Enjoyment of the arts often hinges on the people behind the scenes creating those opportunities. Being a curator of performing arts is a critical role sometimes taken for granted, but not here in Cherokee County, where Jessica Akers is recognized for her ability to create impactful and inclusive experiences.

Bringing Big Events to a Small Town

Ask any regular visitor to the Falany Performing Arts Center [FPAC] on the Reinhardt University campus, and they likely know Executive Director Jessica Akers and her enthusiasm for performing arts. Jessica brings music, theater, and dance to the Waleska stage and fills seats with excited attendees. She scouts professional artists, books shows, publicizes events, engages with ticket holders, and tends to every fine detail.

Forming connections with FPAC’s patrons, volunteers, and community and seeing them embrace the arts inspires Jessica to do what she does. She strives to have everyone who walks through the doors receive a small-town welcome and discover that high-quality experiences can be found outside a big city.

Passions Shared

Since birth Jessica bonded with the arts, first from hearing her father sing, and then taking lessons in piano, dance, and voice. Her passion for performing publicly grew, including singing at the 1996 Summer Olympics. She then earned a bachelor’s degree in music from Reinhardt in 2005, an MBA in 2011, and took on her current role in 2013.

Jessica’s energetic and outgoing personality pours into her efforts to touch as many lives as possible. She developed what she affectionately calls “Falany on the Road,” organizing off-site events such as clubhouse performances and community concerts. Her intentions are consistent: to help people of all ages discover a love for the arts and enrich their lives.

The Next Generation of Artists

Thanks to Jessica’s efforts, over the past year more than 1,500 children received free opportunities to experience the arts through music theater summer camps, holiday experiences, and field trips to see performances.

During Youth Art Month in March, R. M. Moore Elementary School STEM Academy students are displaying their art in the FPAC gallery and performing a concert on the professional stage. Jessica explains, “Our goal is to grow and become an art experience hub for schools in Cherokee County.”

Moving Forward and Making Memories

JoEllen Wilson, 1961 Reinhardt graduate and emerita vice president of advancement, credits Jessica with FPAC’s success, “Until Jessica became our director, we had hard times getting folks to drive ‘way up to Waleska.’ Enter Jess. She made the rounds, letting communities know what a jewel for the arts had been established at the Falany. The rest is history.”

Jessica strives to keep learning and progressing, “We’re always looking inward and working to improve experiences and what we provide. Being able to evolve will allow us to continue to supply a space for the people to come and embrace the arts.”

Thanks to Jessica and her team, FPAC visitors feel the warm spirit of the people of Cherokee County and the excitement of experiencing performing arts. Jessica describes the venue as being for people to share in joyful moments. “We provide a place for people to make lasting memories and build connections with one another. Whether it be with friends or a date night, it’s an opportunity to have a casual moment in a comfortable environment. I enjoy that we are memory makers.”

Visit Reinhardt.edu/Falany…

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Enjoy Cherokee / Women in Art (Photo Credit: Emily Danielle Cumana/Em Danielle Photography)