arts’ (GCA) mission to empower the arts industry in Georgia and artists around the state to cultivate healthy, vibrant communities that are rich in civic participation, cultural experiences, and economic prosperity. While the impact of COVID-19 has devastated creative industries around the world, throughout the pandemic GCA has continued its work to provide a lifeline through grants and connections to aid the industry’s $62.5 billion impact on the state, especially as people crave healthy creative escapes.
“Like the worldwide arts community over the last year, Georgia’s creative industries, which bring vitality, greater understanding, and overall health to our society as well as to our economy, have undergone challenges that will take sustained effort to return to full scale,” said Georgia Department of Economic Development Commissioner Pat Wilson. “In Tina Lilly, our Georgia arts community has a seasoned veteran who has not only worked with this community as a valuable resource throughout COVID-19, but also one who has redesigned the way our grants programs worked, allowing us to better adapt to their present and future needs. We thank Tina for her trusted leadership and look forward to the continued quality service she will provide for Georgia.”
Since the start of the pandemic, Lilly has overseen the administration of more than 225 state and federally funded grants and 63 Resiliency Grants, a one-time grant funded through the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act. She has also worked with the staff, GCA’s leadership council, and partners across the state to provide counsel, resources, and adjust GCA operations and procedures to be more effective in responding to ever-changing needs.
In addition to making adjustments for administration of fiscal year 2021 grants due to the impact of COVID-19, under Lilly’s leadership in December 2020, Georgia Council for the Arts amended their fiscal year 2022 grant guidelines. With a majority of arts organizations in Georgia remaining closed and most reducing staff due to pandemic-related losses, GCA made significant changes in the grant programs offered to make the application process less time-intensive, to require less of a cash match for applicants, and to support new types of programs such as virtual events.
“I am excited and honored to step into this position. The arts community across the State of Georgia consists of hundreds of thousands of hardworking people dedicating themselves to creating vibrant, thriving communities that are the foundation for economic and community development,” said Lilly. “I have the utmost respect for these artists and administrators, and I am humbled to be able to support them in their amazing and vital work.”
Lilly has also managed the creation of both the Vibrant Communities and Cultural Facilities Grant programs since her arrival at GCA in 2007. As a member of the Tourism Resource Team with GDEcD’s Tourism division, Explore Georgia, she has advised communities across the state on utilizing the arts for community and economic development. Prior to joining Georgia Council for the Arts, Lilly served as Executive Director of the Madison-Morgan Cultural Center in Madison, Georgia, as Administrative Director at 7 Stages Theatre in Atlanta, and as Managing Director at Live Bait Theatre in Chicago. She also worked as an Adjunct Professor at The Theatre School at DePaul University in Chicago, and a Freelance Director at various theatres in Chicago, Atlanta, and New York. Lilly earned her Master’s in Fine Arts from DePaul University and her undergraduate degree from Birmingham-Southern College.
“I am delighted that Governor Kemp and Commissioner Pat Wilson selected our longtime Georgia Council for the Arts staff member Tina Lilly as our new Executive Director,” said Georgia Council for the Arts Chairman J. Barry Schrenk. “I have worked with Tina for more than 10 years and have been constantly impressed with her professionalism, ideas, hard work, and leadership abilities. Our board and the citizens of Georgia are fortunate to have her service.”
Georgia Council for the Arts is chaired by J. Barry Schrenk of Tucker, along with eight additional leadership council members from across the state and two ex officio members named from the Georgia General Assembly. These positions are appointed by the Governor, and full council meetings are held no fewer than twice annually. In addition to providing advice and support, the Council is responsible for endorsing policy and fiscal recommendations, approving fundraising plans and goals, objectives, and direction of the agency.