Arts association welcomes new executive director

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By John Foster

As Sue H. Evans, the new executive director of the Arts Association of Oldham County, reviews any document regarding Gallery 104 or any of the other endeavors of the association, she can’t suppress her journalistic urges. An attention to detail and a 10-year history as associate editor of The Louisville Sports Report guide her hand to correct a misspelled word here, a deviation from Associated Press style there. Before she is done, the page is littered in editing marks. As she wades through the piles of work created in the two months the association spent without a director, she continues to come across remnants that belie an association that was until recently, predominantly a collaborative of artists, rather than predominantly a business. Evans has transformed from an artist to a business woman. She earned a bachelors of fine arts degree in commercial design from the University of Alabama, but in the last 30 years she has spent most of her career in the business world of public relations and promotion. Association board member and former president Marion Gibson said there were three excellent candidates for the position, but what especially impressed her about Evans was her three years as public relations and promotions manager at the Kentucky Derby Museum, as well as her other marketing experience. Gibson said she thinks Evans will take the association to the next step of professionalism. Evans sees the association as a growing business centered around Gallery 104 — which opened last summer at 104 E. Main St. to showcase and sell members’ art. Evans said she does not want to discount the accomplishments of that little local group of artists. She said she is in awe that with some gumption the group could pull off something as large as the Bluegrass Independent Film Festival and make it work. They have pulled together, created a top-notch gallery and become a viable business in her eyes, but in some aspects the association needs to become more business-like, she said. Of particular irritation is that acronym for the Arts Association of Oldham County — AAOOC. She is on a campaign to drop that excessive ‘O.’ “You don’t call it the USOA. It’s the USA,” she said. She also sees the gallery and association’s Web site as an area of improvement. “It’s just a shell,” she said. “There is something up there but nothing in it.” She wants to do the business-oriented steps necessary to bring in more grant money. She also sees the potential to expand the appeal of the gallery beyond Oldham County, to draw regionally from Louisville and surrounding areas and to grow as a business. “We need to switch gears from a little local group of artists showing camaraderie, to a money-making business,” she said.

E-mail us about this story at: jfoster@oldhamera.com