state arts action network
Michael BurkeOriginally from Dallas, Michael's affinity for the arts started early – listening to opera in elementary school, attending Dallas Symphony "Small Fry" Concerts and in High School as a “super” for the Dallas Civic Opera and then as a lighting design major in the Department of Drama at the University of Texas until summer employment allowed him to be bitten by the "hospitality industry" bug – a bug that started a successful hotel management career, spanning over 40 years.
The arts and theatre were never far from his mind – doing volunteer stints as a Stage Manager in community theatre, producing a "Great Artists" series in a hotel lounge – featuring Margaret Whiting, Billy Eckstine, Joe Williams and Johnny Ray, among others.
And – volunteering to serve on art organization’s boards – the Hartford (CT) Symphony, the Dallas Opera, the Austin Lyric Opera, Abilene (TX) Philharmonic Society, Leadership Council of Texans for the Arts and serve as chair of the boards of the Center for Contemporary Arts in Abilene and the Abilene Cultural Affairs Council.
He now serves as Executive Director of Texans for the Arts - the statewide arts advocacy organization committed to promoting public policy that protects and increases public funding for the arts.