Jess Burgess

Chief Executive Officer

Greenville Center for Creative Arts

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Professional Bio

Jess comes to South Carolina with 15 years of experience in nonprofit arts administration. She has a proven track record of start-up to growth-phase organizational leadership and development. From formulating strategic fundraising plans to preparing annual budgets and implementing sound strategies, her background has consistently been characterized by a steadfast dedication to managing fiscal responsibility and achieving organizational growth objectives.

Jess moved to Greenville after nearly a decade as the Executive Director of Dogtown Dance Theatre in Richmond, Virginia. She successfully created and managed new programs and fundraising strategies that resulted in increased revenue by 144% during her tenure and those programs reflect the cultural diversity alive in art today. In a panel review by the Virginia Commission for the Arts, jurors commented that “Jess Burgess is a strong and active advocate for the arts at every level.” She has dedicated her career to diligently diversifying income streams and building lasting relationships to secure financial stability for arts organizations that will ensure all programming emphasizes diversity, equity, inclusion, and access. Art should be a fundamental right, not a privilege.

Jess currently serves on the Executive Board of Directors for James Madison University’s (JMU) College of Visual and Performing Arts and most recently served as the Treasurer for the Association of Fundraising Professionals (AFP) Central Virginia Chapter Board of Directors. She received Bachelor of Arts degrees (Magna Cum Laude) in both Dance and Communications from JMU and a Professional Certificate in Fund Development from the University of Richmond. She is thrilled to call Greenville, South Carolina her new home and make a lasting impact on the lives of artists and those who love art while helping GCCA excel for years to come.


Parent: Greenville Center for Creative Arts

PO Box 2206 South Carolina Greenville, SC 29602

(864) 735-3948

Photo of Jess Burgess


James Madison University 2005

B.A. in Dance & B.A. in Communication

University of Richmond 2018

Certificate in Fund Development


2008 Theresa Pollak Award for Excellence in the Arts

2018 Women in the Arts Honoree

Volunteer Work

James Madison University College of Visual and Performing Arts - Board Member

Areas of Expertise

Executive Management (ED/CEO), Finance, Fundraising / Development, Grant Writing, Human Resources, Marketing, Operations, Program Management