Montford Park Players CEO Named to NC Arts Council

John Russell

The Montford Park Players of Asheville, North Carolina’s longest running Shakespeare Festival, is pleased to announce that Governor Roy Cooper has appointed John Russell, its Executive Director and CEO, to the Board of Directors of the North Carolina Arts Council.

The board advises the Secretary of the Department of Cultural Resources on the policies and programs of the N.C. Arts Council.

General responsibilities include evaluating staff recommendations on policy, operational guidelines and program guidelines to determine their consistency with enabling legislation; providing recommendations of a budget for the Arts Council as developed and proposed by staff in cooperation with the chairperson; serving as an advocacy organization for the arts; periodically reviewing and re-evaluating Arts Council policy.

Russell is in his twelfth year as Executive Director of the Montford Park Players.  Born and raised in Asheville, he is a 1970 alumnus of the Governor’s School of North Carolina, attended the University of North Carolina, and has worked in arts management for most of his career.  He holds the Certificate in Nonprofit Management from Duke University, and is active in the Institute of Outdoor Theatre and the Shakespeare Theatre Association, as well as the North Carolina Theatre Conference and the Southeastern Theatre Conference.

He also serves on the board of directors of the North Carolina Governor’s School Foundation, where he was active this year in the successful grassroots campaign to save the nation’s oldest and premier summer enrichment program for gifted and talented high school students, after the NC Senate voted to eliminate funding.  He is also Secretary-Treasurer of the Rotary Club of Asheville-Metro, and is a Paul Harris Fellow of The Rotary Foundation.

“I am honored and humbled by this appointment, and the trust Governor Cooper has placed in me”, said Russell, “and will work to promote the arts throughout Western North Carolina and the entire State.  The arts are both a vital part of what makes us a civilized people, and also an amazing economic engine that delivers an economic impact in our community far out of proportion to its size.  The nonprofit arts and culture sector supports nearly 72,000 full-time equivalent jobs statewide and returns over $201 million to local and state government.”

About Shelby Harrell
Shelby Harrell is the news editor of the Biltmore Beacon, editor of The Guide arts and entertainment publication and is a staff writer for Mountaineer Publishing. Originally from Asheville, she has worked in journalism for more than six years and currently lives in Clyde, NC.