Sheila Smith

Executive Director, Minnesota Citizens for the Arts (St. Paul, Minnesota)

Session: A Conversation About Rural Arts Advocacy (Saturday, 9:00 – 10:15am)

Sheila M. Smith is the Executive Director of Minnesota Citizens for the Arts,, which strengthens our cultural community by achieving arts friendly policy in Minnesota. As Chair of Creative Minnesota,, she produces important research about the arts and cultural community for education, policy making, and advocacy.

She led the arts community into the successful 2008 statewide “Legacy” ballot campaign which created 25 years of dedicated funding for the arts through a constitutional amendment. She also served on the Board of the 2012 Minnesota United campaign, protecting the rights of all Minnesotans to marry, and served as staff in the Minnesota Senate.

A national expert in arts advocacy, Smith is a frequent speaker at conferences around the country including Grantmakers in the Arts and the Rural Arts Summit and has won several national awards for her work. She has served as Chair of AFTA’s State Arts Action League and Vice-Chair of the Minnesota Council of Nonprofits.
With a BA in Shakespeare and graduate degree from St. Mary’s in Arts Administration she teaches at the University of Minnesota about the intersection of arts and politics. In her spare time she is a painter, wood carver and vernacular architect @SheWhoTravels.