Maggie Johnson, Founder/Director

Maggie JohnsonMaggie considers herself the first unofficial resident artist of JAZZSPACE, as a jazz vocalist whose voice has been compared to the likes of Billie Holiday and Blossom Dearie. She is grateful for all of the “Masters” in her life, starting with her late grandmother in particular, who was a classically trained vocalist, and from whom she learned about her family’s own jazz legacy, which includes great cousin Eddie South (“The Dark Angel of the Violin”), among others.

Maggie uncovered her own love for jazz in college, including a short stint in the vocal jazz program at Roosevelt University in Chicago. Soon after, she looked to combine this love with her interests in management, sociology, and leadership as an arts manager. Before landing in Pittsburgh, she worked for Kennedy Center Jazz, where she had the thrill of her life meeting such artists as the late, great Dr. Billy Taylor, Shirley Horn, Abbey Lincoln, Houston Person, Arturo Sandoval, Steve Turre, and many others. Her most significant experience there was helping to manage the Betty Carter's Jazz Ahead residency program, one of the inspirations for JAZZSPACE. Her time at the Kennedy Center was quickly followed by positions in the artistic and education departments of Washington National Opera.

After completing her Arts Management degree at Carnegie Mellon’s Heinz College, she joined the marketing department of Pittsburgh Opera, eventually rising to Director of Marketing and Sales. She joined the staff of the Greater Pittsburgh Arts Council in 2008, spearheading city-wide collaborative marketing initiatives, such as the Pittsburgh is Art Day of Giving. Other Pittsburgh non-profits she has worked with include the Community Technical Assistance Center, MCG Jazz, the August Wilson Center, and Pittsburgh Ballet Theatre. Finally, she now serves on the faculty of Point Park University's Sport, Arts & Entertainment Management program.

Maggie was recently honored as a Woman of Excellence by The New Pittsburgh Courier and is an alumna of Leadership Pittsburgh's LDI XIII Class. She is a current member of the Jazz Education Network, representing JAZZSPACE.

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