Columbia Museum of Art’s board of trustees adds three new members

June 27, 2024

Talented local leaders bring their skills to the museum

The Columbia Museum of Art announces Leslie Archie, Elizabeth Nkuo Johnson, and Jesse A. Smith as the three new members elected to serve on its board of trustees for the 2024 – 2027 term.

Left to right: Leslie Archie, Elizabeth Nkuo Johnson, and Jesse A. Smith.

Archie is a former engineer at SCANA now enjoying her retirement. A CMA member since 1998, Archie has previously served on the museum’s board of trustees (2016 – 2022) and as secretary of its executive committee.

Nkuo Johnson is the longtime director of community relations at BlueCross BlueShield of South Carolina. She has been a museum member since 2009 and a member of museum affinity group Columbia Design League since 2010, serving terms as both president and vice president.

Smith is the executive director of the South Carolina Jobs-Economic Development Authority. He previously worked as a strategic advisor to companiesacross the state and held a senior leadership position at First Citizens Bank. A CMA member since 2004, Smith has also been a member of the museum affinity group The Contemporaries and helped with their fundraising to secure the CMA’s iconic Chihuly chandelier a decade ago.

“It’s truly commendable to see the new trustees of the Columbia Museum of Art actively contributing their skills, connections, and passionate advocacy to further the organization’s mission,” says CMA Executive Director Della Watkins. “Their commitment to governance leadership is inspiring!“

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About the CMA   

The Columbia Museum of Art is a charitable nonprofit organization dedicated to lifelong learning and community enrichment for all. Located in the heart of downtown Columbia, S.C., the CMA ranks among the leading art institutions in the country and is distinguished by its innovative exhibitions and creative educational programs. At the heart of the CMA and its programs is its collection, which encompasses 7,000 works and spans 5,000 years of art history. Established in 1950, the CMA now welcomes more than 150,000 visitors annually and is a catalyst for community creativity and education, engaging people of all ages and backgrounds. It is the recipient of a National Medal from the Institute of Museum and Library Services, a National Art Education Association award for its contributions to arts education, a National Park Foundation Award, and two Governor’s Awards for the Arts for outstanding contributions to the arts in South Carolina. In order to serve even more audiences, the CMA underwent a transformation. Funded by a successful capital campaign, the two-year renovation project garnered new collection galleries with a progressive thematic layout, new studios for artmaking, cutting-edge program and event spaces, and an entrance on Main Street. Overall, more than 15,000 square feet of functional space were added to the building’s existing footprint. To learn more, visit