[July 26, 2017]
Back to the Land of the Long White Cloud
A Message from Sedona Arts Center
It is with a sense of bittersweet sadness that I write to you—all of our wonderful Arts Center members—to announce my upcoming move to New Zealand. After two and a half years managing this wonderful nonprofit organization—and working hard to grow programming, partnerships, and resources—my family and I will be moving back to our beloved adopted country on the other side of the world...
There in the Bay of Plenty, I've been offered an extraordinary leadership role set within a seaside community and rich Maori heritage. In November, I will become Museum Director and Cultural Affairs Manager for Whakatane District Council—the local government for a community of 20,000 people. The Antipodes are calling...
The truly good news is that Vince Fazio, long serving director of the Arts Center's school, has agreed to become the new Executive Director in mid-October. During my time at the helm, Vince has taken an increasing leadership role in marketing, programming, gallery operations, and board relations. Over the coming months, we will all work together on a smooth transition—refining the Arts Center's upcoming events, ensuring budget and operational efficiencies, and dreaming up the exciting 60th Anniversary year ahead...
This is a homecoming of sorts for us. In 2002, after serving as executive director of the local arts council in Beaufort, South Carolina for six years, my wife and I decided to move abroad. We took our then infant daughter and eight suitcases, and migrated to a foreign city we had never been to (see photo above of our neighborhood in Wellington, overlooking the Cook Strait, Island Bay on the North Island, and the Kaikoura Ranges on the South Island)...
It was an adventure, a cultural immersion, a challenge, and one of the best things we've ever done. We had two other daughters in Wellington, developed our careers overseas, and became New Zealand citizens in 2007. And this October, after ten years away, we'll begin the journey back to Aotearoa ("Land of the Long White Cloud" in the Maori language). We'll reconnect with dear friends, find stunning new sunsets like the one above, and immerse ourselves in a familiar Kiwi creative vibe...
Before we go, I want you to know how much I have loved being Executive Director here in the Art Barn, and how much your ideas, support, visits, emails, and participation have meant to my tenure. Your involvement and contributions have helped us grow Sedona Arts Center in magical new ways—and that will continue long after my departure.
In a few short years, we've added ukuleles, established America's newest artist colony, expanded our plein air events, achieved record sales in our gallery, offered free professional development opportunities for the local creative community, formed bold new partnerships, and beautified the Arts Center campus.
Members and supporters have made all of our recent progress possible—pitching in, volunteering, sharing ideas, donating money, attending events. I leave knowing that your faith in Sedona Arts Center has rejuvenated our board, staff, programming, and facilities—and will sustain its future.
The phrase in Maori is Ka pai! (well done)!
Please stop by the Art Barn over the coming months, and continue sharing your ideas, thoughts, and creative energy with us. Let the momentum and excitement build beyond the 60th year...
Kia kaha (stay strong, be fearless).
And if you make it to the Southern Hemisphere, and ever find yourself in the Land of the Long White Cloud, you'll have a ready host in the Bay of Plenty. The red rock dust will still be on my boots, and forever settled deep within my soul...
Ka kite ano (until I see you again).
Arohanui e hoa (big love my friend),
E r i c H o l o w a c z
Sedona Arts Center Director Bound for New Zealand
The Sedona Arts Center Board of Directors has announced that after two and a half years at the helm, Executive Director Eric Holowacz will be stepping down in October to take a leadership role in his adopted country of New Zealand. Current Deputy Director, Vince Fazio, will continue the momentum and take over as executive director in mid-October.
Holowacz, who has led a vibrant renewal of creative programs and services, will become Museum Director and Cultural Affairs Manager in Whakatane, a coastal town in the Bay of Plenty. His tenure in Sedona saw the rejuvenation of the 60-year old organization, including diverse new initiatives, creative partnerships, and cultural awareness projects.
Photo: Eric Holowacz