The Arts Council of Greater Baton Rouge announces Eric Holowacz as incoming President and CEO

The Arts Council of Greater Baton Rouge is delighted to announce that Eric Vaughn Holowacz will join the organization as President and CEO beginning in June.

Online PR News – 09-May-2013 – Baton Rouge, Louisiana – The Arts Council of Greater Baton Rouge is delighted to announce that Eric Vaughn Holowacz will join the organization as President and CEO beginning in June.

A native of Columbia, South Carolina, Mr. Holowacz brings a diverse background in arts programming and presenting, non-profit and organizational leadership, and creative community engagement. With almost twenty-five years of experience in the arts, he has established an impressive track record of successes in arts administration and dynamic cultural endeavors in the United States and abroad.

Cheri Ausberry, Arts Council Board Chair says, "After the passing of Arts Council CEO, Derek Gordon last September, we knew the importance of finding the right individual to build upon the incredible imprint that Derek created for the arts in Baton Rouge. The Search Committee and Board of Directors of the Arts Council were thrilled when Eric Holowacz expressed an interest in bringing his creative vision to our community to continue to advance the arts."

Mr. Holowacz comes to Baton Rouge from Mildura, Victoria, Australia, where he served as Arts & Culture Manager, where he was responsible for a $2.2 million operating budget, facilities and assets of over $25 million, and the artistic direction for multiple disciplines and venues. In late 2012, he opened Australia's newest proscenium theatre, and established bold new arts programming and community engagement efforts.

From 2010 to 2012, Mr. Holowacz was producer and director of Cairns Festival in Tropical North Queensland from 2010-2012, where he oversaw the revival of the Far North's major creative celebration, and the delivery of 106 unique events over 17 days. He established dynamic artistic programming, a new brand and identity for the Festival, a slate of ambitious community engagement ideas, and collaborative projects in support of the region's creative people.

From 2007 to 2010, Mr. Holowacz served as founding executive director of The Studios of Key West in Florida, and was responsible for building its campus from an unknown entity into a thriving artists' colony, cultural complex, and center of the island's creative life. There he also oversaw artistic direction and programming which included the establishment of a successful folk music series, new theatre residencies, extensive workshop season, lectures and outreach opportunities, and national and international connections for the organization.

Prior to this, Mr. Holowacz held the role of arts programs and services manager for Wellington City Council in the New Zealand capital. This role involved community arts initiatives, festival event production, new creative initiatives, and the planning and development of a new Arts Centre for Wellington, In New Zealand, he also served as chairman of Wellington Access Broadcasting Society (parent of the country's oldest community radio station), served on the executive committee of the New Zealand American Association, and was member and officer of Wellington South Rotary Club.

From 1996 to 2002, he served as executive director of a small coastal arts council and performing arts centre in Beaufort County, South Carolina. Some of his pioneering efforts there include the engineering of the free Arts in the Park series and a major partnership with the City of Chicago's Department of Cultural Affairs-resulting in the memorable Cows on Vacation public art project, the River of Art exchange with the Shedd Aquarium, and the gift of a Beaufort Art-o-mat machine to the Chicago Cultural Center. His six-year tenure also saw the successful production of over 100 world-class chamber music concerts, theatre residencies, and visual art exhibitions, the introduction of an engaging public art program, and the hosting of a weekly arts segment for local television station WJWJ. Mr. Holowacz was one of a handful of non-profit executives selected for the 2001-2002 South Carolina Executive Institute, a prestigious year-long leadership and management course developed by the Governor's Office.

Early in his career, he was given significant responsibility and development with program-based roles at the South Carolina Arts Commission and Spoleto Festival U.S.A. in Charleston. He served on the boards of the Poetry Society of South Carolina, the South Carolina Artisans Center, and several committees of the Charleston Metro Chamber of Commerce. He later served as Vice Chairman of the South Carolina Presenters Network and board member of the high-profile advocacy consortium, the South Carolina Arts Alliance.

"Eric has a knack for developing projects and collaborations that engage artists and communities in new and unique ways-often revolving around cultural identity, local heritage, creative process, and the expression of sense of place, " said Ausberry, noting that new stage works, commissions, and complex partnerships have also been a steady presence in his career.

"I am honored about my appointment, and the opportunity to contribute to the creative and cultural profile of South Louisiana," said Mr. Holowacz. "The opportunity to follow the dynamic path carved out by Derek, the board, and wonderful Arts Council staff is extraordinary."

"And it already feels like a warm homecoming, with new friends and creative opportunities at every corner. After a global odyssey working to advance the arts, I am so looking forward to calling Baton Rouge my home."

Kathy Scherer, Arts Council Acting Director says, "We are very excited that Eric Holowacz will be taking the helm as CEO. With his multi-faceted background of community engagement and cultural programming, he will bring an innovative spirit to expand upon the creative energy and assets already present in Baton Rouge. He has accomplished many great endeavors, working creatively with communities around the world, and we are fortunate that he will soon be joining our Arts Council family."

Mr. Holowacz is married to Maureen Hickey, an accomplished Neonatal ICU nurse originally from Albany, New York, and they have three daughters—Eva, Mila, and Anaïs. He is planning to relocate from Victoria, Australia in early June, in time for the Arts Council's annual meeting.