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UNC Clean Tech Speaker

Sherry DeVries

Sherry DeVries
Executive Director
Durham Arts Council


Sherry DeVries has 38 years leadership experience in cultural institutions. Since 2002 she has served as Executive Director of the Durham Arts Council. She has led major initiatives including the Durham Cultural Master Plan; the Durham SmART Initiative – a creative placemaking program for downtown Durham; arts economic impact studies; reorganization and successful revitalization of 2 arts agencies; international marketing and public relations for Field Museum of Natural History; and redevelopment work for Navy Pier, Chicago. She received the Illinois “Governor’s Award for the Arts” in 1999. In 2013, Ms. DeVries was recognized by the City of Durham annual Women’s Leadership Forum Awards, and in 2014 was selected for the Women of Achievement Award by Durham Magazine. In June 2019, DeVries and the Durham Arts Council were awarded national recognition from Americans for the Arts Public Art Year In Review for the top 50 public art projects in the U.S. and Canada with “Durham in Continuum – SmART Corcoran Garage Art Wrap” project.

Ms. DeVries holds a Master of Arts in Arts and Entertainment Management, and a Bachelor of Arts degree in Arts Management. She has also provided consulting services to arts, cultural, and civic clients across the United States. In her 38 year arts career, she has raised over $20 million dollars to support arts and culture from the public and private sectors. Under her leadership, the Durham Arts Council has grown services to the community 167% and launched many new partnerships. Today the DAC provides programs, services and support to over 300 arts and cultural organizations, over 2,000 artists, and more than 400,000 program participants and visitors each year that DAC serves through classes, artist residencies, exhibits, Art Walk, CenterFest Arts Festival, grant programs, technical support and training, creative placemaking and arts economy programs and research. She is responsible for the overall management and programming of the 52,000 sq. foot Arts Council building which programs or hosts nearly 5,000 events and programs each year in a variety of theatre, art, music, dance, film, educational, corporate and community events.

Ms. DeVries was born and raised in western North Carolina and is happy to be back in her home state as a resident of Durham with her family.