County resident becomes VP at JAG


COLUMBUS — The Jazz Arts Group (JAG) announces that Kelly Hebblethwaite Johnson has been appointed as the organization’s vice president of development. She assumed the role beginning Feb. 29 and comes to JAG with 20-plus years of advancement experience.

A classically trained musician from a family of musicians, Johnson is delighted to return to her performing arts roots as a part of the JAG team. “I have always been passionate about the power of the arts and music to encourage, inspire and build community connections,” she said. “I am thrilled to pair my advancement expertise with my deep love of the arts in this position.”

Johnson received her Bachelor of Arts in Music and History from Winthrop University and MBA, with an emphasis in arts administration from the University of Cincinnati. She is an 18-year resident of Columbus and past patron of the Columbus Jazz Orchestra. Kelly and her husband, Jack, live in southern Delaware ounty with their two cats, Lucy and Ella. Their daughters, Haylea and Natalie, live with their families in Lexington and Cleveland, respectively.

Her nearly 18-year career at The Ohio State University included more than seven years with the College of Arts and Sciences where she directed the overall strategy for a donor-centered stewardship program. She most recently held the position of Executive Director of Constituent Engagement and Annual Giving for the Columbian College of Arts and Sciences at George Washington University, where she supported the creation of a comprehensive alumni engagement and donor relations program.

“Kelly brings a forward-thinking approach to fundraising and stewardship,” said Katy Coy, CEO of Jazz Arts Group. “She joins the organization at the perfect time as we turn the corner from our 50th anniversary into a bright future, made possible by the incredibly supportive Columbus community. I am looking forward to JAG friends and family getting to know her this spring.”

Jazz Arts Group is the home of the Columbus Jazz Orchestra, led by bandleader Byron Stripling and performing five times each year in the historic Southern Theatre.

JAG is also a national jazz education leader, offering professional development for music educators, interactive musical performances for students, and playing opportunities for young people and lifelong learners alike. JAG partners across the United States to bring today’s very best jazz performing artists to Columbus, keeping a long and rich jazz legacy alive in the heart of the Midwest.

Information on upcoming performances, educational opportunities, and more can be found at

This story was submitted by the Jazz Arts Group.

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