Connie Gatlin


Artistic Director, Cleveland City Ballet / Writer / Storyteller, Cleveland, TN

When it comes to the arts in Bradley County, one name comes to mind—Connie Gatlin. Gatlin has had a lifetime of achievement in the area of the arts, always working tirelessly to provide programs, training, education and support to her community. She began her career of inspiring and educating future thespians and show choir singers at Bradley Central High School and continued for 20 years. She established a theatre program with 2-3 full length performances yearly with high school performances running the gamut from South Pacific to Little Shop of Horrors, from Grease to Steel Magnolias.

She also founded the education program at the Museum Center at 5ive Points and led a team of fellow artists to create a local council—the Allied Arts of Cleveland, celebrating its 25 th Silver Anniversary this year. Through her work on the Allied Arts Council, Gatlin co-founded a fund-raising project called “Chair-rees Jubilee” which has now raised in excess of $450,000 for local teacher-written grants for the children of Cleveland and Bradley County in classroom arts-based experiences.

When a long standing dance studio was about to shut the doors, Gatlin purchased the studio in 2005 and continued its tradition of quality and classical dance instruction for children in our community. The Cleveland City Ballet is in its 80 th year of serving our community because of her commitment.

But, of all of her accomplishments in her life, there has never been a prouder moment than when she watcher her daughter, Abigail, dance as Cleveland’s first and only Radio City Rockette in New York City!