Theresa Colvin Announces Retirement

Mid Atlantic Arts Announces Retirement of Executive Director Theresa M. Colvin

Headshot of Theresa Colvin. Colvin is a white woman with shoulder length auburn hair. She wears a black, white, and blue patterned blouse and grey blazer.

Baltimore, MD – January 12, 2023 – Mid Atlantic Arts announced today that Executive Director Theresa M. Colvin will retire effective April 30, 2023. With over three decades of service to the field, Colvin has served as Mid Atlantic Arts’ Executive Director since 2017, where she has been responsible for all aspects of leadership and oversight leading the organization through a period of unprecedented growth amidst the global pandemic.

“Mid Atlantic Arts has been truly fortunate to have Theresa as a member of our family over the last six years. Her calm, clear guidance and vision during our 2019 Strategic Planning process allowed us to prepare for unanticipated challenges, such as the uncertainty of the pandemic, on solid ground with attainable goals. She has been steadfast in her commitment to equity and accessibility learning and has made sure that all our work is centered on those learnings. Her understanding of the strength of the Regional Arts Organizations as a cohort has led to robust programming and opportunities across the United States,” said board chair, Romona Riscoe Benson. “We owe a debt of gratitude to Theresa for shepherding the organization through a truly difficult time for the field and the world in general. She leaves Mid Atlantic Arts in excellent financial health while growing our capacity for future work. We certainly wish her nothing but the best during this next stage in her journey and hope she enjoys the retirement she rightly deserves.”

“It has been an honor to work with so many extraordinary artists, organizations, and members of the arts community during my time at Mid Atlantic. It truly has been a highlight of my career in the arts,” said Ms. Colvin. “I am leaving the organization with an expanded and sound infrastructure and financial health, and a staff that is committed and resilient. I am deeply grateful to the board for believing in and supporting our work and I know that a strong foundation is in place as Mid Atlantic ushers in a new era of leadership.”

In her role as Executive Director at Mid Atlantic Arts, Colvin effectively helped sustain and stabilize the field through the deployment of American Rescue Plan Funding, CARES Arts Organization Relief Grants, and the Mid Atlantic Arts Regional Resilience Fund in response to the global pandemic. Her work to build capacity around Mid Atlantic’s program priorities in international exchange, jazz, and the folk and traditional arts has resulted in a robust portfolio of programs designed to support both organizations and performing artists.

In December 2022, she successfully completed a Memorandum of Understanding with Puerto Rico making them Mid Atlantic’s tenth partner agency which will strengthen both the regional and national arts infrastructure while providing opportunities to artists, organizations, and communities from the Commonwealth. 

Additionally, Colvin has been steadfast in her work to strengthen Mid Atlantic’s partnership with the U.S. Regional Arts Organizations (RAO’s) helping to reinforce the relationship between the six RAO’s and bring their work to light – resulting in increased funding to the field and across the consortia with new programs that serve the nation.

In the spring of 2019, Colvin launched a multi-tiered Strategic Planning process including board, staff, and the arts community. The new Strategic Plan, adopted in February 2020, centers equity, diversity, inclusion, and access and has created a lens through which Mid Atlantic Arts views all work.

From the start, Colvin has championed the Folk and Traditional Arts and has overseen the development of the Central Appalachian Folk and Traditional Arts Survey and Planning Project (CAFTA), a program designed to assess the needs and opportunities for a folk and traditional arts program in Central Appalachia; Central Appalachia Living Traditions, a multi-year program designed to promote the understanding, and recognition of folk arts and culture in Central Appalachia; and Folk and Traditional Arts Community Projects Grants, which fund projects designed to support the vitality of traditional arts and cultural communities in the mid-Atlantic region. Beyond increasing folk and traditional arts programming, Colvin has worked to secure dedicated increases to public and private resources to support expanded staffing and network building resulting in significant impact for the field and for Mid Atlantic Arts.

Prior to joining Mid Atlantic Arts, Colvin served as the Executive Director of the Maryland State Arts Council, based in Baltimore, MD and as Deputy Director and Acting Executive Director of the Howard County Arts Council in Ellicott City, MD.

The Mid Atlantic Arts board has created a search committee to oversee the selection of a recruitment firm that will conduct a national search for the next Executive Director. More information regarding the search process will be available in the spring of 2023.

Photo: Theresa M. Colvin. Credit. James Kegley.

About Mid Atlantic Arts
Mid Atlantic Arts nurtures and funds the creation and presentation of diverse artistic expression and connects people to meaningful arts experiences within our region and beyond. Created in 1979, Mid Atlantic Arts 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 Mid Atlantic Arts, its programs and services, visit our website at

Karen Newell
Director, External Affairs
Mid Atlantic Arts
410.539.6656 x104