Arts staple Margaret Murray to lead Creative Pinellas

Margaret Murray. (Photo courtesy Creative Pinellas)

LARGO, Fla. | Creative Pinellas announced Jan. 4 that Tampa Bay arts staple Margaret Murray will serve as the art agency’s next CEO.

The nonprofit provides funding and support to Pinellas County artists while connecting businesses, tourists and the public with the region’s arts community. The search for Creative Pinellas’ next CEO began last summer in partnership with Arts Consulting Group.

Board President David Warner chaired the 10-person CEO search committee, comprised of board members and community advisors. He said in a press release that AGC provided “extraordinary candidates from Florida and beyond,” noting that the “choice of Margaret Murray for the CEO position was driven by her unique combination of arts leadership, local connections, and far-reaching vision.”

Murray is a native Floridian whose work in the arts has included time in New York, Amsterdam and Washington, D.C. In Tampa Bay, she’s worked as the director of public programs and community engagement for the Museum of Fine Arts St. Pete and as development director at freeFall Theatre.

She also served as executive director for the Tampa Bay International Gay and Lesbian Film Festival at two different times, including its pivotal 25th celebration. Recently Murray has worked with Creative Pinellas to steer the first comprehensive study of Pinellas County’s cultural landscape in nearly two decades.

“I am beyond thrilled to continue the work that the Creative Pinellas team has done to elevate the artistic and cultural communities of Pinellas County,” Murray said in the release. “My work has always been centered firmly in the belief that arts experiences — from murals to operas and beyond — should be easily and freely accessible to all.

“The art created here has repeatedly been shown to positively impact our communities in incredibly profound ways. Neighborhoods with strong public art programs, such as those spearheaded by Creative Pinellas, have better public health outcomes, and the arts are a proven driver of economic growth, which we see in the flourishing arts communities throughout the county,” she continued. “From Dunedin to Pinellas Park, St. Petersburg and beyond, the arts are part of our vocabulary, and I look forward to expanding the ways that residents and visitors enjoy the bounty of arts experiences developed by the truly world-class artists and cultural organizations here on the Arts Coast.”

Creative Pinellas also thanked former CEO Barbara St. Clair, who “was instrumental in making Creative Pinellas what it is today,” for her tenure. She retired Dec. 20.

“I have been honored to be the leader of Creative Pinellas for the last eight years,” she noted. “Taking the organization from where it was to the high impact, change-making organization it is now was an amazing journey. I am thrilled that Margaret Murray, who comes with such great skills and history, is stepping into the leadership role.”

Murray will officially step into her new role Jan. 22. Until then, Creative Pinellas Director of Tourism Product Development and Strategy Kimberly DiVito will serve as interim CEO. Read more below:

For more information about Creative Pinellas, visit

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