Ms. Rena Blades
Rena Blades has served as the President and CEO for the Cultural Council of Palm Beach County since 2004 where she has overseen unprecedented growth. The Council has granted more than $75 million in its 39 year history, enjoys the membership of 130+ cultural organizations and the support 700+ individual annual donors. Its programs serve more than 1 million people annually. Palm Beach County boasts the largest cultural sector per capita in Florida, generating $550 million in economic activity annually, supporting more than 12,000 jobs, and serving 4 million people in audiences. Rena’s leadership at the Council has resulted in expansion and the addition of many programs, including 7 new grant programs, the purchase and renovation of a headquarters facility that includes ample galleries and visitor space, an award winning magazine called art&culture, and numerous business and arts-related awards. A recent Council-led Cultural Organization Needs Assessment revealed that more than $600 million is projected to be spent on cultural facilities over the next decade, resulting in an future annual audience increase of at least 1 million more people.
She has extensive professional development training and consulting experience in governance and organizational planning. She attended the prestigious Getty’s Museum Leadership Institute and is an active member of the Americans for the Arts and other organizations. She serves as a Treasurer on the Board of the Florida Cultural Alliance, Vice Chair for the South Florida Cultural Consortium, on the Palm Beach County Art in Public Places board, and received the Women in Leadership Award in 2013 from the Executive Women of the Palm Beaches as well as the Kennedy Center’s annual Award for Arts Advocacy.
Rena Blades is a fourth generation Houstonian and left Texas in her late 20’s to move to Florida. She holds a B.A. from Connecticut College in Art History/minor in Fine Art, and an M.A. from Rice University in art history. Past positions include Executive Director of the Mary Brogan Museum of Art and Science, director of RM Gallery, and teacher at Rice University’s Continuing Education program and at the High School for the Performing and Visual Arts.
Rena is married to John Blades and has one son, Gabriel, two stepchildren, Martin and Erin, and two grandsons, Mason and Logan.