Arts-Based Community Development Convening
Transforming Post-Industrial Cities through Art and Innovation
April 12 through 14, 2012 - St. Louis

Jill McGuire

St. Louis, Missouri

Jilll McGuire Color Feb 2012 in silver and black jacket she likes

Jill McGuire is the Executive Director of the Regional Arts Commission of St. Louis (RAC) McGuire founded and has led the Regional Arts Commission (RAC), the St. Louis region’s largest arts agency, for the last 26 years. She has been recognized for her leadership, arts advocacy and creative approaches to grantmaking, having distributed more than 5600 grants, totaling over $73 million.

In 2003, McGuire oversaw the design and construction of the RAC Cultural Resource Center, a 20,000 square foot arts center, housing administrative offices, a gallery, performance and rehearsal space and flexible meeting space for the arts community. Her other major accomplishments include: promoting individual artists through public/private partnerships such as ArtSpace – retail space reinvented as a thriving artists’ colony; hosting the first Community Arts Convening in the country; advocating for and establishing the first percent for art program in the City of St. Louis; creating a major arts stabilization fund; establishing a cultural tourism action-plan for the region; creating the Arts Commandos, a unique volunteer corps for the arts; and establishing a strong cultural diversity and freedom of expression policies for the Commission.

McGuire’s leadership in the arts extends beyond the St. Louis region and the state of Missouri. Internationally, she has represented arts exchanges in Taiwan and Ireland. McGuire has been a long-time advocate for greater public support for the arts. She currently serves on the Missouri Citizens for the Arts board, an advocacy organization for the state arts council. In the early ‘90’s, McGuire was one of the founding directors of the first art political action committee in the United States, Arts and Humanities for America or AHA!

McGuire has also served as board member and past vice president of Americans for the Arts; president of the United States Urban Arts Federation, an alliance of executive directors of the local arts agencies in the nation’s fifty largest cities; and committee member for the National Association of Counties, Arts and Culture Committee. She has been invited for the last two years to the inaugural Executive Leadership Institute at the Aspen Institute and the Sundance Lodge.

She has been named one of the “Influentials” by the St. Louis Business Journal for several years and has received national, state and local awards for her leadership in the arts.

McGuire has been a Community and Cultural Policy Instructor for the Masters of Arts Administration Program at Webster University, and is frequently a guest speaker, lecturer and presenter.

Prior to the Regional Arts Commission, McGuire served as Executive Assistant to Mayor Vince Schoemehl, with whom she worked to create the Commission in 1985. During her tenure in the Mayor’s Office, McGuire worked on international flight business to St. Louis, the Convention and Tourism Commission and special initiatives of the Mayor’s office such as cable TV and ballot issues.


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