John Harris is an arts consultant, musician, producer and concert presenter with more than 25 years experience in arts and nonprofit management. His consulting practice, HiteHarris, works with nonprofit organizations and individuals to help them achieve their artistic, programmatic and organizational goals by providing services targeted to their individual needs. In addition to helping guide the careers of touring artists through booking, social media and public relations planning, as well as other artist management services, Harris works with arts and other nonprofit organizations to build capacity in program planning, fundraising, marketing, public relations and strategic planning.
Prior to establishing his consulting practice, Harris worked with a diverse group of nonprofit organizations, all focused on using the power of the arts as a tool for positive change. As executive director of Ohio’s largest presenter of roots and traditional music, Cityfolk in Dayton, and, more recently, the Clifton Center in Louisville, Harris has built innovative presenting and educational programs that have reached broad audiences and touched thousands of students. The programs have won numerous awards, including Chamber Music America’s CMAcclaim Award for outstanding programming, as well as the 2009 Ohio Governor’s Award for the Arts in Community Participation. Harris has also served on the staffs of organizations including the Cincinnati Art Museum, the Oregon Symphony and the Oregon Food Bank.
In addition to his efforts designing and implementing arts and outreach programs, Harris has broad experience in fundraising, marketing, board development and major event planning. As development director for Appalshop, the acclaimed Eastern Kentucky media arts center, he led a major Ford Foundation campaign that helped connect the organization with a new network of donors in major cities around the country. In one of his primary responsibilities as director of Cityfolk, he spent eight years leading the team that planned and executed the annual three-day Cityfolk Festival, an outgrowth of the National Folk Festival that attracted more than 75,000 people to Dayton’s downtown each summer. As director of Louisville’s Clifton Center, Harris led a major organizational transformation that led to the establishment of the “Live at the Clifton Center” concert series that has presented more than 100 concerts over the past four years by a diverse array of internationally renowned artists representing rich heritage from around the world. He also led the “Louisville Heritage Project,” an outreach program that connects Louisville students with musicians from every continent, helping to build a foundation for the appreciation of cultural traditions.
Harris is a member of the Kentucky Arts Council’s Peer Advisory Network and has served on grant panels for the Portland Regional Arts and Culture Council, Ore., the Massachusetts Cultural Council, LexArts and the Kentucky Arts Council, among others. He and his wife, Natalie, are creators of Give-A-Jam to End Homelessness, a program that brings together artists, musicians and chefs to raise money in support of the effort to end homelessness. The annual Give-A-Jam has raised more than $100,000 for the effort in its first five years.