Elizabeth Rouse evolved into the role of cheerleader for the Memphis arts community. As a transplant born in Mobile, Ala., her mother put her in ballet, but Rouse wanted to watch the graceful dance, not perform it. She moved to the Bluff City nine years ago for a job with ArtsMemphis, not expecting to stay forever. But she discovered a buffet of artistry here. She fell in love with the city and its talent.
Now Rouse, today ArtsMemphis president and CEO, fills her days and nights with the arts. Arts meetings. Arts fundraisers. Arts openings. No opportunity to cheer, to support, to promote the arts is too small. She told a ladies garden club recently, “Don’t ever let anyone tell you there’s nothing to do here. There’s constantly something happening in Memphis.”
ArtsMemphis, a nonprofit organization formerly known as Memphis Arts Council, has been an advocate for the arts 50 years. This year, ArtsMemphis awarded grants totaling $3 million to about 60 organizations and six individuals. It also mentors organizations and helps with business and fundraising plans.