Humanities Tennessee Announces New Board Leadership

The Board of Directors of Humanities Tennessee announces the election of Mary Pom Claiborne of Knoxville as Chair and James McKissic of Chattanooga as Vice Chair. Both will serve two-year terms leading the strategic direction of the non-profit dedicated to public humanities programming that fosters community and civility through the exploration of history, ideas, stories, arts and culture.

Claiborne is the Director of Marketing, Development and Communications with Knoxville Public Library and has served on the Board for five years, sharing her professional expertise and personal passion for the work through the organization’s recent strategic planning process and program committee work.

“Just when I think I’ve explored all the stories that illuminate our collective humanity, a program comes along that knocks my socks off. That guides me to better understand myself and my neighbors. That’s the power of the humanities, and it is certainly the mission of Humanities Tennessee. I am honored to be part of such an esteemed organization that seeks to deepen our empathy and broaden our vision through stories of being human.”

As President of ArtsBuild, Chattanooga’s catalyst for the arts building stronger communities through the arts, James McKissic has brought a wealth of knowledge and perspective to Humanities Tennessee’s programmatic and fundraising plans. This is especially vital as the organization prepares for its 50th anniversary in 2023.

“Now more than ever, the humanities, and our ability to learn from history, envision inclusive futures, and share ideas freely and widely is so important. I’m happy to continue being of service to Humanities Tennessee in this new role, and excited to be part of an organization doing wonderful work in communities across our state.”

Under the leadership of outgoing Board Chair, Dr. Daryl A. Carter, Associate Dean and Director of Black American Studies at East Tennessee State University, Humanities Tennessee recently completed a five-year strategic plan rooted in values-based outcomes and continued statewide impact.

“Under Dr. Carter’s leadership, we navigated a pandemic that profoundly impacted our partner organizations and the cultural infrastructure of our state. We were able to increase our general grant funding and also administer nearly one million dollars of American Rescue Plan funding re-granted to 91 Tennessee cultural organizations. On behalf of the board and staff, I thank Daryl for his commitment to Humanities Tennessee, and his thoughtful leadership that sets the stage for Mary Pom and James to kick-off our next 50 years,” said Tim Henderson, executive director of Humanities Tennessee.