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Columbus Arts Council introduces new executive director

October 11, 2018

There’s a new face representing the Columbus Arts Council.

Amy Tomasevicz, a member of the Columbus Arts Council Board of Directors, said members feared the position would be left vacant for months when it opened up earlier this year. But, that changed when they came across Steve Sorensen’s application.

Tomasevicz, who is also the exhibit committee chairwoman, said Sorensen was the perfect fit because of his experience in outreach and fundraising, in addition to his willingness to work with grants. She said these are all important aspects to a nonprofit organization.

“We are excited to work with him,” Tomasevicz said.

Sorensen has a strong passion for art in all shapes and forms. He spent the last two years traveling the world with his wife, Miranda, visiting art exhibits and museums. The couple moved to Columbus from South Dakota in July after Miranda accepted a job at Whiskey Sands Bar & Grill at the Ramada Hotel & River’s Edge Convention Center.

Before taking up the position, Sorensen was a man of many hats. He worked in several different fields, including information technology and marketing. Although Sorensen did not come equipped with experience running an art gallery, he said he has worked closely with nonprofit organizations and governmental agencies.

As soon as he began his first day two weeks ago, Sorensen said he hit the ground running by introducing new ideas and putting together upcoming events. His daily tasks include working with volunteers, providing tours and managing the gift shop. Only two weeks in, Sorensen said he has already put together roughly two events.

“It’s been really interesting,” he said. “Very busy … learning how things are done … but it’s a good learning process.”

Sorensen will be hosting an artists’ reception from 2-4 p.m. on Sunday at the gallery, featuring artwork from Nebraska artists Alissa Millsap and Patricia Coslor. Attendees will be given the opportunity to take a closer look at their watercolor paintings, sculptures and mixed media pieces.

Moving forward, Sorensen said he hopes to improve the presence of the gallery and the organization within the community and among members. His goals are to introduce new events, send out more newsletters, update the website and extend gallery hours.

Tomasevicz said board members are on the same page with him and aim to do the same.

“I think what we really need to work on right now is to try to increase our presence and getting more people involved,” she said. “We have wonderful exhibits, but it doesn’t do much good if nobody sees it.”

Sorensen and board members are already putting together a new event this year, the Gallery Gift Gala. It will take place during gallery hours from Nov. 19 to Jan. 4 and feature unique art pieces, from woodwork to paintings to calligraphy.

Tomasevicz said board members are also working toward hosting musical performances every Thursday evening at the gallery as a way to attract more people.

Sorensen said he is looking at introducing more art and culinary classes. He said the culinary industry is also a form of art. He said his goal is to expand people’s idea of art.

“We would like to do more different things,” Sorensen said.

Natasya Ong is a reporter for The Columbus Telegram. Reach her via email at natasya.ong@lee.net.

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