Leslie Gordon, director of the Rialto Center for the Arts at Georgia State University, has been knighted by the French government. The honor recognizes eminent artists, writers and people who have contributed significantly to furthering the arts in France and the world.
Technically, and in its native language, the honor is known as the Chevalier des Arts et Lettres. Other Americans so honored include George Clooney; Tim Burton; Malcolm Rogers, director of Boston Museum of Fine Arts; and Michael Shapiro, director of the High Museum of Art.
Gordon was praised for her sensitivity, fine taste, enthusiasm and extraordinary competence, and for raising the bar on Atlanta’s artistic scene for more than 27 years.
She began her career in arts management in 1985 as the director of cultural affairs for the city of Savannah. She helped produce the Cultural Olympiad, which preceded the 1996 Atlanta Games, and was artistic director of the Arts Festival of Atlanta in 1997. She managed humanities and education for the National Black Arts Festival in 2000-2002, before taking over at the Rialto in 2003.