Carly Jones, photo courtesy of Sandra Davidson

Photo courtesy of Sandra Davidson

Meet Carly Jones

RALEIGH, N.C. – At a virtual press conference on Thursday, Aug. 5 at 10 am, Artspace announced its new leadership team, introducing Steven Martin as the new board chair and Carly Jones as the arts organization’s new Chief Executive Officer. 

Incoming Artspace Board Chair Steven Martin said: “We conducted a nationwide paid search to find the next Artspace CEO. We were presented with outstanding candidates from all over the country, and we found our best fit with Carly Jones, a Raleigh native with deep community connections and a shared love of the arts. We are thrilled she is joining Artspace.”

Jones is a cultural arts leader, performing artist and arts executive who seeks to elevate social consciousness through the arts and cultivate authentic partnerships within communities. Prior to this new role with Artspace, Jones worked with several regional arts nonprofits and most recently as the Senior Program Director for Artists & Organizations at the North Carolina Arts Council, within the N.C. Department of Natural & Cultural Resources. In this role, she oversaw the statewide organization grants and individual artist resources for artists across all disciplines throughout the state. Jones officially started in the new CEO role on Aug. 2. She said,

“I have always considered arts and culture work to be a public service, and the opportunity to lead in shaping the vision and work of Artspace is an exciting prospect to create real, equitable change for artists of all cultures and backgrounds, and to forge impactful community partnerships to ensure the arts are accessible to all.”

Located in downtown Raleigh in the historic Sanders Ford building, the Artspace facility was once the city’s livery and later Sanders Ford Car Dealership. Today this 30,000-square-foot facility is home to more than 35 artists working in a variety of media, along with three exhibition spaces, education space, a gift shop, and administrative offices. Currently, Artspace is one of the largest open-floor studio spaces of its kind in the country. 

Jones said: “Artspace is a place that supports the community of artists, teaching artists and creatives who are all essential threads to the fabric of this city. I am looking forward to authentic community collaboration, which will broaden Artspace’s reach and intentionally build relationships with the mosaic of communities that make up our great city and beyond.”

Since its launch in 1986, Artspace has inspired positive community impact through art. Artspace exists to inspire creative energy through exposing, engaging, and educating all in the community about the creative process. Artspace believes in supporting the careers and development of artists of all levels by providing time and space to work, the opportunity to engage with other artists locally and outside of the community, exposure to the community through exhibiting their work, and professional development opportunities. 

Carly P. Jones is an arts executive and performing artist hailing from Raleigh, North Carolina. She has experience in grant work, arts funding, community programming, nonprofit development, and arts equity work. Jones attended Miami University in Oxford, Ohio, where she earned a Bachelor of Music in Vocal Performance, a Bachelor of Arts in Black Music History, and a minor in Arts Management. Most recently, Jones served the state of North Carolina as the Senior Program Director for Artists & Organizations at the NC Arts Council, within the Department of Natural & Cultural Resources, where she oversaw the statewide organization grants and individual artist resources for artists across all disciplines. While at the arts council, she also led curatorial and programming work with the Come Hear North Carolina campaign to celebrate North Carolina musicians. This work included partnerships with the N.C. African American Heritage Commission, the National Trust for Historic Preservation, and the N.C. Museum of Art on a statewide awareness campaign to preserve the childhood home of Nina Simone. Jones has spearheaded work surrounding ways to make arts programming, arts resources, and arts funding more equitable, inclusive, and accessible for all communities and artists throughout the state of North Carolina. In 2020, she was chosen to be a part of the inaugural cohort of the South Arts Emerging Leaders of Color program. 

Jones is not only a cultural arts leader, but also a performing artist who seeks to elevate social consciousness through the arts. She is a versatile artist, performing in opera, musical theatre, as well as in classic and contemporary theatre on stages. She most enjoys working on new works with playwrights and musicians uplifting stories of those who have traditionally been silenced – and surrounding current community issues. Her experience as a working artist has informed her arts administration work, supporting communities of individual artists through collaborative resource sharing and community building. 

Jones has a wealth of experience in the nonprofit sector across the Triangle area with organizations, including the multi-arts school Arts Together as the Director of Communications & Development, and the Festival Coordinator for the African American Cultural Festival of Raleigh & Wake County. In the community, she has worked with organizations like the The Black on Black Project, Dix Park Master Planning Advisory Committee, the NC National Organization for Women, Bull City Black Theatre Festival, WakeUp Wake County, NC New Leaders Council and various other community building and arts organizations. She has used her creativity and her artistic programming skills to assist with large social justice and community organizing efforts throughout the region. Jones is a connector and has a personal mission to support artists of all backgrounds and cultivate authentic partnerships within communities throughout her home city and beyond.  Carly Jones can be reached at