Congratulations to our new staff assignments

By Anne B. Pope, Executive Director –

Grace&JamesAlthough not entirely new to the Tennessee Arts Commission, we congratulate two staff members on their new positions–James Wells and Grace Robinson.

You may have previously met James as the Arts Education Special Projects Coordinator. Since joining the Commission staff in January of 2014, he has expertly and enthusiastically supported the Arts Education department in achieving its goals and serving the state of Tennessee. From site visits to grants management, James has proven himself to be adept in the arts and willing to work hard for the benefit of constituents. Although his contributions to the Arts Education program will be missed, we believe his leadership potential will be realized as Director of Arts Access.

James’ credentials include a wealth of experience with accessibility and inclusion. As a licensed K-12 visual art educator, he taught in Memphis, TN and in South Carolina where he worked with students of all abilities. Throughout his career, James has been instrumental in increasing access to the arts. Here at the Commission, as the event coordinator for the State Poetry Out Loud Competition, James worked with over 30 schools across the state, but was especially interested in involving students with disabilities. Partnering with VSA Tennessee, James implemented a Poetry Out Loud program at Beech High School in Hendersonville for their students with special needs.

James holds a Bachelor of Fine Arts in art education from the University of Memphis and a Master of Arts in arts administration from Winthrop University. He will assume the position of Director of Arts Access immediately.

Grace came to us as an intern while she was still earning her undergraduate degree from Middle Tennessee State University. Since May of 2014, she has assisted the Marketing and Development department of the Commission to cultivate the arts in Tennessee through communication. With her involvement, we have seen a remarkable increase of participation on our social media channels and have been able to continue to fill the new website with content.

Now the possessor of a Bachelor of Science in mass communication, with a concentration in advertising and public relations, Grace will serve in a staff position as the Public Information and Research Coordinator, effective July 1.