A new chapter at TBAAL
Michael McGee | 2/12/2014, 8:06 p.m.
The Dallas Examiner
“You know, it wasn’t as hard as I thought it would be,” Jiles King remarked as he discussed his return to Texas in October to accept the position of chief executive director of The Black Academy of Arts and Letters Inc. Jiles worked for the association in years past as the marketing and media relations manager but said he’s ready to step things up for TBAAL in 2014.
“It’s been, actually, a very smooth transition. The staff has been very receptive and they’re very excited about being here, number one, but also about what the future holds,” he asserted.
According to the TBAAL website (http://www.tbaal.org), the academy is a nonprofit arts group that began as The Junior Black Academy of Arts and Letters Inc. It was created and incorporated in 1977 by Curtis King – no relation to Jiles – who currently serves as its president.
A major underpinning of the TBAAL purpose is “to create and enhance an awareness and understanding of artistic, cultural and aesthetic differences utilizing the framework of African American Arts and Letters,” as indicated by their mission statement. Jiles said he plans to take that which is already exceptional and make it more so.
“I’m excited to work with Curtis King,” he said. “I bring a useful outside look because I have been an employee, but also, I’ve been outside looking in.”
Along with his outsider perspective, Jiles brings to the directorship a wealth of show business experience. A Dallas native, he graduated from the School for the Talented and Gifted at the Yvonne A. Ewell Townview Center. In 2003 Jiles graduated from Morehouse College where he majored in theater.
“It was an amazing legacy at Morehouse,” Jiles recalled. “To walk the same halls as the Dr. Kings and the Spike Lees and all the great luminaries that came out of that institution.”
A stint at Plano Repertory Theater followed what lead to his first job with TBAAL. After about two years in that position, Jiles taught in the theater department at Skyline High School; he later became the chairman of the Fine Arts department.
While at Skyline he started 7th Stage Productions in 2007; the theater company put on two to four shows a year and has since found a home in New York City when King moved there in 2011 to attend Columbia University. He rounded out his theater resume with time on Broadway as a merchandise marketing intern for Disney Theatrical Group.
“I’ve had that world experience, per se, so I’m able to bring a fresh, new look to what already is a great institution,” he stated.
Jiles is presently working on his master’s thesis in CU’s Theater Producing and Management program and is on schedule to graduate in May. Even while working on his degree, Jiles pointed out that his mind is equally focused on where TBAAL is going.
“I would love to bring in national tours of plays that may have been on Broadway or been through regional theaters to the Black Academy and give our members and supporters, and our ticket-buyers as well, access to those types of shows,” he said. “Maybe the ones that don’t go to the music halls or the Winspear Opera House.”