Creative Conversation: Margie Johnson Reese

Recorded On: 10/16/2019


About this Creative Conversation

2019 Selina Roberts Ottum Award for Arts Leadership 

Margie Johnson Reese

The Selina Roberts Ottum Award for Arts Leadership recognizes an individual working in arts management who has made a meaningful contribution to his or her local community and who exemplifies extraordinary leadership qualities. Margie Johnson Reese, museum educator and arts educator was selected as the 2019 Selina Roberts Ottum Awardee. In addition to her work in Wichita Falls, Margie continues to touch lives and influence cultural policy in cities across the country  and around the world, creating a network of proselytes who pay it forward by following her approach to service. She is most proud of those she has mentored over the years – the young leaders who because of Margie’s guidance have learned to think boldly about their role in public service. Joined by Arts and Culture Leaders of Color Steering Committee Member, Phil Chan, the two will discuss how the past is shaping the future of arts leadership and learn more about Margie and her journey in the arts and culture field.

About the Series

For 2019 National Arts & Humanities Month we are taking Creative Conversations to a new level. To engage with leaders in the field, this year’s National Arts Awardees will be in conversation with fellow leaders to discuss issues relevant to today’s community-based arts administrators. Responding to this year’s Creative Conversation prompt, “how is the past shaping the future of the arts?.” awardees will give their insight on how their work impacts their community and organization.

Margie Johnson Reese

Consultant and Professor

Margie Johnson Reese has a 30-year portfolio as an arts management professional and has contributed to public policy in areas of public participation in the arts, public art policy and practice, community development, and cultural master planning and her career has included arts leadership in Dallas and Los Angeles.  She has been an advisor to the nation’s most diverse communities. She has worked directly with artists and other creative professionals to enhance their employment and business opportunities, in both the nonprofit and commercial sectors. She has guided the development of numerous cultural facilities and managing architectural design, budget and staff to guarantee that pubic service is a priority.

She served as a grant maker for the Ford Foundation in their Office for West Africa as the Program Officer for Media, Arts and Culture. In that capacity, she cites among her major accomplishments funding the restoration of the slave castles in Ghana and Nigeria and providing funding to preserve the ancient Arabic manuscripts of Timbuktu in Mali.

Margie formed MJR Partners, LLC in 2010, and provides professional arts management services and guidance to communities for planning, stabilizing and implementing inclusive public policy. Her clients have engaged her services to assist in stimulating strategic partnerships between the cultural sector and government agencies, foundations, corporations, and academic institutions to advance cultural understanding. She is a professor at Goucher College in Towson, Maryland, teaching Cultural Policy in the Arts in the graduate Arts Administration program. A graduate of Washington State University in Pullman, Washington with a BS in Speech and Theater, Margie holds an MFA in Theater from Trinity University in San Antonio, Texas. She is a native of Baton Rouge, Louisiana.


Phil Chan

Co-Founder, Final Bow for Yellowface

Phil Chan is a co-founder of Final Bow for Yellowface. He is a graduate of Carleton College and an alumnus of the Ailey School. As a writer, he served as the Executive Editor for FLATT Magazine and contributed to Dance Europe Magazine, Dance Magazine, and the Huffington Post. He was the Director of Programming for IVY, the founding General Manager of the Buck Hill Skytop Music Festival, and was the General Manager for Armitage Gone! Dance and Youth America Grand Prix. He served multiple years on the National Endowment for the Arts dance panel and the Jadin Wong Award panel presented by the Asian American Arts Alliance, and is on the advisory committee for the Parsons Dance Company. He also serves on the Leaders of Color steering committee at Americans for the Arts. He has given talks at the New York Library for the Performing Arts at Lincoln Center, the 92Y, the Guggenheim's Works & Process, the Museum at F.I.T., the Philadelphia Academy of Fine Arts, Purchase College, the Joffrey Ballet School, among others, and has collaborated with Ballet West, Pennsylvania Ballet, Arena Stages, and New York City Center.


Instagram: @philschan | @finalbowforyellowface

Twitter: @philschan


Creative Conversation with Margie Johnson Reese Webinar