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In the director's seats!


Lapeer woman tackles directorships of art gallery, DDA


August 08, 2007
Leave it to a multi-faceted woman to tackle a multi-faceted job.

When Carolyn McCarter accepted the dual post of community development coordinator and Gallery 194 director in Lapeer, she realized the challenges would be many.

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McCarter’s goal at Gallery 194 is to build upon its strengths to make gallery operations self-sufficient in the near future. photo by Tom Wearing.

A few weeks into the job, McCarter is pulling no punches about the responsibilities of holding two important and diverse positions.

"I'm definitely in a learning mode," said McCarter, "but I'm get- ting the support of a lot of creative, dedicated and energetic people. I'm excited about the opportunity and I view it it as a chance to participate in some community building."

Having most recently served as assistant director to Becky Sharkey at Gallery 194, McCarter has been able to forge relationships in the local art community. She expects those relationships and past experience to be beneficial in her role at the gallery and associated duties as the city's director of the Downtown Development Association.

Among the first things on her to-do list is to grow membership for the Lapeer Center for the Arts.

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"One of the things we hope to do is some strategic planning," she said. "We need to assess our strengths, what we are already doing well and building upon those things. The plan is to make the gallery self-sufficient—with the ultimate goal of becoming non-profit."

McCarter said membership is open to all and is being encouraged to expand the art center's sphere of influence in the community.

Various membership levels and dues include: Students and Senior Citizens, $15; Individual Membership, $25; Family Membership, $50; and Friends of the Arts, $100 or more. Event Supporters and Sponsors are also being sought, at amounts of $250 and $500, respectively.

As the city's DDA director, McCarter intends to apply the same philo-sophy of building on what is working, while incorporating new ideas to enhance the downtown district.

"There is so much to tap into in this town," she said. "I believe that art and culture can tie directly into the development of downtown.

"I'd like to see us work more with the people at the PIX, the historical society, public service clubs and the schools—to partner as an entire community."

To accomplish that task, McCarter said she plans to "knock on a lot of doors, talk to people, and listen to their ideas and shared vision for enhancing the downtown area."

"We need not function as rivals but as allies, to collaborate on ideas and to help one another," she said. "When our neighbors get stronger, we get stronger, too."

McCarter acknowledged the effort and many successes of the DDA's Development Committee, a group of business leaders and citizens devoted to improving downtown.

"These people have passion, many years of experience and lots of excellent ideas," she said. "This community has unlimited potential to grow and prosper."

A mother of four, McCarter earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in Music Performance at the Wisconsin Conservatory of Music in Milwaukee. She is a classically trained opera singer and has served as a substitute teacher for Lapeer Schools.

She is married to Jim McCarter, president of the Lapeer Area Chamber of Commerce.

For her combined duties as director of the Downtown Development Association and director of Gallery 194, she will earn $38,000 annually.

Linda Jackman, City of Lapeer Planning Director, said there are plans to expand the hours of a yet-to-be-hired assistant director for Gallery 194.

When McCarter held the assistant position, she worked just 15 hours per week, said Jackman. The new assistant director's duties will be increased to 30 hours.

"That should free Carolyn up to focus on the DDA duties," said Jackman. "She is a very creative thinker and has a knack for problem solving. She has the ability to find out what needs to be done and going out and doing it."

Staff Writer
Village Barn - shaw
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