A reception was held in January at the Landmark Centre in Bristol, Tenn., in honor of Rich Boyd, who recently retired after 28 years as executive director of the Tennessee Arts Commission (TAC).
More than 75 people attended the event, which was hosted by Arts Alliance Mountain Empire, Johnson City Area Arts Council, KingsportARTS, and past chairs of the TAC - Nancy DeFriece, Ed Gerace, and Ann Smith. Tennessee Lt. Gov. Ron Ramsey spoke, as well as city officials from Johnson City and Bristol.
Representatives from various arts agencies spoke briefly on their respective organizations and how Boyd and the TAC played a role in making each of them a success. Among those speaking on behalf of the arts were Jordan Pennington, Arts Alliance Mountain Empire; Cathie Faust, KingsportARTS; Cornelia Laemmli-Orth, Symphony of the Mountains; Richard Rose, Barter Theatre; and Leah Ross, Rhythm & Roots Reunion and Birthplace of Country Music Alliance (BCMA).
"The number in attendance to honor the contributions to the arts by Rich Boyd far exceeded all expectations," said Fred McClellan, founding president of BCMA. "It was a celebration that represented the diverse spectrum of arts organizations and leadership, from throughout Northeast Tennessee and Southwest Virginia. Together, we salute Rich Boyd. The arts make good sense, good business, and improve the quality of life."
During Boyd's tenure with TAC, the organization became one of the foremost agencies in the nation for public funding, arts education, advocacy, promotion and preservation of cultural heritage, strategic planning, support of individual artists, and innovative services to constituents in all arts disciplines. During Boyd's 12 years as director, funding provided by TAC for cultural activities increased from $2.8 million to $7.3 million.
"It has been more than an honor to work with the dedicated members of the board, an energetic and talented staff, and with so many gifted arts leaders, supporters and artists across the state," said Boyd. "I have been on an incredible journey, enjoying every road I have traveled and delighting in the many individual paths I have crossed. It was a new adventure every day."