A Look Back with Past President Rhian Swain

A cartoon of a red headed woman in a black dress sitting on a crown holding a paint brush and pallet.

A Look Back with Past President Rhian Swain

Being President of the Arts Council Board felt very much like wearing a comfortable, favorite sweater for the past 2 years. I’ve been intimately involved in most aspects of the Arts Council for nearly 25 years, so stepping up didn’t feel like a giant leap. I admit I did have some visions of grandeur that just weren’t feasible during my tenure, like kicking off a plan to build a community arts center (I’ve still got hope that it will one day come to pass); but I did get to witness our Artists programs evolve, our community truly embrace public art, and our once tiny festival explode into a totally kickass event with over 100,000 attendees. And it is continuing to grow! This year will literally be the biggest festival to date. It’s kinda cool to have played a small role in that.

I also watched Arts Council staff kick it up a notch over the past 2 years, and not only handle all manners of crisis, but actually turn problem-solving issues into vast improvements. Heather is an exhibit curating, social media wrangling GODDESS! Denise is a total Project MacGyver, able to jump from role to role, task to task (and look amazing doing it.) Our new Admin Tripp showed up this Spring and brought a giant ray of sunshine with him.  He jumped right into the fire, and not only fit seamlessly but I swear, it feels like he’s been with us forever. And then there is our queen: the always funny, indescribably clever, tenaciously devoted to the Arts – Brenda Durant. It’s not just me, but our community at large, trying to imagine how on earth we’ll survive without her leadership and brilliant ideas. The good news is, we will. We’ll miss the hell out of her, but we will survive and thrive. Partially because we have a stellar staff, but also because Brenda is making sure her successor has all the tools they need to succeed. Plus we have a GREAT new Board with Night Mayor Kigg Cherry at the helm.

I loved wearing the comfy Prez sweater, but I was also happy to fold it up and put it away, knowing that change is good and the necessary spark that allows growth. I can’t wait to see all the great things that are still to come for Augusta’s Arts and the Greater Augusta Arts Council.

Thanks for letting me sit on the throne for a bit and hold the sacred Paint Brush.


Past Prez – Rhian