Longtime Eyedrum Art and Music Gallery director Priscilla Smith has announced her departure from the organization after nine years at the helm. Smith told BURNAWAY that changes were being made to the organization and that the job of executive director is being redefined.
“I didn’t want to leave,” she said, “I loved my job, but the board of directors felt they’d be better off with a new leader.” She went on to explain “it’s one of those situations where the board and staff didn’t see eye to eye, and the board is there to direct the organization.”
In 2014, Smith, known for her enthusiasm and commitment to revitalizing Downtown, oversaw Eyedrum’s move into building owned by LAZ Parking, which they lease for $1/year, in the burgeoning district. For three years prior to that, Eyedrum was itinerant, mounting events in various venues around the city, after leaving its second location in the Old Fourth Ward (the original location was in South Downtown).
Smith issued a statement announcing the formation of a new company called Priscilla Smith Productions.
“I’m at a point in my life when I want to be doing what I want to be doing,” she said in the statement. “I want to make my own artwork, continue to help artists get their work before audiences, and help make facilities and homes where artists can live and work without fear of displacement while stimulating and bringing life to neighborhoods.”
Smith says she will continue to work with the Downtown community and organizations, saying “I’m committed to the neighborhood.” She’s already collaborating with Mammal Gallery and the Downtown Players Club on projects. An artist herself, she will be doing a street performance as part of the Fringe Festival, taking place June 8-11, and on June 11 will perform at 368 Ponce as part of its Performance Kunst program.
Of her new direction, she said “the possibilities are very exciting.”
A call to Eyedrum’s board chair was not returned by the time of this posting. Watch for updates to this story.