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Arts Connect Houston appoints Jack McBride as Executive Director

By Elizabeth Snell

Jack McBride Headshot with Arts Connect Houston and Mid-America Arts Alliance logos.

Arts Connect Houston (ACH), a partner organization of Mid-America Arts Alliance, announced today that Jack McBride will serve as its new executive director. In this position, McBride will identify strategic alignments and opportunities to expand access to arts education for students throughout Houston ISD and the greater Houston area. McBride has served as ACH’s interim director since April 2023. 

With 19 years of experience in arts education, including service as the chair of ACH’s leadership committee, McBride brings a deep level of expertise and compassion to his role. In his role as associate director of Writers in the Schools, McBride designed creative writing school programs, led collaborations with community organizations, and created teaching opportunities for creative writers. McBride holds a master of nonprofit administration from the University of Notre Dame and a bachelor’s in art history and Spanish from Trinity University. 

As executive director, McBride will facilitate the collective impact work of ACH and its 95-member arts and cultural organizations to ensure that every student, in every school, has access to a complete education that includes the arts. While ACH currently partners with Houston ISD, McBride and his team of five arts administrators will work to explore new partnerships that will help ACH expand its programs, its grantmaking, and students’ access to the arts. 

“We see tremendous opportunity to evolve ACH’s programming and expand our reach throughout Houston,” said Michael Pipkin, chair of ACH’s board of directors. “With Jack’s strategic creativity and deep connections in Houston’s arts education sector, we can see a future in which ACH becomes a national model for how other programs can engage local arts organizations in service to our students and their complete education.”

Arts Connect Houston launched in 2015 when a group of local leaders in Houston shared their concerns about the decline of arts education in the district’s schools. Starting as a pilot program, ACH addressed that need by creating programs, grant opportunities, opening partnerships between public schools and arts and cultural organizations—all to help provide more equitable access to the arts. Today, Arts Connect Houston unites the Greater Houston community to ensure equitable access to high-quality arts education in creative writing, dance, music, theater, and the visual arts for every student, beginning with Houston Independent School District.

“I am thrilled to join the amazing team at Arts Connect Houston and to be part of this community,” said McBride. “As a child, my parents made sure I was surrounded by books, music, the performing arts, and visual art, and that education has impacted me every step of my career. All of Houston’s students deserve an education that is rich in the fine arts, and in this role, I am committed to making sure our students have access to those opportunities. To be part of this community of arts partners working on behalf of Houston’s young creatives is a true honor.”

After two and a half generative years incubating at the Houston Arts Alliance, Arts Connect Houston embarked on a new partnership with Mid-America Arts Alliance in January 2023 with the view of expanding its organizational reach. Mid-America Arts Alliance is a respected and established regional arts services organization in the United States that serves artists, creatives, and organizations in its six-state region of Arkansas, Kansas, Missouri, Nebraska, Oklahoma, Texas.

“Arts education has been a mission-critical component of our work for many years—through our exhibition touring, grant making, and professional development programming,” said Todd Stein, president and CEO of Mid-America Arts Alliance. “One of our founding and continued values is that more can be accomplished through collaborative partnership rather than individual efforts. Our partnership with Arts Connect Houston provides critical back of house administrative support to assist in the continued success of ACH. We look forward to the vision and expertise Jack brings to his role as executive director.”

ACH’s partners include 95 arts and culture organizations, HISD, the local philanthropic community and the City of Houston, as well as other state and national-based partners. Arts Connect Houston is also a member of the Any Given Child initiative at the Kennedy Center and works alongside other communities in the country to not only drive change in Houston, but across the nation as well. 

About Arts Connect Houston

Arts Connect Houston unites the Greater Houston community to ensure access to high-quality arts education in creative writing, dance, music, theater, and the visual arts for every student, beginning with Houston ISD. Arts Connect is a collective impact organization that unites nearly 100 partners including Houston ISD, arts & culture organizations, funders and the community. By maximizing change through collective impact, Arts Connect ensures that the entire community understands the fundamental necessity of the arts for all children. We share a vision to realize the tremendous potential of every student by ensuring the arts are essential to a complete education, recognizing that when students prosper, our community thrives. To learn more about Arts Connect, visit www.artsconnecthouston.org and follow us on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and LinkedIn.