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Culture notes: Arts and Culture Coalition CEO leaving Atlanta; Woodruff CEO going to Tech; Kenny Leon honored

Atlanta has lost another arts advocate.

Metro Atlanta Arts and Culture Coalition CEO Flora Maria Garcia is leaving her post to accept a leadership position in Orlando. Garcia’s first day as CEO and president of United Arts of Central Florida will be May 29, according to an announcement on the MAACC website by MAACC board chair Mara Holley.

From Texas where she served as the president of the Arts Council of Fort Worth and Tarrant County, Garcia was wooed to the MAACC post in part by former Atlanta Mayor Shirley Franklin in 2007. At the time, cracks in the national economy were just beginning to show and the hope was that Garcia would be able to build greater legislative and private funding for the arts.

Garcia was at the forefront of getting a bill introduced during the 2010 session of the Georgia Assembly that would have allowed counties to use sales tax money to help local arts organizations. The bill has failed twice, but as recently as last winter Garcia was talking about trying to get it reintroduced in 2013.

Despite the legislative setback, Garcia led the agency as it collaborated with the Atlanta Regional Commission to hold a series of public forums on other ways to strengthen the public/private partnership in arts support.

“I will miss Atlanta and hope that efforts in the near future are successful in securing a much needed dedicated funding stream for the arts, so that the industry can continue to thrive,” Garcia said in a statement. ROSALIND BENTLEY

ARTS
Woodruff CEO Bankoff switching to Tech

Joe Bankoff, president and CEO of the Woodruff Arts Center, is heading to Georgia Tech to lead the Sam Nunn School of International Affairs.

He will retire from Woodruff next month and is scheduled to start at Tech in September, school officials announced Friday.

Bankoff, a former senior partner with the law firm King & Spalding, has experience with government, economic development, fiscal planning and global issues. He’s been involved with policy forums at the school. LAURA DIAMOND

THEATER
Kenny Leon honored by Theatre Communications Group

Atlanta director Kenny Leon, who had two plays on Broadway last year, is being honored by Theatre Communications Group (TCG) as it celebrates its 50th anniversary tonight in New York. Also being honored at the gala at Espace will be Judith O. Rubin and the Shubert Foundation. Theatre Communications Group is an organization with the mission of promoting non-profit professional theater in the United States.

Leon has been back in Atlanta this spring filming a “Steel Magnolias” remake for Lifetime channel starring Queen Latifah. The AJC’s Jennifer Brett made a recent set visit. Her story: www.accessatlanta.com/celebrities-tv/a-visit-to-the-1422766.html. HOWARD POUSNER

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