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 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 Director Emeritus 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. In 2019, she received the Selina Roberts Ottum award from Americans for the Arts. This award recognizes an individual working in arts management who has made a meaningful contribution to his or her local community. 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.