Congratulations to our Executive Director!


On August 3, Governor Ralph Northam announced the appointment of Janet Starke to serve as the Executive Director for Virginia Commission for the Arts. While we are sad to be parting ways with our Executive Director in the coming weeks, we could not be more thrilled for her appointment!

Janet’s new role comes after serving as Richmond Performing Arts Alliance’s (RPAA) Executive Director since November 2015. Prior to that, she served as the organization’s founding Director of Education for six years.

Throughout her tenure with RPAA, Janet has played a key role in enriching the vibrant arts and arts education community throughout Greater Richmond. In 2017, she was named one of Style Week’s Women in the Arts, an award that recognizes “women who are forward-thinking leaders in the fine and performing arts who make a positive impact on Richmond’s cultural community.”

Janet also led the way for RPAA’s name change in 2016, previously Richmond CenterStage Foundation. The change helped to affirm our organization’s mission and reestablish our identity as an organization that works tirelessly to support today’s artists by cultivating diverse arts experiences, to nurture tomorrow’s artists through programming and experiences that deepen their connection to the arts, and to provide spaces for the arts to thrive by supporting Richmond’s premier historical venues. This identity truly encompasses our organization’s daily operations that have been carried out under Janet’s exceptional leadership.  

RPAA’s Board Chair Rod Willett shared, “On behalf of the Board of Directors, we offer our sincerest congratulations to Janet on her appointment! Janet has been a bedrock of this organization, through her tenures as Executive Director and Director of Education, respectively. It is these experiences and her long-standing reputation for building and sustaining meaningful collaborations among arts organizations, educational systems and the community-at-large that we know will serve Janet well in her new appointment. We have no doubt her appointment will benefit the state of the arts in the Commonwealth as well.”

Janet, you have certainly fulfilled our organization’s mission—to provide diverse local and world-class performing arts, transformative arts education experiences for students of all ages, and inspirational venues that will strengthen the cultural and economic vitality of the Greater Richmond region. Thank you for serving RPAA. We look forward to seeing you carry that success to the Virginia Commission for the Arts!

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