WICHITA FALLS (KFDX/KJTL) — Margie Johnson Reese will deliver the commencement address to approximately 519 candidates for graduation at the Midwestern State University ceremony at 10 a.m., Saturday, December 14, at Kay Yeager Coliseum.
Reese, the executive director of the Wichita Falls Alliance for Arts Alliance, is excited to share with young leaders about her passion and from her vast experiences.
“My passion for the arts is clear to everyone that comes into contact with me. However, it is not at all my ‘passion’ that I lean on to argue for the arts in community development,” Reese said. “Creativity and cultural expression are critical to 21st century problem-solving, innovative thinking, and social inclusion.”
A native of Baton Rouge, Louisiana, Reese’s career has included arts leadership in Dallas and Los Angeles. Today she has responsibility for establishing arts policy, artists training programs, and creating grant-making programs in Wichita Falls and the surrounding area.
She served as the grant-maker for the Ford Foundation in their Office for West Africa as the program officer for media, arts, and culture. She previously served as general manager for the City of Los Angeles Department of Cultural Affairs; and as director of the City of Dallas, Office of Cultural Affairs.
“The arts can speak to us and through us – across ethnic and socio-economic boundaries,” Reese said. “We are seeing this idea become reality in our own community – through the work of local artists and arts organizations who help reposition assumptions and reflect on the current and future state of our city.”
Among her honors, she received the Selina Roberts Ottum Award from the Americans for the Arts in 2019.
Reese earned her bachelor’s degree in Speech and Theater from Washington State University and received her Master of Fine Arts in Theater from Trinity University in San Antonio.