6/8/2018 4:02:00 AM

ASCA Announces Retirement of Al Head, its Long-Time Executive Director


      Montgomery, Ala. – At the June 7, 2018 quarterly meeting of the Alabama State Council on the Arts in Montgomery, Al Head, Executive Director of the Council for the past 33 years announced his retirement, effective December 31st 2018. Head summarized a long career with the state arts agency field by saying, “It has been a wonderful and memorable run in a field that is made up of a special group of artists, arts administrators, arts educators, arts patrons and volunteers. The opportunity to contribute a bit to the quality of life in Alabama through the arts has been a privilege.”

      Head who served in state arts agency positions in Florida and Louisiana before returning home to Alabama as council director in 1985 is the longest sitting state arts agency director in the country. Prior to accepting the position in Alabama, Head was the Director of the Louisiana Division of the Arts and Arts Council from 1977 to 1985. As the first state arts director under governmental reorganization he orchestrated the first state appropriation for the Arts Council in Louisiana. His state service began in 1972 with the Florida Department of State, Division of Cultural Affairs and included a two year period as director of the Stephen Foster Folk life Center. Including the Florida and Louisiana years Head’s tenure in the arts field spans over forty-six years, a four decade period that has experienced significant change in the arts and government.

      During Head’s time in Alabama he considers, the development of a nationally recognized state folklife program, the creation of the Alabama Writers Forum, the creation of Design Alabama, the creation of the Alabama Dance Council, expanding arts education partnerships and the cultivation of a cultural exchange with Pietrasanta Italy as a few of many highlights. For personal recognition on a national level he points to receiving the National Heritage Award in 2012 given by the National Endowment for the Arts and the Gary Young Award presented to him in 1998 by the National Assembly of State Arts Agencies as particularly rewarding.

      As part of his retirement announcement Head emphasized his respect and appreciation for the outstanding work of a dedicated staff, most having been with the agency for many years. He noted with sincere gratitude the contributions of dozens of state council members, individuals appointed by the Governor, who give generously of their time, talents and resources to promote the arts. Head emphasized how fortunate and blessed he has been to be surrounded by such special Alabamians.

      The Council will immediately begin a national search for a replacement of Al Head with the intention of having a new director in place by January 1, 2019. Until that time Head will remain active in the director’s position and available to oversee a smooth transition. A job announcement with application details will be distributed widely before the end of the month

      The Alabama State Council on the Arts is the official state arts agency of Alabama. The staff of the Council, directed by Al Head, administers the grants programs and provides financial assistance in arts planning and programming. The Council receives its support through an annual appropriation from the Alabama Legislature and funding from the National Endowment for the Arts, a federal agency.

      For more information, please contact Barbara Reed at 334-242-4076, ext. 223 or visit our website: www.arts.alabama.gov.