Senior Programs Director

A native of Baton Rouge, Louisiana Margie Johnson Reese brings exceptional skills in cultural policy planning and implementation design. An educator and life-long advocate for children and the arts, she has more than 40 years’ experience in the field of arts administration.

Margie’s career in arts administration and reputation as a leader was established within some of the field’s largest public institutions, including service as Director of the Office of Cultural Affairs for the City of Dallas and General Manager for the City of Los Angeles Department of Cultural Affairs where she held her position under three Mayoral administrations. Her expertise as a grantmaker was tapped by the Ford Foundation to advance cultural projects in West Africa. Based in Lagos, Nigeria, her three-year appointment centered on cultural policy development and the conservation of West Africa’s tangible and intangible cultural heritage. Following her service in West Africa, Margie returned to Dallas and took the position of Vice President for Programs at Big Thought, a renowned art learning organization she helped create 30 years ago.

Margie was recognized with the 2019 Selena Roberts Ottum Award for Arts Leadership by Americans for the Arts, which recognizes an individual working in arts management who has made a meaningful contribution to his or her local community. She was named the 2020 Visionary Nonprofit Arts Leader in 2020 by the North Texas Business Council for the Arts.

Margie received a BA from Washington State University in Pullman, Washington, and an MFA in Theater from Trinity University in San Antonio, Texas, grounding her education in the arts.