Press Releases

Nashville Resident Stephanie B. Conner to be New Tennessee Arts Commission Chair FY15-16

Stephanie B. Conner of Nashville, Tennessee, will serve as the Tennessee Arts Commission Chair beginning July 1, 2015. The Commission members unanimously approved new leadership during the quarterly meeting held in Nashville on June 10, 2014. She will be joined in office by Vice-Chair, Lisa Bobango of Memphis and Secretary, Connie Weathers of Chattanooga.

“Ms. Conner has a long history with the Tennessee Arts Commission, and we are both pleased and honored that she will serve as Chair this year,” says Anne B. Pope, Tennessee Arts Commission Executive Director. “Her commitment to the arts and strong leadership skills have been and will continue to be a tremendous asset to the Commission and the state.”

Conner was appointed to the Tennessee Arts Commission by Governor Bill Haslam for a five-year term representing Congressional District 5 in 2012. She previously served on the Commission from FY 2002-2007, which included service as Commission Chair for FY05-06 and FY06-07. During FY14, Conner was chair of the Strategic Planning Committee and was part of the Allocations Committee.

“I am looking forward to continuing the work of ensuring that all Tennesseans have access to and can participate in the arts, especially for our children,” said Conner. “The arts and culture in Tennessee are broad and diverse—we have much to be proud of.”

Conner’s roots in the arts run deep–her mother, Eleanor Yoakum, is extensively involved in the arts and civic life in Claiborne County and also served on the Commission, including a year as chair; and her father, Robert Barger, is a talented craft artist. Conner has effectively advocated for arts on every level: local, region, state and now national. She was recently announced as a member of the 2015 board of directors for the National Assembly of State Arts Agencies (NASAA), having been elected to the board at the NASAA Assembly 2014 Conference in New Orleans.

Prior to her work with the Commission, Conner served as Assistant to the Governor for Boards and Commissions, Assistant to the Governor for Policy, and executive director of the Tennessee Film, Entertainment and Music Commission. She was also Board President of Tennesseans for the Arts (TFTA) and served on the Executive Committee and Board of Directors of South Arts. Currently, Conner serves on the Board of Directors of TFTA, as well as the Board of Watkins College of Art, Design & Film.

The Tennessee Arts Commission is a state arts agency whose mission is to cultivate the arts for the benefit of all Tennesseans and their communities. The Tennessee Arts Commission is governed by a 15-member board who are appointed by the Governor for five year terms. The Commission holds quarterly meetings that are open to the public. More information about the Tennessee Arts Commission can by found at the website,