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The Foundation of Arts hosted a reception Wednesday for new executive director Karl Hollander (right). Also pictured is FOA board member Philip Jackson.

Artistic Endeavors with Kristi Pulliam of the FOA
Apr 11, 2012

By Kristi Pulliam
Community Development Director
The Foundation of Arts

It might not be exactly mainstream, but I admit that I am a Shakespeare fan. In this day of 30 minute sit-coms and three-minute YouTube videos, most of our attention spans are not prepared for five acts of "A Midsummer Night's Dream." Audience members would be yawning by the middle of Act 1. I have to admit that I would be, too.

My lifestyle, like most, is so fast paced that I can't even remember everyone I spoke to yesterday. If I'm going to stop to watch something that's supposed to be entertaining, it better grab me within seconds and offer some sort of catharsis within the half-hour - time is ticking! Whether my attention span can handle The Bard or not, my heart still appreciates the most prolific playwright of all time.

Shakespeare's audiences had a much greater attention span when it came to enjoying his theater. In short, they simply "got it." They understood that it took four full acts to cultivate that climactic event that brings us to tears. They understood that getting to know a character requires seeing him in different situations and with different people. They understood that relationships should be tested with time and attention. I think the people who make up The FOA "get it" as well.

My office is in The Forum. The FOA works out of this building and two others, so I get to see and hear a myriad of people who support this mission in one way or another. The other day I decided to take note of all the different types of people who walked through the doors of The FOA. There were four teachers, two attorneys, three people in marketing, five people who worked at area banks, two city workers, one minister, three stay-at-home moms, one business owner, one architect and nine people I didn't know and felt a little sheepish asking. Those visitors were in addition to the staff and students who are here at The FOA daily.

So, what's my point? I guess it's that no matter who you are, there's a little bit of artist in everyone, and a place where the arts are for everyone is a place where everyone can be.

There are some big changes going on at The FOA - big changes. Karl Hollander, formerly of South Carolina, has assumed the position of executive director of The FOA effective this month. While the past 11 years under Sherri Beatty, Hollander's predecessor, were filled with successes, The FOA has had its share of challenges as well. It might be easy to say that one season is ending and another is beginning here, but I prefer to consider it as another act in this ongoing play about the life of a wonderfully dynamic organization.

Like those audiences of old, I believe most people I talk to "get it." They are ready to get to know The FOA all over again, and they appreciate that the relationship we have with this organization requires an attention span of more than half an hour.

What might we call this little play of ours - "The Artist in Us All" or "An Artist's Dream" or perhaps "Dreams of an Artist?" Whatever we call it, I can't wait to settle in and start the next act.

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