Leadership team expanding at Beaufort's ARTworks

beaufortgazette.comAugust 18, 2013 

Leadership changes are coming to ARTworks, a nonprofit community art center, theater and gallery in Beaufort run by the Arts Council.

Executive director JW Rone will take on the newly created position of artistic director, and many of his other duties will be divided among several positions.

Past board president Deanna Bowdish has been named gallery curator, a new position.

"I am stepping aside as the executive director to act as artistic director to focus more on the artistic work that the Arts Council is involved in and to do more of own my artistic endeavors," said Rone, who called the change a "lateral move."

It's not clear who will assume Rone's executive-director title. Board member Melissa Florence was to fill the position starting Thursday, but declined the role. She could not be reached for comment Thursday.

"We are focusing each position down to a specialty, so the executive director is not responsible for everything that goes on in that space," Bowdish said. "As a team, we will all work together. We will each have our role, our specialty, that we are responsible for."

The official announcement of the changes is planned for the organization's public annual meeting at 6 p.m. Saturday at ARTworks in Beaufort Town Center. More information about the organization's future is expected then.

"I think it is exciting that we are expanding the team, and we are building the team," Rone said.

Bowdish intends to move her business, The Gallery, into ARTworks and other satellite locations by the end of the month to prepare for her new role.

Bowdish said the Arts Council wants ARTworks to grow and respond to community needs. Her goals for the gallery are to be more selective about what is showcased there and to seek both local and national artists to show work. In the past, gallery officials were most typically approached by artists seeking a space. They then chose which artists to highlight.

Bowdish also wants to have more artist-taught classes.

That doesn't mean local artists won't have opportunities, Bowdish said -- only that shows will need to be better organized, with distinct themes and attributes.

"The field is going to be tighter," she said. "It's going to be harder to get a show there."

Rone intends to put his institutional knowledge of the Beaufort art community to work and help provide continuity for the organization.

He said that during the five years ARTworks has been in Town Center and provided incubator space for local artists, about 20 of the 30 who have shown work there have gone on to establish independent businesses.

ARTworks is signing a lease extension so it can remain in Town Center. More details will be available during the annual meeting.

Follow reporter Erin Moody at twitter.com/IPBG_Erin.

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