New Member: Karen Wells


Please welcome and introduce yourself to new member Karen Wells.

Karen Wells is the first Executive Director of the Durham Library Foundation, having begun her position in May, 2018.

Prior to moving to Durham, she served for seventeen years as Executive Director of Arts North Carolina, leading and facilitating citizen advocacy at the NC General Assembly.  During her tenure, state funding for 250 organizations was increased, impacting local recipients including the Durham Arts Council, American Dance Festival, Mallarme Chamber Players, and Manbites Dog Theatre.

At her retirement from Arts North Carolina in the spring of 2017 she was presented her greatest honor, The Order of the Long Leaf Pine.

Karen previously served as Performing Arts Director at the North Carolina Arts Council and for ten years as Executive Director of the Arts Council of Wilson.  Karen’s lifelong work in nonprofit management is grounded in the transformative power of educational and cultural opportunities to change lives and communities, and she considers it a privilege to now be serving the Durham Library Foundation’s mission of providing a margin of excellence for the Durham Public Library.

She has one son, Baxter, a 2nd year law student at NCSU and a daughter, Olivia Wells Hodgson, a pediatric nurse at Duke Hospital.

Karen is pictured above with President Brady, her sponsor Judge Bill Whichard and Emily Page of the Membership Committee who inducted her.

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