Janet Starke

Consulting Associate

Janet is thrilled to join the AMS team in August 2022, bringing over 25 years’ experience in arts administration, particularly in the performing arts and arts education. Most recently, Janet served as the Executive Director for the Virginia Commission for the Arts, appointed by Governor Ralph Northam. During her leadership, the agency developed and disbursed more than $1 million dollars in relief funding, and saw a $2 million increase in funding by the state’s General Assembly, marking the largest budget in its history by the time she departed. Prior to that she served as the founding Director of Education, and ultimately, Executive Director for Richmond Performing Arts Alliance (formerly CenterStage Foundation) located in Richmond, VA. She previously held positions at The Orpheum Theatre (Memphis), Cincinnati Public Television (CET), Blumenthal Performing Arts Center, and ArtsTeach (both in Charlotte) before returning home to the Richmond region in 2009. She brings experience in leadership and administration, budgeting, strategic planning, programming, development/fundraising, and advocacy.

What drew you to the arts?

I have been passionate about the arts since singing my first solo in church at eight years old. I grew up as a choral singer, though chose arts administration over arts education for my college pursuit. I never looked back. I interned at The Kennedy Center and was turned on to arts education programs within arts organizations, eventually evolving to leadership of arts organizations. More so than performing, I simply love the business of the arts!

Where is the greatest opportunity for the sector today?

The sector really continues to figure itself out, with myriad new business models as we continue to emerge from the pandemic. Early on in the pandemic, many said, “the model wasn’t working before; we need to figure this out.” As the head of Virginia’s state arts agency, I was able to see rather firsthand, how organizations really took the time to reimagine their mission and their role in their community. Too, the arts continue to be an integral partner in the individual and economic recoveries in communities all across the country. It’s exciting to see how that work transpires in differing, yet meaningful ways.

What do you do in your spare time?

“Spare time” is a funny term when you are a mother to six-year-old twin girls. They certainly keep me (and my husband) busy, though it’s a wonderful journey to watch them grow and develop. Otherwise, our family likes to travel—whether day trips throughout Virginia or the Mid-Atlantic and South, which is about as far as we have trekked since the pandemic began. Too, we love all things arts, including live music, theater and dance, as well as art museums.

Arts, culture and entertainment is our business.

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