Summar to Step Down from Arts & Business Council Executive Director Job in June

Summar to Step Down from Arts & Business Council Executive Director Job in JuneCasey Gill Summar, executive director of Nashville's Arts & Business Council's (ABC), has announced that she will be leaving the arts nonprofit this summer after more than a decade with the organization. She and her husband, Trent, are moving to Santa Barbara, California in June.

Lucia Folk, board chair of the ABC and Vice President of Public Affairs for Country Music Television, said, "While Casey will certainly be missed, the Arts & Business Council is currently experiencing a time of excellence and stability; as such, we feel this is the perfect time to find a transformational leader to take ABC to new heights."

Summar's vision and leadership is credited for the ABC being in a strong position to find a new executive director as it now has comfortable cash reserves, dynamic programs, consistent support from key donors, and flourishing relationships with valuable partners such as Metro Arts, Nashville Entrepreneur Center, Nashville Chamber, Center for Nonprofit Management (CNM), Belmont University, and Vanderbilt University.

Summar was named "Bank of America Nonprofit CEO of the Year," and ABC's Periscope program was named a finalist for the "Frist Foundation Team Building Award" by the Center for Nonprofit Management at its most recent "Salute to Excellence" event which presents the top honors for the nonprofit sector. Further, ABC recently announced that it was selected for 1 of 4 National Endowment for the Arts Research Labs grants for a partnership with Vanderbilt University's Curb Center for Arts, Enterprise & Public Policy.

The Arts & Business Council's Board of Directors, together with Summar and the ABC staff, are thoughtfully preparing for a smooth transition of leadership to the organization's next executive director. The board has formed a Search Committee made up of board members and key community partners who will work with a CNM consultant to conduct the search.

"We anticipate a new executive director will begin in June," said Folk. "Casey is committed to supporting the transition process. Because Casey has given the ABC such a long lead time before her departure, there will be overlap with the new executive director which will be helpful for the organization."

Summar summarizes her ABC tenure as follows, "Twelve years ago, I had lunch with Bo Spessard to discuss founding a Volunteer Lawyers for the Arts in Nashville and left three hours later with a draft business plan we immediately began putting into action. Our journey started with a small dream and grew in ways we could never have imagined when the following year, Martha Ingram had the vision to start an organization to ensure the sustainability of Nashville's arts community - the Arts & Business Council of Greater Nashville. These two efforts joined forces and we have spent the past 10 years fiercely advocating for our local artists and arts nonprofits. After over a decade immersed in this inspiring work, I will be leaving the Arts & Business Council this summer. My husband, Trent, and I will also be saying farewell to our beloved hometown of Nashville as we relocate to California to be closer to my mother and have new adventures."

About Casey Gill Summar Summar is the Executive Director of the Arts & Business Council of Greater Nashville, where she oversees the organization including the Volunteer Lawyers & Professionals for the Arts program, which she co-founded in 2006. She also serves as an Adjunct Professor of Law at Vanderbilt University Law School, Vanderbilt's Peabody College, and Belmont College of Law. Casey is a leader on many boards in the arts and legal communities both locally and nationally and was honored to be named one of Nashville's Top 40 under 40 in 2015, a finalist for the Nashville Emerging Leader Awards in 2013, 2014, 2015 and 2016, an alumni of Leadership Music class of 2015, and an alumna of Young Leaders Council Class 50.

About the Arts & Business Council The Arts & Business Council (ABC) is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization that drives collaboration between arts and business to create a thriving and sustainable creative culture in Nashville. ABC offers four core programs in service to its mission: Volunteer Lawyers & Professionals for the Arts, Education for the Creative Community, Arts Board Matching, and WorkCreative. More information is available at

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