Osubi Craig, a multi-talented higher education administrator, arts presenter, traditional African percussionist, and arts advocate, brings a great deal of experience and energy to his new role as Director of the Center for the Arts, Migration, and Entrepreneurship, in the College of Arts at the University of Florida. Osubi has over 20 years of experience as an Arts Administrator, developing and running programming, cultivating relationships, establishing collaborative partnerships, crafting shared visions and strategic directions, and working effectively with Arts programs and organizations nestled under the umbrella of higher education institutions.
Osubi is the oldest of ten children from a large and extended family. As a child growing up in Brooklyn, NY he was immersed in the African diasporic cultural arts movement. As a third generation percussionist, Osubi’s youth was focused on the preservation, perpetuation, and study of cultural arts of the African Diaspora. A Gainesville High School graduate and a proud member of the Purple Hurricane Marching Band, his passion for science, technology and problem solving led him to earn a B.S. degree in Industrial Engineering while minoring in Jazz Studies at Florida A&M University (FAMU). During his time at FAMU he performed with the prestigious FAMU Marching “100” band, FAMU Jazz Ensemble, Dromatala Hand and-Stick Percussion Ensemble, African Carriben Dance Theater and FAMU’s Orchesis Contemporary Dance Theater throughout the U.S., Caribbean, South America and Europe.
Early in his career, he followed his passion for the Arts, working extensively with major performing arts organizations, serving as a staff musician and program consultant for the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater and National Dance Institute's Arts in Education programs. He served as lead drummer for Kulu Mele African Dance & Drum Ensemble (Philadelphia, PA) and African Caribbean Dance Theater (Tallahassee, FL), and as a teaching artist for the Philly Pops (Philadelphia, PA), New Jersey Performing Arts Center (Newark, NJ), Lincoln Center Institute arts in education program (New York, NY) and Urban Bush Women (New York, NY). Osubi is also the founder and artistic director of the Prophecy Music Project, a Philadelphia- and New York City-based ensemble of professional dancers and musicians dedicated to the performance, practice and preservation of traditional African and African diasporic music and dance.
Osubi's desire for growth lead him back to Tallahassee where he earned an M.A. from Florida State University (FSU) in Arts Administration with an emphasis on Grants and Program Management. During and after graduate school, Craig served as the Assistant Director of the Office of Black Diasporan Culture at FAMU facilitating concerts and performances, lecture series, international education travel experiences, and community outreach programming throughout northern Florida.
As an arts administrator, Mr. Craig has experience with 1890 land grant programming, having served as Grant Specialist, Construction Project Manager, and Research Coordinator for the College of Engineering, Sciences, Technology and Agriculture (CESTA) at Florida A&M University (FAMU). During his time at Florida Memorial University (FMU) as Director of Grants and Sponsored Research/HBCU Title III Programs Craig led FMU to increases in grants submitted and awarded to the university. Mr. Craig successfully renegotiated the university's indirect cost rate agreement with the federal government allowing for greater funds to be recovered when operating grants and sponsored agreements. In addition, Craig spearheaded the effort to extend the life of a major federal Aviation grant and expanded the scope of the grant to allow for the purchase of a Cessna 172 SP airplane for the award winning FMU Aviation program, allowing FMU students to gain the needed flight hours for pilot certification at a much lower cost.
He has served as Director of Arts and Cultural Affairs at Polk State College in Lake Wales, Florida, cultivating a diverse audience, commissioning performing and visual arts programming that covered a broad base of genres and taste profiles. As director, he oversaw art gallery programming (concerts, art gallery exhibits and events, workshops, performing arts festivals, Arts in Education engagement), facility rentals,equipment, staffing, and operating cost expenditures for the center and was involved in donor cultivation, grant-writing activities and fundraising efforts to support programming. Under his leadership, the Lake Wales Arts Center was rebranded as one of the primary cultural hubs in Central Florida for Visual and Performing Arts.
Osubi is coming to the University of Florida from Virginia State University (VSU), where he served as the Special Assistant to the President for Strategic Initiatives and Director of Government Relations. As the top advisor to the president, he provided direct support for high priority Presidential initiatives on policy, project implementation, and financial issues that directly impacts the core operations of the University, community relationships, external affairs, as well as student experience, matriculation, access, affordability and success. He was the primary representative for the president in communications with the vice presidents and senior leaders within the organization, the spokesperson for most external constituents, and the direct liaison to officials and agencies of the U.S., state and local governments.
In his short time at VSU, Craig made a monumental impact, building relationships, securing funding, and elevating the brand of the university throughout the Commonwealth of Virginia. As Special Assistant to the President, he led the team in designing and establishing a new state of the art Student Welcome and recruitment center inside of the VSU Multipurpose Center. He also successfully prepared all senior VSU staff for the SACS special committee visit that resulted University’s regional accreditation being reaffirmed. As Director Government relations, he successfully advocated with the general assembly for a 3% salary increase for staff and faculty and an exemption from statewide budget cut in the 2017 session. He successfully advocated for a 1 million dollars increase in financial aid and STEM education in 2018, a year in which VSU named 2018 HBCU of the Year by HBCU Digest. He secured state funding for the new $99 million-dollar Academic Commons Facility and secured $3.6 million in new recurring funding supporting new faculty positions financial aid and online education programs in the 2019 session of the state assembly. He also developed and implemented the first ever “VSU day at the Capitol,” a day of legislative advocacy events. He was named to the (SCHEV) Higher Education Student Financial Assistance review panel and to the planning group for the SCHEV Orientation for New Board Members. He helped to strengthen many working relationships with local area government and community leaders around the greater Richmond metro area.
Osubi is excited to have returned to Gainesville to be a part of the Gator Nation.