President and CEO, Arts Council of Greater Baton Rouge
2013 to 2015
Eric Holowacz headed west to the high elevation Arizona desert when he left Louisiana.
Previously the president and CEO of the Arts Council of Greater Baton Rouge, he now finds himself the executive director of a 60-year-old cultural facility called the Sedona Arts Center, which offers classes, workshops, gallery showings and an artist residency.
While Holowacz left Louisiana after stepping down from his old position in 2015, Louisiana hasn’t quite left him.
In Sedona he launched the artist residency program, which welcomed more than 130 artists and cultural managers from around the world to the Sedona Summer Colony this past summer. It included many artists from Louisiana, including musician Rob Chidester, parade float maker Katrina Brees, musician Chris Lott and painter April Hammock.
When asked what he misses about Baton Rouge, his list is long and deep.
“I miss riding my bike through the Garden District, getting boiled crawfish at the corner store, exploring French connections in Acadiana,” he says. “I miss the build-up to a parade, the creative people I saw every day, the interesting urban art experiments that became part of my life there. I miss those giant live oaks, the LSU tailgate culture, weekend trips to the farmers market, and my office in the old fire station.”
Holowacz also notes the importance of arts to a city.
“Creativity, even though intangible and often abstract, is an essential need of the human being. Take it away, and you remove the soul and spirit, and are left with a place as barren as the Martian surface,” he says. “The arts give us the ability to express ourselves, share ideas, exchange cultural values, and know what it is to be human.”