Cultural Alliance of Greater Birmingham Announces Buddy Palmer As New President and CEO

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The Cultural Alliance of Greater Birmingham announced today the hiring of Ralph "Buddy" Palmer as the new President and CEO. Palmer begins work on September 2, 2008. Palmer was selected for the position from a pool of twenty-five local and national applicants.

Buddy Palmer replaces Kathy Yarborough, who left the post in October of 2007 to join the Alabama Symphony Orchestra. Former board member, Ann McMillan, has served as the interim director since October.

Immediately prior to accepting the job with the Cultural Alliance of Greater Birmingham, Palmer served as the Executive Director of the Acadiana Arts Council in Lafayette, Louisiana. During his 13 year tenure there, he oversaw the building and programming of a community arts center, administered granting and public arts programs, worked with state legislators to secure new arts funding, and supervised Arts-In-Education and Creative Economy programs that earned state and national acclaim. Palmer is originally from Selma, Alabama.

When asked about his acceptance of the position, Palmer said, "I am personally energized by the level of passion, quality, diversity, and commitment that exists among the arts and cultural organizations in Birmingham. There is clearly great community and collaboration and I can't wait to help advance the mission of the Cultural Alliance. I strongly believe that there is tremendous value in a collective voice."

Palmer's first act as the new President and CEO of the Cultural Alliance of Greater Birmingham is to embark on a cultural tour of the Birmingham area. Within his first six weeks in the new position, he intends to visit and interact with over 50 of the cultural and art organizations in the region. "My goal is to build on the excellent work that has been done by the Cultural Alliance and explore new ways to unite the entire arts and culture sector. I intend to spend a great deal of time listening and learning as I step into this new position," said Palmer.

This announcement comes on the heels of an exciting summer for the Cultural Alliance. The organization just completed their first Federal Grant initiative through which 13 free workshops were conducted across the region helping 238 individual artists succeed as entrepreneurs and small business people. Also via this initiative the Cultural Alliance launched the ASK ARTIE! section of the http://www.activeculture.info website. This free online cultural marketplace connects individual artists, arts/cultural organizations, venues, galleries, sector resources and services and the general public. This growing directory (over 700 entries to date) helps fuel and quantify the cultural sectors' economic impact.

Additionally, the Cultural Alliance has worked effectively with the Birmingham City Council and Mayor Larry Langford to advocate for continued substantial financial investment in the cultural sector including direct support in the FY09 budget for over two dozen arts and cultural organizations including the Cultural Alliance. With this funding the Cultural Alliance will continue to advocate for and promote the entire cultural sector according to the Cultural Master Plan.

About the Cultural Alliance:
The Cultural Alliance is the umbrella organization providing support to the cultural sector in 12 north central Alabama counties whose residents comprise one third the population of the state. In this capacity, the Cultural Alliance serves arts and cultural organizations and working artists across all disciplines and levels of expertise.

The Cultural Alliance's mandate is to:

  • oversee the implementation of the Cultural Master Plan of Greater Birmingham created by over 1,000 area residents in 2003.
  • advocate for the entire cultural sector including the securing of a permanent source of funds to re-grant to arts and cultural organizations;
  • broadly market the cultural sector helping providers reach new audiences and increase their earned income;
  • facilitate bringing together diverse voices throughout the cultural sector to address opportunities, problems and issues;
  • provide focused technical assistance to arts and cultural organizations and working artists;
  • connect arts education providers with educators.

Visit http://www.cultural-alliance.com and http://www.activeculture.info for additional information.

More about the Cultural Master Plan of Greater Birmingham:
In 2002, Region 2020 commissioned Wolf, Keens & Company, a leading arts consultant, to develop an arts and cultural master plan as one of its major initiatives. Region 2020 is a nonprofit organization which advocates for regional cooperation and citizen involvement in Central Alabama to improve quality of life in areas such as education, affordable housing, the environment, transportation, and the arts. The Cultural Master Plan was officially released in March 2003 by Region 2020. The plan listed the formation of a cultural organization as a key strategy in providing consistent coordination and leadership for the arts and cultural sector. Region 2020 served a crucial role establishing the infrastructure of the Cultural Alliance of Greater Birmingham before spinning it off in September 2003. For a copy of the Cultural Master Plan, visit http://www.cultural-alliance.com/masterplan.html.

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