Longtime and first Arts Alliance director Tamara Real passes away


Tamara Real, former president/CEO of The Arts Alliance, passed away Nov. 17, 2017, after bravely facing ALS – amyotrophic lateral sclerosis.

Tamara became The Arts Alliance’s first executive director in 2002 and served it until 2011. She moved a fledgling organization to a respected entity with mission and purpose. She made believers out many inside and outside of the arts and creative community who didn’t think an alliance would take hold. She galvanized all of us, knocked on doors and beat the bushes to raise awareness of the value of our arts and creative sector.

As deeply ensconced in her work as she was, she was also a devoted wife. She did not hesitate a moment in her decision to step down from her role with The Arts Alliance when her husband, Carl Rinne, was diagnosed with Lewy Body Dementia. She set all else aside to care for Carl. From that moment on she dedicated the rest of her life to building awareness of and investment in research of the Lewy Body Dementia disease.

Tamara, among so many accomplishments during her tenure at The Arts Alliance, made mentoring and championing emerging arts and creative sector leaders a priority. In respect of Tamara’s example, The Arts Alliance established its 21st Century Tamara Real Emerging Leader Award in her honor in 2015. Her legacy will live on in our organization and elsewhere.

Prior to her work with The Arts Alliance, Tamara served as principal of Get Real! Communications, a marketing firm she founded to help cultural organizations achieve their audience development goals. Prior to starting her own business, she managed marketing activities at Henry Ford Museum & Greenfield Village (now known as The Henry Ford), The Museum of Modern Art in New York City and the Smithsonian Institution. She has also served as the Director of Cultural Affairs for the City of New Haven, CT. Tamara held a master’s degree in art history from The Johns Hopkins University and bachelor’s degrees in art history and French from Dickinson College in Carlisle, PA.

A private memorial is scheduled to be followed by a public celebration of Tamara’s life in the New Year.

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