FIVE MINUTES WITH Linda Powers, executive director of the Art League of Hilton Head

jpaprocki@islandpacket.comJanuary 12, 2012 

The Arts and Crafts Association of America started as an idea that Michigan resident Linda Powers had to help bring together artists. Within eight years, it expanded to become one of the largest nonprofit independent artist organizations in the United States.

Powers disbanded the association in 2006, but she returns to the art world as executive director of the Art League of Hilton Head.

Powers explains how she plans to grow another arts organization.

Question. How long have you been coming to South Carolina?

Answer. My husband and I and two children have been coming down here for about 15 years. We came down here in April. We didn't plan on buying a house, but we bought a house. One of those stories you hear a lot down here. I had a job as the distinguished events manager with the American Cancer Society in Michigan, but we were looking to get down here after our home sold.

Q. How did you get involved with arts organizations?

A. Arts have been a big part of my life. I was founder, president and executive director of (The Arts and Crafts Association of America). It started as a hobby. I had a technical background. I used to work for IBM and Digital Equipment Corporation. But I loved the arts. I was always volunteering for art shows and things like that. I realized it was difficult at that time to find artists. You couldn't just open the phonebook and find them. I thought I could create a registration for independent artists in the country. It ended up evolving into much more. I traveled the country, went to hundreds of art shows, organized many other shows, lobbied for artists in Washington, D.C. I got to know the art world well.

(The association) is no longer around. I got to the point where I was working myself to death. I have a daughter who was a very talented runner in college. I knew I needed to devote more time to family. After a lot of soul searching, I decided it wasn't right to continue the organization.

Q. What ideas do you have for the art league?

A. We haven't really gone too far down that path yet. Working for the American Cancer Society, I've done every sort of fundraising you can think of. We're trying to take the art league to the next level. We want more community-based involvement. We have a lot of visitors here and we want to get them more involved. There's everything from festivals we can do, outdoor art showings, galas, things we can put a unique spin on. Things like an sidewalk chalk art event or an artists market that could cater to 3D artists. Lost of things we want to develop. It will just take time.

Q. Are you an artist?

A. Not really. I guess I'm a little arts-y crafts-y. I make things but I'm not sure you'd want to buy them (laughs). Who knows, maybe with a few classes, I might be a budding artist.

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