For Immediate Release
October 17, 2017

Contact: Steve Wilcox

On October 17, 2017, the Arizona Commission on the Arts, an agency of the State of Arizona, announced that Alexandra Nelson will be 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.

Alongside the announcement of Nelson’s promotion, the Arts Commission released a call for applicants for the positions of Arts Learning Manager and Operations and Human Resources Associate.

Alexandra Nelson

“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,” said Jaime Dempsey, Executive Director of the Arts Commission. “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.”

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.

Call for Applicants

With the advancement of Dempsey and Nelson into new roles, a general restructuring of staff duties, and a decision to fill an existing vacancy, the Arts Commission has issued a call for applicants for two full-time agency positions:

Arts Learning Manager

The Arts Learning Manager is responsible for providing thought leadership, conceptual and managerial oversight related to the Arts Commission’s comprehensive slate of Arts Learning programs and services, grantmaking, partnerships, and strategic initiatives. The Arizona Commission on the Arts maintains a lifelong learning mission, promoting and supporting learning in, through, and about the arts in formal and informal settings for learners, practitioners, and participants of all ages.

Operations and Human Resources Associate

The Operations and Human Resources Associate is an integral member of the Arts Commission team, managing agency operations and human resources processes, coordinating logistics related to the agency’s gubernatorially-appointed commission, and providing administrative support to agency leadership. The ideal candidate possesses superior organizational skills; the ability to manage personnel information and actions with sensitivity and respect; an interest in ongoing learning, work process improvement, and personnel development; and the capacity to establish productive relationships within the agency and with its many stakeholders and partners.

Those interested in either position are advised to visit to review comprehensive job descriptions, requirements, and application instructions. Applications will be accepted until the positions are filled. First review of applications will take place on November 1, 2017.

About the Arizona Commission on the Arts

One of 56 state and jurisdictional arts agencies across the United States, the Arizona Commission on the Arts is a 50-year-old agency of the State of Arizona and a leading force in the creative and professional development of Arizona’s arts sector. Through robust programs, research initiatives, and strategic grantmaking, the Arts Commission catalyzes arts-based partnerships that strengthen Arizona communities through the arts.

We imagine an Arizona where everyone can participate in and experience the arts.

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For more information on the Arizona Commission on the Arts, visit or contact Steve Wilcox, Communications Director, Arizona Commission on the Arts, at (602) 771-6536 or

To request this or any other agency publication in an alternative format, contact the Arts Commission offices at (602) 771-6502.

Images available upon request.