Former Arts Council head announces launch of Creative Development Bureau as council begins search for next leader

As the Arts Council of Greater Baton Rouge begins its national search for its next president and CEO, the former head of the council has announced his next initiative.

Eric Holowacz, former president and CEO of the Arts Council, announced today he has partnered with local arts organizations including The Walls Project, Elevator Projects and the Art & Design Center in Chase Towers to support the region’s creative minds with the new Creative Development Bureau. Holowacz describes the new initiative as “a free resource for project development and city-wide arts collaboration.”

According to a news release, the Creative Development Bureau will begin as a temporary effort, “but could grow into an ongoing service to the Baton Rouge arts community.”

Raina Wirta, founder and director of Elevator Projects, says the bureau will assist startup nonprofit arts organizations with writing bylaws, incorporation and “learning the mechanics of proper board governance.”

“Eric [Holowacz] has assisted us so much already and has expertise across the board,” Wirta says. “He has a wide understanding of the issues we face and the problems we need solved.”

In late February, the Arts Council announced that Holowacz had resigned, though details of his departure remain unclear. The council announced Monday it has launched a national search for its next president and CEO.

“Under the leadership of a new president and CEO, and with the support of arts, business, education, political, and community leaders, the Arts Council of Greater Baton Rouge is ready to embark on an ambitious new path—one that will see the arts continue to flourish and enrich our quality of life, and serve as a cornerstone of our region’s social and economic development,” Arts Council Board Chairman Brian Haymon says in a news release.

Two current Arts Council staffers, Lisa Ibert and Jonathan Grimes, have been serving as interim co-directors since Holowacz’s departure. They will remain in place until the new president and CEO is selected. The search process is expected to conclude by early this summer.

—Matthew Sigur

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