The following message reached us … November 15:
It is with great sadness that I share the news that Andrea Lawson passed away suddenly on Sunday.
Andrea joined the North Carolina Arts Council as Performing Arts Director in 2002. She was an uplifting presence who believed strongly in the power of art to bridge divides, heal suffering and inspire joy.
Andrea relished the opportunity to collaborate with arts organizations and artists across the state to bring the arts to our citizens and to communities large and small. In the process, she made many friends for our agency and for the Department of Natural and Cultural Resources.
In recent years Andrea took on added responsibilities for the African American Heritage Development and Community Engagement programs. Among other accomplishments, Andrea was one of the originators of African American Music Trails of Eastern North Carolina, which has elevated the visibility of many of our state’s great rhythm and blues, jazz and funk musicians.
I know that you will join with me and the staff here at the Arts Council as we send prayers and condolences to Andrea’s family and friends.
Wayne Martin, Executive Director
North Carolina Arts Council
Updated Nov. 17: Andrea’s initial memorial will be in Ohio in the coming days. Efforts are underway to schedule a memorial here next month. Details to follow.
The following biographical information is adapted from the AAAE website:
Andrea Lawson, the NCAC’s Music, Dance, Community Engagement Director, also worked with African American Heritage Development & Cultural Tourism for the North Carolina Arts Council, a State agency of the Department of Cultural Resources. She was with the Arts Council for 13 years. For ten and a half years she was the Performing Arts Director which included Theatre, Music and Dance. Andrea’s constituents were music, dance and presenting organizations, local arts council, and individual artists of North Carolina. She conducted three grant panels a year, consulted with arts organizations, and participated in different council initiatives throughout the state. In the fall of 2013, she taught the undergraduate Theatre Management course at NC Central University in Durham, NC.
Ms. Lawson was dedicated to arts administration mentorship and spoke with students at university arts management/administration programs and summer internship programs such as UNC-Greensboro, Elon University, NC A&T University, Virginia Tech, and Eastern Carolina University (ECU), and the American Dance Festival (ADF).
Before her work at the NC Arts Council, Andrea was the Managing Director and Development Director of the Freed Center for the Performing Arts at Ohio Northern University, Ada, Ohio. There she managed a 550-seat performing arts venue, technical and scenic staff, box office staff, student volunteers, and contracted with ten headliners each season. Some of her most rewarding experiences at Ohio Northern were developing and teaching two undergraduate courses: Intro to Arts Administration and Grant Research &Writing. Prior to Ohio Northern, she was the Public Relations Manager for the African American Dance Ensemble, Chuck Davis, Founder and Artistic Director from May 1996-May 1999.
Andrea held a Master of Fine Arts in Theatre Arts, Arts Administration from Virginia Tech, where the MFA program director and her master teacher was George Thorn; and a Bachelors in Arts in Music from Cleveland State University, where she studied viola privately with Cleveland Orchestra member Lucian Joel.