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Lisa Richards Toney
Interim Executive Director, DC Commission on the Arts and Humanities
Lisa Richards Toney assumed the position of Interim Executive Director on March 30, 2015. She looks forward to working with the Chair, Commissioners, and sister agencies to lead the staff and its work with a “fresh” start comprised of new ideas and new strategies to achieve the mission of the agency. Prior to the Interim Director positon, Lisa held the position of Deputy Director of the DC Commission on the Arts and Humanities and served in that capacity since January 6, 2012 where she acted as the Chief Operating Officer for the city government agency in the execution of its mission to provide arts funding and educationally enriching opportunities to resident artists and arts organizations of the District of Columbia, ensuring that residents and visitors are afforded the opportunity to experience the rich culture of the city. Richards Toney has enjoyed the myriad of responsibilities within her purview, including leading the agency’s strategic planning efforts, imparting strategic analysis and recommendations for the agency’s creative economy strategy, and providing leadership to the agency’s staff in the mission critical areas of grant-making, finance and budgeting, public art, communications, legislative and community affairs, and special events.
Previously, Richards Toney was an independent consultant specializing in arts management with a particular focus on strategic planning for arts organizations and production and event management. From September 2006 until October 2010, Lisa Richards Toney enjoyed a rewarding career in public service with DC Commission on the Arts and Humanities as Arts Program Manager and a brief term as Interim Deputy Director. In her position as Arts Program Manager, she acted, on behalf of the agency, as Executive Producer for over 15 major programs and events produced by the Arts Commission benefiting the local arts community and residents of Washington, DC. She also served as a Grants Administrator to several grant programs including UPSTART, Grants in Aid, Hip-Hop Community Arts Grants, and Elders Learning through the Arts.
Before joining the Arts Commission, Lisa held positions with the PEN/Faulkner Foundation (Washington, DC) as the National Director for the Writers In Schools Program, Executive Director of the Debbie Allen Dance Academy (Los Angeles, California), and Director of Education for the American Place Theatre (New York, NY). Each of the positions afforded Lisa the opportunity to acquire diverse professional experiences in producing and programming, fund development, marketing and branding, strategic planning, and arts education programming. Lisa was awarded a Vilar Institute for Arts Management Fellowship with the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts under the direction of Center President Michael M. Kaiser. She was also awarded a Thomas J. Watson Fellowship to study the management structure of Black British Dance Companies in the United Kingdom. She earned her Master’s Degree in Educational Theater from New York University with coursework in Arts Administration and her Bachelor’s Degree as a Presidential Scholar from Spelman College in Drama and English. Lisa Richards Toney also volunteers her professional expertise to the Advisory Board of the American University Graduate Program in Arts Management.