Back to Blog

Wayne Martin Named New NCAC Executive Director

I hope all of the North Carolina Writers’ Network will join in welcoming Wayne Martin to the N.C. Arts Council.  We look forward to working with Mr. Martin for many years to come:

Wayne Martin Named Executive Director of the North Carolina Arts Council

North Carolina Department of Cultural Resources Secretary Linda A. Carlisle announced today that H. Wayne Martin has been named Executive Director of the North Carolina Arts Council.

Martin, who succeeds long time director Mary B. Regan, has more than 25 years experience in arts management with more than half of that time working in the arena of arts-driven economic development.

“During the last 15 years Wayne has played a critical role in collaborating with other state agencies and regional and local governments to ensure that the arts are an essential component of community development,” Secretary Carlisle said. “His experience in a wide range of Arts Council programs and his vision and love of North Carolina — combined with his leadership qualities — puts him in a unique position to guide the Arts Council into a new era.”

He currently serves as Senior Program Director for Community Arts Development, which includes a staff of eight and management of the Grassroots Arts Program, a $2.3 million program that delivers support for arts development to all 100 counties in the state. He also oversees the Public Art and Community Design program, the Folklife program and cultural tourism development. During the past year he has focused on planning the Arts Council’s new SmART Initiative to spur arts-driven economic development across the state, and worked the last three years in developing a new arts council in Wilmington.

“Wayne’s comprehensive knowledge and appreciation of our varied Arts Council programs and activities is impressive,” said Bobby Kadis, chair of the Arts Council board. “Having worked with Wayne for many years, I am confident that he will make an excellent executive director and I look forward to working with him.” Kadis served on the interview committee for the position.

A national search for the position was conducted earlier this year when Regan retired in March after 39 years. During Regan’s tenure Martin played a critical role in creating the Blue Ridge Music and Cherokee Heritage Trails projects as part of the Blue Ridge Heritage Initiative. This interstate collaboration set the stage for the congressional designation of western North Carolina as the Blue Ridge Heritage Area. In 2004 Martin received the first Preserve America Presidential Award on behalf of the Blue Ridge Heritage Initiative.

Since then, he has been actively involved in the planning and implementing of other regional projects including the African American Music Trails in eastern North Carolina, a revision of the Blue Ridge Music Trails in 28 western counties and Historic Happy Valley in the Upper Yadkin Valley watershed in Caldwell and Wilkes counties.

Additionally, Martin has worked with a wide range of the Arts Council’s programs. He joined the agency in 1981 as the Arts in Education director, where he directed the Visiting Artist Program, and was an original staff member of the Office of Folklife Programs. In 1988 Martin helped establish the North Carolina Heritage Award program, which has honored more than one hundred traditional artists from all regions of the state. In addition, he has produced recordings of some of North Carolina’s outstanding folk artists.

His work has made him a sought-after and frequent speaker at national and regional conferences on topics ranging from arts-based economic development, the creative economy and the benefits of heritage and cultural tourism development that focus on the arts.

“It’s an honor to represent North Carolina’s arts industry in this new leadership role,” Martin said. “Mary Regan’s legacy left a remarkable arts infrastructure for the state. I look forward to building on this to create a new vision for artists, our arts organizations and the citizens of North Carolina where the arts are critical to state policy and practice.”

Martin is a graduate of UNC-Chapel Hill with a major in history with additional study at Duke University. He is the founder of the Piedmont Council of Traditional Music and is an experienced musician who has recorded numerous CDs.