Margaret Murray, a native Floridian, has worked in the cultural sector not only in Florida, but in New York City, Amsterdam, and Washington, DC.
Murray’s career in the arts began in the music industry in New York, ultimately leading in a move to Amsterdam, where she successfully headed up European sales, distribution, and touring for Knitting Factory Records. Upon her move back to the states, she played leadership roles in two pivotal projects that poised the area’s arts community for a renaissance. As the lead researcher and fundraising coordinator for WMNF 88.5’s multi-million-dollar capital campaign, she helped the station secure funding for a new facility with three broadcast studios, two production studios and a live performance studio. In 2005, she became the communication director at the Morean Arts Center as the organization worked with glass artist Dale Chihuly to bring the globally recognized Chihuly Collection to St. Petersburg.
Her career then took her to Washington, DC as Executive Director for One in Ten, the arts organization producing the Reel Affirmations film festival. She also served as Executive Director twice for the Tampa International Gay and Lesbian Film Festival, leading both organizations to greater visibility through national collaborations with partners such as the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences and expansion to neighboring cities.
In 2015, she began working for the Museum of Fine Arts in St. Petersburg, eventually becoming Director of Public Programs and Community Engagement, where she created the nationally recognized Picture of Health and Museums for Immunity initiatives during the pandemic. A strong advocate for building and nurturing partnerships, locally, regionally, and internationally, led to the museum hosting programs in collaboration with the British Film Institute, the Florida Orchestra, the The Woodson African American Museum Of Florida, and Art Bridges.
In 2018, she secured funding for a year-long research project exploring museums as centers for healing and wellbeing, leading to the creation of Picture of Health, a nationally recognized initiative featuring museum visits utilizing the teachings of art therapists, therapy dogs, and the medical community to positively impact the community.
In addition to her professional work, she has created numerous community engagement projects, including the Tour de Shine mural tour and Kerouac in Paradise, an award-winning bicycle tour exploring Jack Kerouac’s life in St. Petersburg that served as her graduate thesis project from Savannah College of Art and Design. She has lectured on the arts throughout the country, including on New Queer Cinema at the Smithsonian’s National Portrait Gallery and has served as a juror for numerous arts competitions and film festivals, and as a panelist for the American Alliance of Museums.
A native Floridian, Murray is an avid gardener, paddle-boarder, and baker. She lives in St. Petersburg and splits her time equally between exploring Florida’s landscape and enjoying galleries, performances, and art openings.
She holds a master’s in arts administration from Savannah College of Art and Design and a bachelors in geography from the University of South Florida. She recently completed coursework with the Bartol Foundation to become a Trauma Informed Arts Educator and is Mental Health First Aid Certified through the Love 4 Lawrence Foundation.