MTSU recording industry alum takes helm of Rutherf...

MTSU recording industry alum takes helm of Rutherford Arts Alliance

Jeff Lysyczyn promo

MURFREESBORO, Tenn. — After nearly 30 years in the music industry, Middle Tennessee State University alumnus Jeff Lysyczyn will be singing a new tune as the first executive director for the local nonprofit Rutherford Arts Alliance.

The advocacy group was founded six years ago to promote the arts and culture throughout Rutherford County, and in 2023, the organization received a donation from the Hays Foundation in Nashville to hire its first executive director.

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The goal was to find someone whose experience would complement the mission of the nonprofit, and Lysyczyn’s career as an artist manager and music industry marketer does just that.

“As a manager, everything revolves around advocating for the artists you represent and it’s imperative to provide an environment where they can be the best creators possible without the encumbrance and worry associated with the machinations of running their businesses,” said Lysyczyn (pronounced Lih-SIZ-un), who graduated from MTSU’s University College with an emphasis in recording industry.

“Serving as executive director for the Rutherford Arts Alliance is a perfect platform for me to continue to advocate for artists in a new and exciting way.”

Dr. Lucy Langworthy, Assistant to the Dean, College of Liberal Arts.
Dr. Lucy Langworthy

Some of Lysyczyn’s first responsibilities will be increasing the membership of RAA and expanding its social media footprint as well as raising funds and garnering grants to promote and preserve the mission of the organization.

“Since RAA started in 2018, we have been working with a volunteer board, and they have worked faithfully with the many cultural arts organizations in our county,” said founding RAA member Lucy Langworthy, who is also assistant to the dean in the MTSU College of Liberal Arts. “But we are now at a point where this volunteer board cannot handle the volume of activity generated by the many cultural arts entities in our county.”

Rutherford Arts Alliance was born from local artists seeking connections with other like-minded individuals. Within the first year, the arts alliance organized a public mural painting, offered numerous artist workshops and organized a juried art show.

Since then, the nonprofit has partnered with 36 arts organizations as well as the city of Murfreesboro, MTSU, Mainstreet Murfreesboro and the Rutherford County Convention & Visitors Bureau.

Lysyczyn’s varied experience within the music industry struck a chord with the Rutherford Arts Alliance board.

Middle Tennessee State University recording industry management alumnus and music business veteran Jeff Lysyczyn has been named as the first executive director for the nonprofit Rutherford Arts Alliance, based in Murfreesboro, Tenn. (Submitted photo)
Middle Tennessee State University alumnus and music business veteran Jeff Lysyczyn has been named as the first executive director for the nonprofit Rutherford Arts Alliance, based in Murfreesboro, Tenn. (Submitted photo)

“Jeff knows our community, having lived here since he was a student at MTSU, and is overjoyed to use his gifts to advocate for all aspects of these cultural arts in our county and promote Rutherford County as a cultural and heritage destination,” Langworthy said.

In addition to artist management, Lysyczyn has been active as a major label employee working in public relations and marketing as well as songwriting.

He co-founded Big Show Music Co. in 2007 and helped reinvigorate the careers of several veteran recording artists and launched the careers of developing talents such as Joe Diffie, Alex Williams, Lorrie Morgan, Raul Malo, Restless Heart, Mickie James, and others. He has also been an adjunct instructor in the Mike Curb College of Entertainment and Music Business at Belmont University and is host of the “Music Business After Dark” vlog.

But it is the success of others that brings him the most pride.

“The things I’m most proud of are the firsts I’ve created for artists — their first recording contract, the first time they hear their song on the radio, the first time they perform on the Grand Ole Opry,” Lysyczyn said.

He hopes to bring that sort of success to local artists of all mediums and genres throughout Rutherford County.

“I’m just digging in this summer. It’s been a long time since I was this excited about a new endeavor,” Lysyczyn said. “I envision artists we advocate for performing on Broadway, showing their work in the finest museums, and reaching great heights in their chosen fields.”

For more information on how to get involved with Rutherford Arts Alliance, contact Susan Gulley at 615-714-3650 or email

— Nancy DeGennaro (