Burnaway > News > Priscilla Smith, Longtime Eyedrum Director, Steps Down

Priscilla Smith, Longtime Eyedrum Director, Steps Down

Mammal Gallery's Brian Egan and Priscilla Smith at BURNAWAY's booth at the Decatur Book Festival in 2014, where they held a public conversation.
Mammal Gallery’s Brian Egan and Priscilla Smith at BURNAWAY’s booth at the Decatur Book Festival in 2014, where they participated in a public conversation. See link below.

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.

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Comment(8)

  • Hambidge Creative Hive Brings Artists to Colony Square This Summer - BURNAWAY
    March 13, 2017 at

    […] Downtown Players Club co-founder Kris Pilcher is teaming up with former Eyedrum executive director Priscilla Smith to create the Midtown Players Club, a satellite location of the South Downtown […]

  • Avatar
    Brien Engel
    June 3, 2016 at

    Dumb move, Eyedrum board. You are letting go of your champion- the one who got you to this point with more street-smarts, funding-smarts and advocacy-smarts than you can imagine. Boo!!

  • Avatar
    Kevin McFoy Dunn
    June 3, 2016 at

    This is absurd, shortsighted and ridiculous in the extreme. Indeed, I who am awash in words confess myself not possessed of a store of negative adjectives sufficiently capacious to castigate adequately the wilful, obstructionist and ungrateful climate, actively fostered by a petulant, immature and liminally dissociative board, that has led to this unjust rupture. In consequence of this development, Eyedrum can depend on me never again darkening its door as either performer or spectator.

  • Avatar
    David Hamilton
    June 3, 2016 at

    Sorry to hear Priscilla is leaving eyedrum– but great to hear that she is sticking around and pursuing her own work and continuing her community work–

  • Avatar
    Saul
    June 2, 2016 at

    Priscilla..a Arts Soldier indeed:
    Woe betide the leaders (..) if they cast away at the conference table what the soldiers had won on a hundred bloodsoaked battlefields.

    Winston S. Churchill

    • Avatar
      Priscilla Smith
      June 3, 2016 at

      Caramba!

  • Avatar
    Narukami
    June 2, 2016 at

    Thankfully, she will still be actively engaged with both the community and the artists who are part of it. That said, her leadership and her energy will be missed at Eyedrum.

  • Avatar
    Allen Welty-Green
    June 1, 2016 at

    I’m sad the situation reached this point. I truly believe the board of Eyedrum has made a grave error.

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