John Cherry named marketing director at Clayton Center for the Arts

John Cherry

John Cherry

After a comprehensive search that lasted several months, officials with the Clayton Center for the Arts announced that John Cherry had been named the Center’s director of marketing.

Cherry, a Maryville native, is expected to join the staff on Oct. 12 and coordinate the marketing and public relations activities for the arts facility that is currently under construction on the Maryville College campus.

“I am pleased to announce that John Cherry has accepted the position of director of marketing for the Clayton Center,” said Executive Director Robert Hutchens.

This summer, candidates were reviewed and interviewed in an effort to identify the person with the best combination of experience and passion for the task at hand. More than 150 applicants submitted resumes and nine candidates were interviewed.

Cherry emerged through the search process as the candidate with the necessary background in marketing and public relations, Hutchens explained.

“What John brings to the Clayton Center is the rare combination of marketing experience, love of this community and a deep understanding and appreciation of the arts,” said Hutchens.

For the last three years, Cherry has served as the public relations manager for the Tellico Village Property Owners Association in Loudon County. He retired from a career in the United States Air Force in 2005. As an Air Force officer, he led large training units and was an award-winning public affairs officer. He was recognized for innovative public relations, community outreach and brand management programs throughout his public affairs career.

“The thing that stood out about Mr. Cherry is his long connection to Maryville and the local performing arts scene,” said Holly Jackson-Ludlow, vice president of advancement and community relations for Maryville College. “I’m confident in his ability to position the Clayton Center as a regional destination for the arts and artists. I’m also confident he has the vision to assist in bringing vibrant, inspirational art to our stages and galleries.”

A graduate of the University of Tennessee’s theater program, Cherry is one of the founding members of the Foothills Community Players, a community theater group in Blount County. He also is a board member and director for the Primary Players Children’s Theatre Group, which focuses on providing theatre arts opportunities for the youth of the community.

Hutchens said that Cherry’s leadership experience was another significant factor in selecting him for the important position. The new marketing director holds a master’s degree in organizational leadership from Chapman University in Orange, Calif. He is a graduate of two community leadership programs: Leadership Lompoc Valley in Lompoc, Calif., and Leadership Loudon County.

“Add to his leadership experience those 21 years of service as an Air Force officer, a theater resume with more than 50 acting and directing credits, and it becomes clear that John Cherry is going to be a valuable staff member,” Hutchens said.

Cherry said he expects to immediately begin working with the Clayton Center’s 30-member advisory board and the leadership of Maryville College to tackle the task of moving forward to meet the goals of the Center.

The grand opening of the Clayton Center for the Arts is scheduled for Spring 2010.

Constructed through a partnership of the College, the cities of Maryville and Alcoa, and state and federal governments, the $47-million Clayton Center for the Arts will celebrate the art and culture of the Appalachian region by serving as a venue for local musicians, performers and artists.

Its design will also accommodate plays and musicals, concerts by touring musicians and orchestras, traveling art exhibits, film series, children’s plays and presentations by nationally recognized speakers.

To learn more about the Clayton Center for the Arts, including naming opportunities, visit

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