Margie Reese – Executive Director
A native of Baton Rouge, Louisiana Margie Johnson Reese brings exceptional skills in cultural policy planning and implementation design. Margie’s career has included arts leadership in Dallas and Los Angeles. Currently Executive Director of the a newly created Wichita Falls Alliance for Arts and Culture, Margie has responsibility for establishing arts policy, artists training programs and creating new grant making programs to service Wichita Falls, Texas and the surrounding areas.
Margie 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 led the ongoing efforts of the Foundation focusing on heritage preservation, conservation, museum education, governance and cultural policy. 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. Prior to her work with the Ford Foundation, Margie served as General Manager of the City of Los Angeles Department of Cultural Affairs; and as Director of the City of Dallas, Office of Cultural Affairs.
Margie is a long time board member of Americans for the Arts and is Chair of the Board’s Diversity and Inclusion Task Force. She is an active grants review panelist for the National Endowment for the Arts, and continues to serve as an adviser to the Association of African Museums in Nairobi, Kenya. Margie was recognized with the 2014 National Guild for Community Arts Education’s Lifetime Service Award for her lifelong dedication to increasing young people’s access to arts learning opportunities, both in and out of school; and for her powerful advocacy and action for equity and diversity.
She began her collegiate pursuits at Southern University in Baton Rouge, and transferred to Washington State University in Pullman, Washington to earn a BS in Speech and Theater. Margie holds a Master’s of Fine Arts in Theater from Trinity University in San Antonio, Texas. She is a Fellow of the Salzburg Global Seminar in Salzburg, Austria and an adjunct professor at Goucher College in Baltimore, Maryland where she teaches Public Policy in the Arts.
Vanessa Alonzo – Program Coordinator
Vanessa is a Wichita Falls native and a 2010 graduate of John Hirschi International Bachelorette Magnet High School. She holds Bachelor’s Degree in Business, with a concentration in the Fine Arts from the prestigious Saint Joseph’s College in Brooklyn, New York.
Vanessa refers to her time in Brooklyn as her “dual education”, both in Business and in the diverse arts and cultural resources in New York City. Her experiences in the classroom, gallery visits, and partaking in the richness of cultures of the people in “The Big Apple” allowed her to take giant steps along her journey toward a career in the field of arts administration. She credits the formal training shared by her professors, and the informal learning that was easily accessible and available throughout New York City, with making her four years there a very stimulating and enriching experience. Committed to returning to her hometown, Vanessa came back to Wichita Falls equipped with a clear understanding of the next phase in her life’s work. She has become a mentor, tutor and advocate for giving young people tools to explore and participate in the arts and in cultural activities.
Believing that “no true artist ever stops being a student”, Vanessa is enrolled as a graduate student at MSU, working on an advanced degree in Business. She joins the Wichita Falls Alliance for Art and Culture as a Program Coordinator – bringing her passion, curiosity and trained eye for excellence in the visual arts and cultural expression. Vanessa’s work will focus on developing the first ever Artist Roster for Wichita Falls and the surrounding region, in an effort to document the many individuals, from all genres, backgrounds and ages, who make art and are involved in the creative process in the city.
Meet our MSU Intern:
Jordan is an MBA student at Midwestern State University and is expecting to graduate May 2019. Her undergraduate degree is in Accounting. She is already a member of our local arts community, having worked at the Wichita Theatre for 7 years as a Production Assistant and Assistant Box Office Manager.
The good news for us is that Jordan understands both the language of the non-profit sector and the requirements of solid financial management for arts organizations. We are thrilled to have Jordan working with us this semester.
Jordan will be assisting with the 2017 Grants process and creating data on all the final reports for the 2016-17 grants. firstname.lastname@example.org