The Arizona Commission on the Arts, an agency of the State of Arizona, announced today the departure of Organizational Grants and Services Manager Kristen Pierce Kent, who will leave the agency on November 1, 2019, to move into the political arena, ultimately seeking public office in the near future. The agency will commence a search to fill the vacancy on October 28.

“Kristen has been an integral member of the team during a period of significant change, both for the Arts Commission and the arts and culture sector,” said Arts Commission Executive Director, Jaime Dempsey. “In her work, she provided insightful, thorough, and compassionate service to hundreds of arts organizations and thousands of individuals advancing the work of arts and culture in Arizona cities, towns, and neighborhoods. We know Kristen will bring the same kind of thoughtful engagement to her next endeavor, and we are excited to watch her take this next step.”

Pierce Kent joined the Arts Commission staff in summer 2012. In her seven years with the agency, she managed the annual review process for two of the agency’s largest grant programs: Festival Grants and Community Investment Grants, with over $14 million awarded through the programs during Pierce Kent’s tenure.

Pierce Kent also worked diligently to support the development of arts communities in rural and remote communities throughout the state and since 2016 has functioned as the Arts Commission’s accessibility coordinator. In this capacity, she worked closely with ArtAbility AZ to provide training and resources to help nonprofit arts organizations move beyond minimal ADA compliance and embrace a more expansive, holistic view of accessibility in their programming. With Pierce Kent’s departure and in response to some upcoming programmatic changes in alignment with the agency’s NextAZ Plan, a search for a modified version of the Organizational Grants and Services position will be posted to the Arts Commission website and the State of Arizona jobs board on October 28, 2019.