Visit our COVID-19 Information pages for details regarding the coronavirus as it relates to the Chickasaw Nation.
News > Press Releases > Press Release

Press Release

Release Date: March 11, 2022
by Chickasaw Nation Media Relations Office

Chickasaw Nation Governor Bill Anoatubby has appointed arts management professional James Wallace director of visual arts, media and design in the Chickasaw Nation Department of Culture and Humanities.

Mr. Wallace has extensive experience in the arts.

“James Wallace brings a wealth of education and experience to his new role,” Governor Anoatubby said. “His enthusiasm for the arts and his commitment to service make him well equipped to serve the Chickasaw Nation in his new position.”

A Choctaw citizen, Mr. Wallace graduated from East Central University in Ada with a degree in theatre and speech. He also holds a degree in contemporary theater practice from the University of Essex in Colchester, England, and a certificate in business and entrepreneurship from the Institute of American Indian Arts in Santa Fe, N.M.

Born in Oceanside, California, Mr. Wallace’s family moved to Lawton, Oklahoma, when he was an infant, but he was raised primarily in Moore, Oklahoma After graduating from Moore High School, Mr. Wallace attended four universities in three years before deciding to pursue a degree in the arts while at East Central University.

While studying at the University of Essex, Mr. Wallace said he had the privilege of writing a play and performing onstage at the Globe Theatre in London – famed for its association with William Shakespeare.

After graduating from the University of Essex, Mr. Wallace worked as an appearance coordinator at Universal Studios Theme Park in Los Angeles, then as a production development assistant at Nickelodeon International, and a production assistant and production coordinator at Random House, Inc., in New York.

He returned to Oklahoma to be closer to family. In 2008 he applied for a position as performing arts coordinator with the Chickasaw Nation. He got the job and began his career with the Chickasaw Nation in 2008 as performing arts coordinator.

“I felt very fortunate to have that opportunity,” Mr. Wallace said. “The arts have always been a big part of my life.”

He was promoted to a position as Visual Arts, Media and Design manager in 2015.

“Seeing how this division has grown, and how our programming and services have evolved is really amazing,” Mr. Wallace said. “I’m really fortunate to work for an organization that values the arts so highly.”

As director of Visual Arts, Media and Design, Mr. Wallace’s current team manages the ARTesian Artisan Gallery & Studios in Sulphur, and the Chokma’si Gallery in Ada. His team puts on the Artesian Arts Festival in Sulphur, Oklahoma with the help of many other Chickasaw Nation departments. His team also works on artist development with Chickasaw and other Native American artists, and utilizes as well as utilizing the arts for community and economic development.

Mr. Wallace said he saw visual arts, performing arts and even culinary arts as being forms of storytelling.

“Without storytelling, I think there would be so much of our culture and history that would be unknown,” he said. “Through the arts, we’re giving people the opportunity to share their own story and their own history, but also to share and create new history.”

He said his appointment by Governor Anoatubby was an honor.

“I felt honored that he would put that faith and trust in me to help uphold our mission through the arts,” he said.

Mr. Wallace currently lives in Ada. He has two children, Zora and Xylan.

“They’re both smart and creative,” he said. “What I do, I feel directly impacts them.”