Executive Director of the Greater Augusta Arts Council Retiring

Executive Director of the Greater Augusta Arts Council Retiring

The Board of Directors of the Greater Augusta Arts Council is grudgingly announcing the retirement of its Executive Director, Brenda Durant.  Hired in 1997, Brenda has guided the Arts Council into the 21st century impacting the Arts in Augusta, Georgia for three decades with vision, dedication and passion.  Under her leadership the popular Arts in the Heart Festival was transformed from a small local festival into the nationally award-winning festival that draws over 100,000 attendees on the third weekend of September every year. Arts in the Heart has become known for celebrating the diversity of our city with a shared focus on international food, Fine Arts and Crafts and curated performances by local and regional performers. Devoted to building the next generation of artists, Brenda added the Young Artist Market, which allows youth to sell their creative works at the festival. She has been instrumental (no pun intended) in growing the music aspect of the festival over the years, including bringing in Blue Bird Café for two years, Singer Songwriter events, and national performers. She was also a part of the team that initially conceived of what became the Westobou Festival, and helped coordinate it for the first few years, before it became an independent event.


She has served on countless committees over the years, including Georgia Arts Network, Metro Chamber of Commerce, Leadership Augusta, Imperial Theater Board and hosted the Arts Weekly Radio show on Perry Broadcasting for eleven years.


Brenda’s dream of the Arts Council becoming the Public Art Agency came true after she attended a national leadership workshop hosted by Americans for the Arts. In 2014 the Greater Augusta Arts Council was named the Public Art Agency for the City with an initial city-wide project of painted traffic boxes. From there the vision took off with numerous Public Art installations filling our downtown and beyond. Our murals, sculpture trails and growing public art profile reflects Augusta’s love of the arts and our talented arts community, thanks to the vision and perseverance of leaders like Brenda Durant.


Brenda will remain with the Arts Council through this year’s Arts in the Heart Festival, retiring in October. Her future plans include volunteering with a few local non-profits to stay connected with the community, playing with her grandchildren, traveling, and opening a home-based travel agency.


The Arts Council has named a search committee who will release a job description for the Executive Director position in late June.


Brenda Durant has left a legacy in Augusta, which can clearly be seen in our current burgeoning Arts Community, mural projects, artists workforce programs, and of course our public art. Her funky colored shoes will be difficult to fill, and she will be missed.