The Arizona Commission on the Arts is pleased to announce that Alexandra Nelson has been promoted to the position of Deputy Director. The position was most recently held by Jaime Dempsey, who was promoted to Executive Director in August following the retirement of Robert C. Booker. Nelson previously served as the Arts Commission’s Senior Director of Grants and Programs.
“Alex has an almost-supernatural blend of talents: she possesses an artist’s creativity and vision, a predisposition for authentic collaboration, keen insight for planning and program design, a sharp focus and inexhaustible drive. She is a strong cultivator of skills in others, and no one works harder than Alex. I am thrilled that she’s chosen to continue dedicating her many gifts in service to Arizonans through the Arts Commission’s work, and I look forward to our ongoing partnership.”
Jaime Dempsey, Executive Director, Arizona Commission on the Arts
Nelson began her tenure with the Arizona Commission on the Arts in 2008, as an intern supporting Arts Learning initiatives. In 2009, she was hired as Arts Learning Coordinator and Arizona Poetry Out Loud Manager, and in 2011, was promoted to Director of Arts Learning, overseeing the agency’s comprehensive slate of arts education programs, services, investments, and local and national partnerships. Given the strength of her leadership and depth of knowledge of agency programs, Nelson was once again promoted to the position of Senior Director of Grants and Programs in 2016.
As Director of Arts Learning, Nelson played a central role in the design and implementation of some of the Arts Commission’s most innovative and impactful initiatives, including the Strengthening Schools Through Arts Partnerships program, which funds partnerships between arts organizations and Title I schools, and Arizona Art Tank, which invited applicants to pitch entrepreneurial arts-based ventures to live audiences and expert panels for up to $10,000 in seed funding.
In 2015, Nelson designed and launched AZ Creative Aging, a three-year initiative to advance the creative aging field in Arizona, through research, infrastructure development, and creative professional training for multiple elder-care stakeholder groups. In support of this initiative Nelson secured a three-year, $225,000 grant from Virginia G. Piper Charitable Trust.
Nelson has served as a member of the National Assembly of State Arts Agencies’ Arts Education Advisory Group and on the boards of VSA Arizona and Emerging Arts Leaders Phoenix. She has also worked as a teaching artist, museum educator, and production manager for dance and theatre. She is a graduate of Arizona State University with a BFA in Dance Choreography and a BA in French, and is currently pursuing a Master of Arts in Creative Enterprise and Cultural Leadership at ASU.