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Kelly Skinner | Photo: Jimmy Johnston | May 21, 2013
Philanthropist, hip-hop mogul, ambassador, artist, patron, grandmother—Judy Mauldin does it all.
You’d be hard-pressed to find Judy Mauldin, newly appointed chair of the Fulton County Arts Council, at rest. Even today, after an emergency appointment to the dentist (who told her she needs a root canal), and a full day of meetings, she’s impressively upbeat. “I found my passion—art, music, fashion, youth—in life a long time ago, and I’ve had the luxury of being able to do what I want to do,” she confesses. “My passion is my purpose.” And, really, what doesn’t she do? Besides serving as chair, she’s on a slew of committees and boards at SCAD-Atlanta, Georgia Institute of Technology and Georgia State University; she runs the youth-empowerment nonprofit R&B Hip Hop 4 Humanity (recently recognized by the U.N. as a Music as a Global Resource program) with her ex, Michael Mauldin (Jermaine Dupri’s dad); she does consulting work; and she’s busy launching several fashion-related projects.
“Everything I’ve done has brought me back to where I am today,” she says. Her experience working on Capitol Hill and then alongside Michael in the entertainment industry (where she saw the rise of stars like Alicia Keys, Jay-Z and Lauryn Hill) make her uniquely suited to each of her current roles, especially in regards to the Fulton County Arts Council. Since starting her post at the beginning of the year, Judy has restructured the council, set up meetings with the commissioners, established bylaws and even jumped in on a two-hour conference call with President Obama. Now, she’s busy working on a five-year strategic plan to move the creative community and industry forward in Fulton County. “I have so much invested in Fulton. I’ve been here 23 years. I just see this as such a great opportunity.”
In those rare moments when Judy does rest, this high-powered grandmother and “tomboy at heart” unwinds with a tractor ride on her farm in the North Georgia mountains. “I’m living life the way I’m supposed to,” she reflects. “My family is so important. And saving the world one child at a time... that’s really what it’s all about.”