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National Museum of African American Music Adds Directors

THE TENNESSEE TRIBUNE —  The National Museum of African American Music has named Vincent PremDas as the director of development and Tamar Smithers as the director of education programs.

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(l-r) Vincent PremDas and Tamar Smithers
By The Tennessee Tribune

NASHVILLE, TN — The National Museum of African American Music has named Vincent PremDas as the director of development and Tamar Smithers as the director of education programs.

Vincent PremDas joins NMAAM from Fisk University, where he most recently served as the associate vice president for institutional advancement, according to a release. He will be responsible for the museum’s capital campaign, annual fundraising and membership efforts.

In his 20-year career, PremDas spearheaded major giving and development campaigns across various industries, including education, nonprofit, health care and government. His work resulted in philanthropic gifts while he was at the University of Florida College of Medicine and Levin College of Law, Vanderbilt Law School, Radford University College of Business and Economics and Fisk.

PremDas will replace current NMAAM director of development LoLita Toney, who will be leaving at the end of the month.

PremDas received his Bachelor of Science degree in sports management from the University of Florida. He is currently a Master of Business Administration degree candidate at Northwestern University’s Kellogg School of Management. He is a member of Phi Beta Sigma Fraternity Inc.

“[PremDas] has facilitated major donations for a number of well-known organizations,” H. Beecher Hicks III, NMAAM president and CEO, said in the release. “And with the museum’s grand opening approaching quickly, Vincent will be integral to helping us continue our fundraising momentum and secure the support that will make NMAAM an international destination.”

Smithers (on right in photo) joins NMAAM from Syracuse University’s Community Folk Art Center, where she has served as the director of education since 2013. Prior to Syracuse, Smithers served as the director of education for Barbizon USA.

At NMAAM, Smithers will oversee youth and adult programming, as well as education initiatives in the Metro Nashville Public Schools system. NMAAM’s educational programs include “From Nothing to Something,” teaching students musical history by introducing them to cultural instruments, and “Music, Legends and Heroes,” exposing students to artists and music industry leaders through interactive conversations.

Tamar Smithers received her Bachelor of Fine Arts degree in acting from Syracuse University. She also received her certificate of advanced study in higher education leadership and Master of Science degree in arts administration from Le Moyne College. She is a member of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority Inc.

“Telling the story of the American soundtrack demands that we pass down the techniques and influences that were foundational to today’s music,” Hicks said. “Tamar’s passion for education and performing arts makes her the perfect candidate for sharing these stories with children both in Nashville and across the country.”

The announcements of the two hires follows an announcement earlier this week that NMAAM received a $1 million gift, bringing it to 75 percent of its $50 million goal.

The museum is expected to open no later than early 2020.

This article originally appeared in The Tennessee Tribune

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