SEMC is excited to announce the 2021 Annual Meeting Keynote Speaker:
James McKissic

James McKissic is the President of ArtsBuild, whose mission is building a stronger community through the arts. In the recent past he served as Senior Advisor to Chattanooga Mayor Andy Berke and Director of Multicultural Affairs for City of Chattanooga Government, and as Chief Operating Officer of the Urban League of Greater Chattanooga. James is the 2020-2021 Chair of the Sankofa Fund for Civic Engagement, a giving circle, made up of Black professionals which has to date given over $300,000 to fund programs and projects in Chattanooga’s African American community. He is a graduate of the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga and the Robert F. Wagner School of Public Service at New York University. James recently completed the Arts Strategies certificate program with National Arts Strategies and the University of Pennsylvania and is a member of the Young American Leaders program with Harvard Business School and the Benwood Foundation. He is passionate about empowering communities, connecting cultures, and changing lives through the arts, cultural promotion and preservation, and philanthropy. In his spare time he loves to create art, visit museums, collect art, read, and garden.

SEMC 2021


1:00 – 4:00 pm

2020 Leadership Institute Workshop

1:00 – 4:00 pm


  • Rock City 

(Pre-registration required, Max 25,$25)

Visit Rock City Gardens and stroll through a 4,100-foot Enchanted Trail where you'll encounter incredible rock formations, magical caves, and breathtaking views. Walk at your leisure and experience the gardens at your own pace.  You'll be amazed at the spectacular seven states view from Lover's Leap, and see the world in a whole new way from Rainbow Hal

  • Chattanooga Riverfront Tour 

(Pre-registration required, Max 25)

Join this tour of Chattanooga’s riverfront with a special focus on “The Passage”, a collaborative and inclusive public art project by Cherokee artists, Team Gadugi, and the “Ed Johnson Memorial”, a public art project memorializing the 1906 lynching of Ed Johnson on the Walnut Street Bridge and recognizing the US Supreme Court case that established federal oversight of state level civil rights issues. “The Passage”, one of the nation’s largest public installations of Southern Native American art, is a living tribute to the resiliency and vibrancy of the Cherokee culture – and those of other tribes removed from this region during the Trail of Tears. The Ed Johnson Memorial promotes racial healing and reconciliation through the acknowledgement of his lynching and honors the courageous work of his attorneys and one of the forgotten first steps in the long battle for civil rights in America.  The riverfront tour will be guided by project team members exploring how to reconcile ownership of public spaces while giving voice to hidden stories through public art and placemaking.

5:00 pm - 6:30 pm

Pre-Conference Event

  • Bessie Smith Cultural Center 


8:30 am – 5:00 pm


8:30 am – 11:00 am

SEMC Council Meeting

8:30  am

HHMAG Meet-Up (Marriott lobby)


10:00 am – 11:15 am

Concurrent VIRTUAL sessions

11:30 am – 12:00 pm

SEMC Program Committee meeting

11:30 am – 1:00 pm

  • JIMI Alumni Luncheon 

(Pre-registration required, $25)

    • Director/Trustee Luncheon and Leadership Forum Program

    (Pre-registration required, $40)

      1:00 pm - 5:30 pm 

      Resource Expo Open

      1:00 pm – 2:15 pm  

      Concurrent On-Site Sessions ( + livestream of one session)

      2:15 pm – 2:45 pm       

      Iced Tea & Cookie Break

      2:30 pm – 4:00 pm

      Off-Site Session: SEMC Exhibit Review 

      2:45 pm – 4:00 pm  

      Concurrent ON-SITE Sessions (+ livestream of one session)

      4:00 pm – 4:30 pm

      • SEMC First Timers Welcome and Orientation 

      4:00 pm – 5:30 pm 

      Resource Expo Grand Opening Reception

      4:30 pm - 5:30 pm

      • Mid-Career Networking Meet-Up (Meeting Room 16)

      • Emerging Museum Professionals Meet-Up

      6:00 pm – 7:00 pm 


      Directors and Trustees Reception 

      Hunter Museum of  American Art                                                  

      6:30 - 8:00 pm 

      An Artful Evening

      Hunter Museum of American Art


      7:30 am – 9:00 am

      • Walking Tour: Chattanooga Downtown History Walk

      (Pre-registration required, limit 25, $25)

      • Chattanooga Bike Tour

       (Pre-registration required, limit 12 $25)

      • 5K Fun Run 

      (Pre-registration required, $25 includes t-shirt) 

      8:00 am – 5:00 pm 


      9:00 am – 5:30 pm    

      Resource Expo open

      9:00 am – 10:15 am  

      Concurrent VIRTUAL sessions 

      9:00 am – 10:15 am 

      HHMAG Business Meeting 

      10:00 am – 10:30 am              

      Coffee Break

      10:30 am – 11:45 am           

      Concurrent ON-SITE Sessions (+ livestream of one session)

      12:00 noon – 1:30 pm    

      Professional Network Luncheons

      • Southeastern Registrars Association (SERA)

      (Pre-registration required, $25)

      • Educators Luncheon (EdCoM)

      (Pre-registration required, $25)

      • Curators Luncheon  (CurCom)

      (Pre-registration required, $25)

      1:45 pm - 4:15 pm 


      • Museums and Social Justice: Institution-Wide Projects

      Hunter Museum of American Art

      (Pre-Registration Required, Max 30 participants)

      1:45 pm – 3:00 pm 

      Concurrent ON-SITE Sessions (+ livestream of one session)

      3:00 – 3:30 pm       

      Iced Tea and Cookies Break

      3:30 pm – 4:45 pm       

      Concurrent  VIRTUAL Sessions 

      4:30 pm – 5:30 pm        

      Resource Expo Closing Party

      5:30 pm – 6:30 pm       

      SEMC Council Legacy Reception 

      6:00 pm – 8:00 pm       

      Evening Museum Event (TBC)

      • Tennessee Aquarium 

      • National Medal of Honor Heritage Center 

      8:30 pm – 10:00 pm        

      SERA Registrars Respite 

      (location TBC)


      8:00 am – 12 noon 


      9:00 am – 10:15 am 

      General Session: SEMC Annual Business Meeting and Keynote Address                                                    - Live Streamed -

      10:30 am – 11:45 am 

      Concurrent ON-SITE Sessions (+ livestream of one session)

      12:00 noon – 1:30 pm          

      Annual SEMC Awards Luncheon

      (Pre-registration required, $30)

      1:45 pm – 4:00 pm 

      Off-Site Tours

      • SERA Behind-the-Scenes Tour (location TBC)

      (Pre-registration required, Max 25)

      • Chattanooga Southside Tour 

      (Pre-registration required, Max 25)

      Join the former Director of Chattanooga’s Public Art Program for a guided tour of Chattanooga’s Southside focused on outdoor murals and other public art that has transformed the area. Once the urban center of the city, the Southside fell into disrepair in the mid-20th Century.  Successful revitalization strategies included building new housing, opening a magnet elementary school, and recruiting creatives to live and work in the area. Today, the area’s abandoned warehouses and old buildings have been transformed and now house restaurants, shops, and art galleries. The eclectic mix of art, entertainment and cuisine in the Southside have helped make the area a favorite haunt for locals and a must-see place for visitors.

      • Sculpture Fields 

      (Pre-registration required, Max 25)

      Spend the afternoon at Sculpture Fields, the largest sculpture park in the Southeast located on a 33-acre park.  The repurposed former brownfield is the beautiful setting for over 40 large-scale sculptures by sculptors from all over the world and features over 1.5 miles of walking trails interweaving the sculptures. 

      • Ruby Falls 

      (Pre-registration required, Max 25, $25)

      Breathtaking Ruby Falls was accidentally discovered by Leo Lambert in 1928 on an unexpected journey deep within Lookout Mountain in Chattanooga, TN. Leo named the falls after his wife, Ruby, and opened the iconic Chattanooga attraction to the public in 1929. Today, Ruby Falls welcomes guests from around the world to enjoy underground cave adventures, spectacular views of the Cumberland Plateau, and soaring zip lines.

      2:00pm - 3:15pm 

      Concurrent VIRTUAL sessions 

      3:00 pm – 4:00 pm        

      Council Wrap Meeting