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Cultural Arts Council seeks new director after longtime leader announces retirement
by staff reports
September 03, 2013 08:47 PM | 2229 views | 0 0 comments | 20 20 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Cultural Arts Council executive director Laura Lieberman announced her retirement today after more than a decade leading the Douglas County arts agency, its board of directors announced in a press release.

Lieberman, who has served as executive director since January 2003, will continue through December when her current contract ends. A search committee, chaired by Marcita Scharnhorst who recently retired as GreyStone Power Corp.’s Vice President of Human Resources, is being formed to seek her successor.

“Laura has done an outstanding job as the director of the arts council for a long time,’’ stated CAC Board President Greg Williams, Kaiser Permanente’s Manager of Regional Sales. “We are very grateful for all she has accomplished for the Cultural Arts Council and our community – and we are very sorry to see her leave.

"The programs and projects she has developed have brought national recognition and support including new federal dollars this year from the National Endowment for the Arts’ “Arts Engagement in American Communities,” which will support an expansion of the Arts in After School initiative during 2014.”

Scharnhorst said, “We are very fortunate to have had someone of Laura Lieberman’s caliber, skills and experience."

She chaired the CAC’s search committee which selected Lieberman more than 10 years ago and now serves as the CAC Board Treasurer.

“She has expanded and enhanced the arts council’s programming and events in so many ways, especially our arts education projects. The Cultural Arts Council is much stronger and more professional as a result of her efforts to fulfill our mission for so many years – and we now have much more diverse funding as part of that organizational development. We are in an excellent position to seek new leadership, and I am sure the Cultural Arts Council will identify a strong and experienced individual to work with us during the next decade.”

Lieberman said, “It has been a privilege to serve as this community’s cultural arts council director."

“In terms of the past 10 years, I am especially appreciative and proud of the CAC’s tremendous growth of outreach through partnerships with so many local and statewide organizations and the many generous individuals and corporations that supported that growth. We reached almost a third of the county population last year -- 43,000 of 130,000 -- although of those 40,000 people who participated in our programs in Douglasville and Douglas County more than 4,000 came here from outside of the county and the state including 20 states and six foreign countries.

“I am not sure people here understand how significant the arts council’s impact is in terms of cultural tourism and therefore as a cost-effective economic driver, even though everyone knows that the Taste of Douglasville, also known as the Taste for Douglasville Arts, CAC’s largest fund-raiser, is also the largest annual event in downtown. I believe the Cultural Arts Council is an important progressive force for this community’s development – and it should be recognized and supported as such. I also believe that, with the talent and energy of this Board, staff and a new executive, the Cultural Arts Council will continue to deliver the quality cultural service of which we are all so proud – and I imagine will also succeed in new and important ways as a resource for our community. I look forward to working with the arts council to insure that is the case.”

Before coming to Douglas County, Lieberman had served as the development director of the American Museum of Papermaking, managing director of Young Audiences of Atlanta, director of the city of Atlanta’s Bureau of Cultural Affairs’ Arts Clearinghouse, visual arts editor of Southern Accents magazine, and a founder and editor in chief of Art Papers.

During her tenure in Douglas County, the Cultural Arts Council initiated and developed many new events and projects including the Spring Break Arts Camp offered in partnership with Douglas County’s Department of Parks and Recreation, the Dia de los Reyes Family Fiesta which was presented as one of seven outstanding international community cultural projects by Americans for the Arts, the Kinna Chamber Concert series offering the historic Roberts-Mozley home as an intimate setting for classical music, the Butterfly Garden managed in partnership with the Douglas County Master Gardeners and featured annually during the Hydrangea Festival, the Arts in After School program which has just received National Endowment for the Arts funding to expand its partnership with the Douglas County Schools’ Community in the Schools program and to establish a new partnership with the University of West Georgia’s School of the Arts and its theater department, the 157-foot-long community-based ceramic tile mosaic mural created by Helen Helwig and 160 county residents and permanently installed in Douglas County’s Boundary Waters Aquatic Center and the 12 “Banners of History” created by Pam Beagle-Daresta and Douglas County High School students and permanently installed in Douglasville’s Hunter Park recreation center, the Empty Bowls luncheons and its “create and donate” workshops raising funds for local food distribution programs including the Food Pantry and A Gift of Love, the annual gala (scheduled for Nov. 23 this year), the Arts Giving Circle encouraging individual patrons, and the Turner Cassity Literary Festival, now in its third year of encouraging excellence in writing, which is earning a national and international reputation for its intimate quality and educational value.

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