The Holly Theatre is Dahlonega is among the historic sites in which the Fox Theatre Institute has invested.

The Fox Theatre has hired Leigh Burns, a historic preservation and community development expert, to lead the Fox Theatre Institute, the corporation’s programming, consulting and grant funding division.

Leigh Burns
Leigh Burns

In less than 10 years, the FTI has spent more than $1 million in grants for restoration and operation assistance at such historic Georgia theaters as the Rylander in Americus; the Morton in Athens; the Plaza in Atlanta; the Imperial in Augusta; the Holly and Ritz in Brunswick; the Gem in Calhoun; the Springer Opera House in Columbus; the Holly in Dahlonega; the Fitzgerald Grand in Fitzgerald; the Cox Capitol, Douglass and Grand Opera House in Macon; the President in Manchester; the Strand in Marietta; the DeSoto in Rome; the Emma Kelly in Statesboro; and the Ritz in Thomaston.

As director, Burns will be charged with developing and implementing FTI’s strategic plans and programs, overseeing budgets, growing the free Fox-in-a-Box traveling exhibit for schoolchildren and growing Georgia Presenters, a statewide talent booking consortium.

Burns has spent 17 years as a historic preservation planner and community developer. She has worked at the Georgia Main Street Program, an arm of the Georgia Department of Community Affairs, and with the Historic Preservation Division of Georgia’s natural resources department. She’s on the boards of the Georgia Downtown Association and Young Harris College alumni, and volunteers with the Historic Oakland Foundation and the Georgia Trust for Historic Preservation. She has undergraduate degrees from Young Harris and the University of Georgia, and received a Master of Heritage Preservation degree from Georgia State University in 2001.