Com­mu­nity re­cep­tion to honor HAC’s Molle­son set for Sept. 28

Calhoun Times - - FRONT PAGE -

The Har­ris Arts Cen­ter has thrived over the past decade, and it has emerged as one of the com­mu­nity’s cul­tural and creative pil­lars. One of the pri­mary rea­sons it has con­tin­ued to pros­per dur­ing that time is the lead­er­ship, vision and ge­nial­ity of Ex­ec­u­tive Di­rec­tor Toni Molle­son.

How­ever, Molle­son has reached the point where she is ready to move on to the next chap­ter in her life, and has re­cently made the tough de­ci­sion to step down as Ex­ec­u­tive Di­rec­tor and re­tire after eight suc­cess­ful years at the po­si­tion.

Molle­son has been an in­te­gral part of the Arts Cen­ter for many years, serv­ing in a vol­un­teer ca­pac­ity right after it opened its doors in 2000. Her re­la­tion­ship with the Arts Cen­ter orig­i­nated from an op­por­tu­nity to dis­play her own paint­ings and draw­ings, which prompted her to even­tu­ally join the Visual Arts Com­mit­tee.

Her per­sonal art­work has taken many forms over the years. Orig­i­nally, Molle­son’s pas­sion was to draw and sketch, but she even­tu­ally started try­ing her hand at craft­ing as­sem­blage sculp­tures and fell in love with the art form.

“I love to draw, but lately in my ca­reer I have made a few as­sem­blage sculp­tures,” Molle­son said. “It’s where you take found ob­jects, and you try and make some­thing co­he­sive and beau­ti­ful out of dis­parate parts. Mine usu­ally are peo­ple, and a lot of times they are an­gels be­cause I like to put wings on things.”

Molle­son con­tin­ued to help the Arts Cen­ter grow and ex­pand while op­er­at­ing in a va­ri­ety of vol­un­teer roles over the course of nine years. When the for­mer ex­ec­u­tive di­rec­tor de­cided to step down in 2008, Molle­son was ap­proached by her col­leagues and fel­low vol­un­teers to fill in as in­terim di­rec­tor dur­ing the search for a per­ma­nent re­place­ment be­cause of her fer­vent pas­sion for the arts and its abil­ity to heal and in­spire.

“I think the arts speak to ev­ery­one,” Molle­son said. “In a time where our coun­try is go­ing through so many things, art is a uni­ver­sal lan­guage that brings peo­ple to­gether.”

She took the op­por­tu­nity and ran with it, and was quickly of­fered the ex­ec­u­tive di­rec­tor po­si­tion due to her suc­cess as in­terim di­rec­tor. Molle­son wit­nessed the Arts Cen­ter flour­ish dur­ing her eight-year ten­ure as ex­ec­u­tive di­rec­tor.

“I hope I made the Arts Cen­ter feel like a wel­com­ing and


A spe­cial com­mu­nity re­cep­tion for Toni Molle­son, above, who is re­tir­ing as ex­ec­u­tive di­rec­tor of the Har­ris Arts Cen­ter, will be held on Thurs­day, Sept. 28 from 4 - 7 p.m. at the HAC.

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