BALTIMORE, MD (December 10, 2021) – Maryland Department of Commerce Secretary Kelly M. Schulz joined today with Maryland State Arts Council Chair Jacqueline Copeland to announce Steven Skerritt-Davis as the next executive director of the Maryland State Arts Council (MSAC), an agency of Maryland Commerce. A longtime arts advocate and performer with more than 20 years experience in the arts sector, Skerritt-Davis will take on his new role on December 15, following the six-month tenure holding the position in an interim capacity.
"Steven has been an invaluable member of the Maryland State Arts Council team for years and we're very lucky to now have him at the helm," said Maryland Commerce Secretary Kelly M. Schulz. "He is a dedicated and passionate supporter of the arts in Maryland, and has played a critical role in providing financial support to artists and arts organizations during the COVID-19 pandemic. We believe he will do an excellent job serving the state’s arts sector."
Steven Skerritt-Davis joined the staff in February 2017 as Program Director, then served as Deputy Director for several years, overseeing the County Arts Agencies of Maryland, Arts & Entertainment Districts, and marketing and communications. Steven grew up in Tulsa, Oklahoma and danced professionally with Tulsa Ballet, American Ballet Theater Studio Company, and Ballet West. After retiring from a ten-year career, he earned his bachelor's degree magna cum laude from Brown University where he focused his studies on philanthropy and non-profit management.
Prior to joining MSAC, Steven worked as Program Coordinator for the National Dance Project at the New England Foundation for the Arts, and as Director of External Relations for Lumberyard Contemporary Performing Arts, where he helped secure grants and partnerships that brought the organization to national prominence. In addition, he helped conceive and initiate a creative placemaking effort for a dance residency facility in New York’s Hudson Valley.
“I am thrilled to have the opportunity to lead the Maryland State Arts Council and continue working with arts communities across the state,” said Skerritt-Davis. “Maryland is fortunate to have robust support for the arts and a talented and dedicated staff and Council at MSAC that work diligently to ensure that the arts are accessible to every person. I look forward to building on our track record of embracing and promoting equitable programs and transparent processes that ensure that Maryland’s arts sector remains strong.”
"The Councilors are incredibly pleased that Steven has been selected Executive Director,” said Jacqueline Copeland, chair of MSAC. “In his former position as Deputy Director, Steven had already demonstrated an ability to guide the organization with a leadership and management style that enabled MSAC to be one of the top state arts agencies in the country. We look forward to working with him as he crafts his vision for MSAC.”
"Maryland Citizens for the Arts (MCA) applauds the Department of Commerce and the Councilors at the Maryland State Arts Council on the thorough and thoughtful national search for the new Executive Director. The selection of Steven Skerritt-Davis firmly positions the MSAC to continue implementing more equitable procedures within the agency, as he has shown tremendous dedication to advancing and empowering the Maryland arts sector," said Nicholas Cohen, executive director of Maryland Citizens for the Arts. "MCA looks forward to supporting Steven's leadership and vision at the MSAC and further expanding investment for all Maryland artists and arts organizations."
Skerritt-Davis was selected by a committee convened by the MSAC board and made up of representatives from the Council and the Department of Commerce.
About Maryland State Arts Council
Founded in 1967, MSAC is an agency of the State of Maryland Department of Commerce, Division of Tourism, Film and the Arts, that plays an essential role, ensuring every person has access to the transformative power of the arts. MSAC advances the arts in our state by providing leadership that champions creative expression, diverse programming, equitable access, lifelong learning, and the arts as a celebrated contributor to the quality of life for all the people of Maryland. To do this, the agency awards grants to not-for-profit, tax-exempt organizations for ongoing arts programming and projects, awards grants to individual artists, and provides technical and advisory assistance to individuals and groups. MSAC receives its funds in an annual appropriation from the State of Maryland and from grants from the National Endowment for the Arts, a federal agency. The Council may also receive contributions from private, non-governmental sources. For more information, go to msac.org.
About Maryland Commerce
Maryland Commerce stimulates private investment and creates jobs by attracting new businesses, encouraging the expansion and retention of existing companies, and providing financial assistance to Maryland companies. The Department promotes the State's many economic advantages and markets local products and services at home and abroad to spur economic development and international investment, trade and tourism. Since they are major economic generators, the Department also supports the arts, film production, sports and other special events. For more information, visit commerce.maryland.gov.