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Cultural Council Names Diana Donovan As Permanent Executive Director

Downtown Jacksonville's newest public artwork "Emergence" makes its debut on Monday, December 7, 2020.
Bob Self
Florida Times-Union
Downtown Jacksonville's newest public artwork "Emergence" makes its debut on Monday, December 7, 2020.

The Cultural Council of Greater Jacksonville Board of Directors has selected Interim Executive Director Diana Donovan to serve as the arts and culture organization’s leader going forward.

Donovan has been serving as interim director since former director Joy Young resigned in September to pursue other opportunities. She previously served on the Cultural Council Board of Directors.

“Since joining as interim executive director, Diana’s strategic, innovative, and collaborative leadership has made a deep and lasting impact on our organization,” said Cultural Council of Greater Jacksonville Board Chair Jannet Walker-Ford. “During Diana’s tenure, she has cultivated unanimous board support for the executive directorship, her leadership style aligns perfectly with furthering the Board’s vision to enhance equity, advocacy, education, and opportunity throughout our arts and culture industry and community.”

As interim director, Donovan oversaw the Cultural Council as it provided more than $3 million in city grants to arts and cultural organizations that were affected by the COVID-19 pandemic, expanded public-private partnerships, transitioned to an interim Art in Public Places Director and moved the organization’s headquarters to the Jessie Ball duPont Center.

“It’s an honor to officially join the Cultural Council of Greater Jacksonville,” said Donovan. “Since September, I’ve worked diligently to reinvigorate, lead, and elevate the Council’s critical mission to enrich life in Northeast Florida through investment in arts and culture. As I move forward in this role, we move forward together. I will continue to steadfastly steward our mission and vision that arts and culture organizations are recognized by all as essential to our quality of life.”

Donovan was a member of the 2021 class of Leadership Jacksonville, she is a JAX MVP with the Jacksonville Jaguars Foundation, a 2020 Jacksonville Business Journal 40 Under 40 honoree, a former member of The Florida Times-Union editorial board and a Hightower Fellowship Board Member with the JAX Chamber.

Donovan will assume her new role as executive director effective immediately.

Brendan Rivers can be reached at, 904-358-6396 or on Twitter at @BrendanRivers.

Special Projects Producer Brendan Rivers joined WJCT News in August of 2018 after several years as a reporter and then News Director at Southern Stone Communications, which owns and operates several radio stations in the Daytona Beach area.