Woodstock Resident Selected For Arts Leaders Program

Shawn McLeod, president of the Elm Street Cultural Arts Village's board of directors, will participate in the Arts Leaders of Metro Atlanta program.

A Woodstock resident has been selected to participate in the Arts Leaders of Metro Atlanta program.

Shawn McLeod will participate in the five-day, five month program coordinated by the Atlanta Regional Commission, which encourages "leaders throughout the community to take an active role in solving the issues and challenges facing the region’s arts & culture community."

This year's five classes will be held on Jan. 16, Feb. 20, March 20, April 17 and May 8. 

Cherokee Bank President & CEO Dennis Burnette, a citizen member of the ARC's Board, nominated McLeod for the program. The bank is also sponsoring McLeod's tuition in the program. 

"Shawn is an informed and powerful advocate for the arts in Woodstock," added Dale Morrissey, vice president of Cherokee Bank. "This program will provide her with further knowledge and tools."

Burnette enlisted the help of Woodstock artist Ann Litrel, who also serves on Elm Street's board of directors, to find a suitable nominee for the initiative. 

He noted both Litrel and Elm Street Arts' Artistic Director Gay Grooms have both participated in the program in the past.

"Ms. McLeod met the qualifications of the person that we wanted to provide with a tuition scholarship," Burnette said. "She is both passionate about the value of the arts in the community and is a leader."

This is the first year the ARC is organizing the program. It was originally a program of the Metro Atlanta Arts and Culture Coalition, or MAACC.

Greg Burbidge, who coordinates the program for the ARC, said the program seeks to select a diverse number of people to participate.

Candidates are typically pulled from the arts and culture, government and nonprofit and the business sector across the region. 

The participants will learn about issues facing the arts community at the local, regional and national level and what other arts groups are facing in different parts of the region. 

Burbidge also said participants will get an overview of information on roughly 2,800 arts and culture nonprofit organizations in the Atlanta region, the state of arts in the suburbs and regional demographic information compiled by the ARC. 

Burbidge also noted McLeod's application was "highly scored."

"We are really excited to have Shawn in the class," he said.  

McLeod has been at the forefront along with other arts enthusiasts in establishing the Elm Street Cultural Arts Village, which she currently serves as president of its board of directors.

Elm Street Arts currently operates out of the Chambers at City Center in downtown Woodstock, but McLeod and others on the Elm Street board of directors have been in the process of fundraising and remodeling the old Reeves home that sits on Elm Street. 

The home and the land it sits on would be used as the permanent place for Elm Street Arts, and could feature a community theatre, visual arts center and green space. 

McLeod, 44, graduated from the Savannah College of Arts and Design and operated the Roomscpaes Gallery & Heartworks Studio until she closed the business last year.

She and husband Richard have two children and live in the Deer Run community.


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