ANSWER: I wanted to to move away from the intensity and scale of my former position. It had a $2 million budget and 12,000 members. Boca is a beautiful place, attractive, and little by little my family has been migrating down here. My parents spent weekends here starting about 15 years ago, so we were familiar (with the area). I came down a few weeks ago and saw an ad in the paper. I put in my application and talked with members of the board. And the more I'm here — I've only been here two weeks — it's right.
Q: You've worked with a budget more than 10 times the size of the Boca Grande Art Alliance. Will the smaller figure be a challenge for you?
A: The challenge is not the budget. My ticket will be to make sure our programs are attractive, the membership grows and we have a good corps of reliable volunteers. We already have a great staff.
Q: What is your vision for the Boca Grande Art Alliance?
A: There's a vision here that's already in play. First of all, let's start on the programs. I came in here at a time when this season's programs were nearing completion. It looks like the former director did a wonderful job. The goals I'd like to set for this are to bring in instructors that can broaden the range of reference we make available for students. That would include the use of more mixed and multi-media facets. I'd like to bring in some very highly accomplished artists on a national scale. And I would like to see the season expanded, as a first step, with an off-season exhibit. It could hang for three months but people would be able to see it instead of these bare walls.
Q: What sort of expansion is possible?
A: In the first year, I'd like to see the beginnings of planting the seed of an expansion, maybe with a satellite building somewhere on the island. It doesn't seem likely but it would be a wonderful direction to increase the facility.
Q: Is artistic outreach one of your priorities?
A: Another possibility is to have a roving group of artists willing to teach at the Island School. They could work with the students and get students on board with the value of art. That's the intention. The other outreach would be to have a mobile facility but that's way down the line.
Q: You've been complimentary of the Boca Grande Camera Club, which you called “dynamic.” How would you create closer ties with the BGCC?
A: I'd like to integrate what they do in a class.
Q: What hobbies take you from the studio?
A: Making a mess. I'm very prolific and I usually fill up a studio quickly. So, my hobbies all involve creating. The other passion is to work on water. I've got my captain's license. I really enjoy and would love to find a local, commercial fishing opportunity. I would really, really love that. I can't imagine where that came from. (Laughs). But I love the water and paint a lot of water scenes.
Q: Are you going to miss the seasons?
A: Yes. I love the measurement of nature by time passing. Florida's seasons do tend to be little more homogenized.
Q: When you combine artistic drives with managerial or administrative pursuits, isn't there a danger your creative spark is dimmed by the paperwork?
A: When you become an academic, it's more academic than artistic.
Q: Who has influenced you as a role model?
A: My favorite mentors are Italo Scanga, an Italian man and a mixed media artist, well traveled, extremely cultured, humorous and knowledgeable. Always working. Very prolific. He had a heart attack in the studio and I thought that's the way to go. Another one is Judy Pfaff of New York. Her work ethic, perseverance and motivation to work no matter what mood you're in is inspiring.
Fact BoxPike Powers at a glance
Occupation: Executive director of the Boca Grande Art Alliance. Work exhibited internationally. Operates small public access art studio part-time in Narragansett, R.I.
Birth date: March. “Women' never reveal their age.”
Hometown: Providence, R.I.
Why come to Boca Grande: I was living in New York, and had a studio in New York, and one day I woke up and said, “What am I doing in New York? I love being out in nature.”
Professional: Professor at University of Bridgeport Shintaro Akatsu School of Design in Connecticut. Pilchuck Glass School’s former art director since 1993. Oversaw 25th and 30th anniversary reunions of Pilchuck Totem Pole.
Achievements: Originated Furnace Building workshops, and the Full-Bull(s’Eye) Sessions that provided developmental research for Bullseye Glass to create colored glass for multi-technical applications in art making.
Special note: Known for bringing world-renowned artists Maya Lin, Nancy Graves, Kiki Smith, Jim Dine and Albert Paley to the Artist Residency program.
Education: Rhode Island School of Design in Glass, master's in sculpture from Yale University and a Prix-de-Rome Prize Fellowship upon graduation.