The D.C. Commission on the Arts and Humanities announced it has a new executive director: Lionell Thomas, a former longtime DCCAH staffer who since 2009 has been the executive director of the Prince George’s Arts and Humanities council. Thomas replaces interim executive director Ayris Scales, who has led the commission since January. He inherits an entity with its smallest grant budget in years: In 2012, it will distribute a piddly $3.92 million in grants to artists and organizations.

I’m not too familiar with Thomas, but I’m looking forward to chatting with him this week. One quick observation: Under the previous mayoral administration, the last person to hold the commission’s E.D. job, Gloria Nauden, came from a P.R. background, and was of a piece with Adrian Fenty‘s outsider ethos. Thomas, whose CV is long on art-management experience, strikes me as a brass-tacks choice.

Back in July, the commission’s new chair, arts patron Judith Terra, was sworn in.