Karen L. Paty has been working in the arts and community development for more than fifteen years, and was hired as executive director of Georgia Council for the Arts in 2011. As executive director, she is responsible for developing funding initiatives, programs and services; initiating statewide partnerships and collaborations; and cultivating innovative ways to support Georgia’s vital arts industry.
As the agency’s executive director, Ms. Paty leads the agency’s efforts in bringing more awareness and visibility to the role of the arts in supporting economic development opportunities, creating vibrant communities, enhancing the state’s quality of life, and contributing to a strong educational curriculum. Karen has executed multiple programs and projects that contribute to these goals including instituting an annual Governor’s Awards for the Arts and Humanities, integration of the arts in several tourism initiatives, creation of a new Arts Education Manager position to focus on increasing access to and the quality of arts education programs and curriculum, initiating a multi-year program to foster and support the sustainability of Georgia’s nonprofit arts organizations and the development of, “The Art of Georgia,” Georgia Council for the Arts’ first exhibit featuring the work of state artists at the Capitol.
Prior to being hired as executive director of the Georgia Council for the Arts, Paty served as Director of GCA and implemented a new five-year strategic plan that redefined the agency’s mission and goals to better provide an opportunity for the arts to become an integral part of the lives of all Georgians. Karen also managed a seamless integration into the Georgia Department of Economic Development (GDEcD) in 2012. Under her leadership, Ms. Paty endeavors to fulfill the agency’s strategic plan by strengthening long-term statewide partnerships and collaborations with the Georgia Municipal Association, Georgia Humanities Council, the Georgia Department of Economic Development’s Tourism Division, University of Georgia Press, the Georgia Department of Education and many more.
In recognition of her valuable contributions to the arts and to the state of Georgia, Ms. Paty was named one of the 2016 “100 Most Influential Georgians” by Georgia Trend magazine. She serves on the Executive Committee of the Board of Directors of South Arts and on the Board of Directors of the National Association of State Arts Agencies. She is a graduate of New York University, where she was also a recipient of the university’s President’s Award for Service. Ms. Paty resides in Decatur with her husband and two children.