While teaching at Memphis University, Osborne also held positions as General Director of Opera Memphis (formerly Memphis Opera Theater), the Lyric Theater of Memphis, and Ballet South. Prior to moving to Hartford, CT to head up the Hartford Chamber Orchestra and Connecticut Opera, Osborne spent two years as an Associate Professor and Director of Opera at West Virginia University working with former Metropolitan Opera stars Frances Yeend and Jon Crain. While in Hartford, Osborne formed a merger of three major arts organization The Hartford Ballet, the Hartford Chamber Orchestra and the Connecticut Opera which led to the building of a new Arts Center that not only housed these three organizations but also became the home of the Hartford Symphony and the Greater Hartford Arts Council. While serving as General Director of the Hartford Ballet he arranged an international performing tour for the Company to China. He also arranged for appearances by Baryshnikov, Rudolf Nureyev, and Peter Martens.
During his time in Connecticut Osborne received several awards including Arts Educator of the Year and the coveted “Arts Turkey of the Year” award. He also served on the Advisory Council for the Connecticut Commission on the Arts and was Chairman of the Hartford Commission on Cultural Affairs. He was selected to participate in the American Leadership Forum program and became a Senior Fellow in the program.
Since coming to Artpark in 2000, George Osborne has rejuvenated the park by creating the highly successful, award winning “Tuesday in the Park” concert series, working to create a summer home for the Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra at Artpark, more than doubling annual attendance at the park, and implementing a major capital improvements program. He has been instrumental in creating successful collaborations with the Buffalo Society of Artists, WNED, Niagara University, and the University at Buffalo. He has served as Chairman of the Board of Directors of the Niagara River Region Chamber of Commerce and is a long standing member of the Board of Directors of the Historic Lewiston Jazz Festival.
During Osborne’s tenure the Artpark State Park experienced huge accomplishments including the renovation of the Mainstage Theater that featured complete interior refurbishments, sound and lighting upgrades, new theater seats, and stage renovations. The original outdoor amphitheater became the focal point at Artpark that drew hundreds of thousands of concert patrons as the “Tuesday in the Park” and “Coors Light Wednesday” series grew in popularity across the region and in Southern Ontario. Under the direction of Osborne and the Artpark & Company Board a new outdoor amphitheater was designed, funding secured, constructed as a new gated venue, and reopened to the widespread acclaim. No other site in the Buffalo Niagara region presents the unique scenic atmosphere that Artpark’s Amphitheater offers to visitors and patrons.
Under Osborne’s term as President, Artpark has received eight “Best of WNY Awards’ (Buffalo Spree) for concerts and performances at Artpark, Osborne was selected as one of Business First’s ‘Most Influential People’ (2012) and again for Business First’s “Power 200” Award (2013). In 2009, George Osborne was the recipient of the prestigious Buffalo and Erie County “Trailblazers Award” from The Arts Council of Buffalo & Erie County in recognition of excellence, innovation, and achievements in the Western New York arts and cultural community, and for demonstrating leadership and progressive thinking that has resulted in substantial organizational improvement. Numerous awards and citations have been bestowed on Artpark during his term as President. Osborne held the position of Chairman of the Board of the Niagara River Region Chamber of Commerce for 4 years and was recently elected as Chairman of the Northwest Jazz Festival Board of Directors.
Osborne retired as President of Artpark at the end of the 2015 season but continues to serve as a management consultant to the organization.