Julia Olin stands behind a microphone on a stage. She is wearing a bright pink blouse and sunglasses.
Photo courtesy Julia Olin.

Baltimore, MD – April 15, 2019 – Mid Atlantic Arts Foundation (MAAF) has announced that Julia Olin has been named the 2019 recipient of the Alan Cooper Leadership in the Arts Award (ACLA). Named after MAAF’s Executive Director from 1994 through April 2017, the Award honors an arts leader who has demonstrated outstanding leadership in the arts sector within the mid-Atlantic region.

Julia Olin has been involved with the research, documentation, and public presentation of traditional music and culture for 47 years. Ms. Olin served the National Council for the Traditional Arts (NCTA) for 28 years –15 years as Associate Director and 13 years as Executive Director – where she worked tirelessly of behalf of folk and traditional arts and artists. In October of 2018, she retired from her full-time position as the Executive Director. She has been involved in the planning, artistic direction, and production of 88 national festivals, including the NCTA’s flagship program, the National Folk Festival. Other projects include: 29 national tours highlighting African American, Hispanic, Caribbean, and Appalachian music and dance traditions, among others; large-scale cultural events on the National Mall; co-curation of the Roots of American Music Museum at the Blue Ridge Music Center; 23 traditional music recordings; and countless programs for public media. For nearly three decades, Ms. Olin has worked with federal, state, and regional agencies, producing the National Endowment for the Arts National Heritage Fellowships; assisting the National Park Service with cultural planning; and working with the Maryland State Arts Council to produce annual events and manage special projects. She has overseen the completion of a 17-year project to digitize and preserve the NCTA’s priceless archive of endangered field recordings, which are now housed at the American Folklife Center at the Library of Congress.  

Ms. Olin was selected by a panel of six arts professionals based on the published Award criteria. Of Ms. Olin’s selection, MAAF’s Board Chair Hal Real said “Julia’s extraordinary work and leadership in the traditional arts and culture sector of the mid-Atlantic region made her a natural choice for the 2019 ACLA Award. And, she has championed the arts of diverse cultural communities and established meaningful partnerships every step of the way – we are thrilled to recognize her accomplishments.”

Nominations for the 2020 Alan Cooper Leadership in the Arts Award will open this fall. Nominees will have demonstrated impactful leadership in the arts in one or more of MAAF’s nine partner jurisdictions of Delaware, the District of Columbia, Maryland, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, the U.S. Virgin Islands, Virginia, and West Virginia. 

About Mid Atlantic Arts Foundation Mid Atlantic Arts Foundation develops partnerships and programs that reinforce artists’ capacity to create and present work and advance access to and participation in the arts. The Foundation was created in 1979 and is a private non-profit organization that is closely allied with the region’s state arts councils and the National Endowment for the Arts. It combines funding from state and federal resources with private support from corporations, foundations, and individuals to address needs in the arts from a regional, national, and international perspective. To learn more about MAAF, its programs and services, visit our website at www.midatlanticarts.org.

Contact:
Karen Newell
Director, External Affairs
Mid Atlantic Arts Foundation 
karen@midatlanticarts.org