Liza Zenni’s career in non-profit administration has spanned nearly 20 years. Since 2002 she has served as Executive Director of the Arts & Culture Alliance of Greater Knoxville, a membership-based organization of artists, arts and culture organizations, historic homes, and arts supporters in 11 East Tennessee counties. Under her leadership, Alliance membership has grown from fewer than 40 individual artists and 15 company members to 350 individuals and more than 100 organizations (expanding membership from theater, dance, and visual arts organizations to museums and historic homes as well).
Through two strategic alliances with government agencies, the Alliance has distributed more than a million dollars to non-profits on behalf of the state and has adjudicated nearly $2,400,000 in community agency grants for the City of Knoxville. Liza led the creation of the Emporium Center in 2004 and helped secure the funding package for it. She now manages the Center which annually draws more than 50,000 people to downtown Knoxville to visit its eight ethnically-diverse arts organizations, eight artist studios, and countless exhibits, performances, classes, workshops, and meetings. In 2007 she oversaw the expansion of the Emporium Center to encompass an Annex for use by a broad range of community organizations. The Emporium Gallery has returned more than $200,000 in artwork sales to local artists since its opening.
In 2006 Liza applied her experience in ticketing by creating KnoxTIX, an online cooperative box office service designed to help geographically diverse organizations economize on box office overhead. Under her direction, the Alliance developed and administers the Arts & Heritage Fund, created to provide additional financial support to the local non-profit arts and heritage field.
An experienced public speaker and consensus builder among diverse communities, Liza routinely makes public presentations and leads roundtables, committee meetings, symposia and panel discussions. In her time at the Arts & Culture Alliance, she has gained the reputation as a dynamic leader who can listen, build trust and inspire cooperation among divergent members of the community. She has successfully rallied support and participation in programs developed at the Alliance to foster collaboration among the arts segment and the community as a whole.
Liza has performed as an effective advocate earning appointments on the City of Knoxville Mayor’s Public Arts Committee, the statewide Tennesseans for the Arts Board, Maryville College’s Civic Arts Center Board, and the Executive Women’s Association Executive Committee. She has served as a consultant and panelist to numerous funding entities, civic organizations, and redevelopment projects.
Liza earned her Bachelor’s Degree from Brigham Young University and Master’s Degree from the Yale University School of Drama.