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June 16, 2008


KNOXVILLE - - During their recent quarterly meeting at the Tennessee Theatre in Knoxville, the Tennessee Arts Commission selected new officers.  The appointments become effective July 1, 2008. New officers that will lead the state’s arts agency are: Donna Chase of Knoxville, chair; Deanie Parker of Memphis, vice chair; and Gloria LaRoche of Murfreesboro, secretary.

Ed Gerace, outgoing chair from Johnson City, had many positive comments about the Commission as he reflected on his term as chair. “This has been one of the most professional groups with whom I’ve been associated, and I am confident the Commission will continue to reach new goals and levels of success” said Gerace. “It has been truly an honor to serve as Commission chair, and I am grateful for the many friendships and the opportunity to work along side these great individuals in promoting the arts in Tennessee.”

Donna Chase was appointed to the Commission in 2004, and will become the new chair. She has served as secretary since July of 2007. Chase is president of Lord & Chase, a Knoxville based contract interior design firm. She is a design and construction consultant to hospitality and residential clients throughout the country.  In recent years she has been involved with school and youth sports activities while also operating a retail antique and furnishings business in Knoxville. She received her bachelor’s degree in interior design from the University of Tennessee at Knoxville.
Chase is married to Michael Chase, who is president and chief executive officer of Copper Cellar Corporation. The company operates 17 popular Tennessee restaurants and has been recognized as one of the nation’s top multi-concept restaurant companies.  They reside in Knoxville and have two daughters, Kelsey and Kara.

Deanie Parker, appointed to the Commission in 2004, will serve as vice chair. She retired at the end of 2007 as president of the Soulsville Foundation, the nonprofit organization established to build and operate the Stax Museum of American Soul Music and Stax Music Academy.  She currently serves on the Foundation board.
She previously worked as director of publicity, artists and community relations for Stax Records, and worked with such internationally known performers as Isaac Hayes, Booker T. and the MGs, Otis Redding, the Staple Singers, Rufus and Carla Thomas, and many others.
Prior to joining the Soulsville Foundation,  Parker was the vice-president of communications and marketing at regional Medical Center at Memphis. For nearly a decade she served as assistant director of the Memphis In May International Festival.
Parker received a masters of public administration from the University of Memphis, and was awarded an honorary doctorate of human letters by LeMoyne-Owen College.  She received the University of Memphis College Alumni Achievement Award in 2003.

Assuming the position of secretary will be Gloria LaRoche. She was appointed to the Commission in 2004. LaRoche has been a homemaker for over 30 years. She is past president and board member of Murfreesboro Little Theatre and Murfreesboro/Rutherford County Center for the Arts.  She is past president of Friends of Vanderbilt Children’s Hospital and a past board member of Oaklands Historical House.  LaRoche is a current member of Murfreesboro Charity Circle.
LaRoche received her bachelor’s degree in sociology from Vanderbilt University.  Her hobbies include tennis, bridge, and travel.  She is married to Richard (Ted) LaRoche and they have two grown children.
Commission members are appointed by the Governor for five year terms.

The Tennessee Arts Commission is a state agency that funds and supports quality arts experiences that add value to the lives of every citizen, and enhances the quality of life in Tennessee communities.

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