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Sedona Arts Center director bound for New Zealand

Eric Holowacz

Eric Holowacz

Originally Published: August 7, 2017 3:21 p.m.

The Sedona Arts Center Board of Directors has announced that after two and a half years at the helm, Executive Director Eric Holowacz will be stepping down in October to take a leadership role in his adopted country of New Zealand. Current Deputy Director, Vince Fazio, will continue the momentum and take over as executive director in mid-October. 

Holowacz, who has led a vibrant renewal of creative programs and services, will become Museum Director and Cultural Affairs Manager in Whakatane, a coastal town in the Bay of Plenty. His tenure in Sedona saw the rejuvenation of the 60-year old organization, including diverse new initiatives, creative partnerships, and cultural awareness projects. 

“Eric’s leadership brought a greater focus on the creative life of the Verde Valley, and resulted in the establishment of Sedona Summer Colony, and increased support form the City of Sedona and State of Arizona,” said Board Chairman Kath Gilliam. “He fostered a greater focus on membership growth, facilities improvements, gallery operations, and board and staff capacity -- and will be truly missed at the Art Barn.”  

Holowacz originally migrated from South Carolina to New Zealand in 2002, served as the Arts Manager for the City of Wellington for five years, and became a New Zealand dual citizen in 2007. While there he helped build a new cultural facility in the capital, directed New Zealand’s largest student arts festival, commissioned dozens of public art projects, and advised hundreds of creative practitioners. 

“After a decade away, my family and I realized how much we missed life down under -- the people, the culture, the pace, and the sense of home-grown innovation,” says Holowacz. “We embraced and fell in love with the Kiwi identity, so when an offer came up to lead cultural and creative efforts in the Bay of Plenty, it was too strong to deny.”

Holowacz will continue in the Arts Center Executive Director role through mid-October, supporting the transition and refining plans for the organization’s 60th anniversary year. He and the board will work closely with Vince Fazio, who will assume leadership of programs, services, and facilities on October 13. 

Despite his relocation across the globe, Holowacz has agreed to serve as voluntary advisor to the Arts Center, provide ongoing creative leadership and advocacy for Sedona Summer Colony, and continue fostering national and international connections for Sedona. 

“Eric really managed to galvanize our place in the community, enhance the organization in new ways, and bring both professionalism and excitement to the Arts Center,” said Gilliam. “We know he will do wonderful things for his new community across the globe, and look forward to the interesting collaborations and creative possibilities he might bright back to the Verde Valley. And with Vince at the helm, we have every confidence that the Arts Center will continue the momentum, community engagement, and excitement that Eric generated.” 

Sedona Arts Center is one of Northern Arizona’s most well-established cultural organizations and serves as the creative heart of Sedona. Founded in1958, the nonprofit organization is based at the Art Barn in Uptown and offers year-round classes, exhibitions, festivals, and cultural events that enhance the creative life of the Verde Valley. The Center’s Fine Art Gallery, open daily from 10am to 5pm, promotes the original works of over 100 local artists and regularly offers special assistance for collectors and art buyers, offers private studio visits, and fosters hundreds of arts education opportunities each year. For more information, visit the Arts Center online at SedonaArtsCenter.org, call the administrative office at 928-282-3809, or contact the Fine Art Gallery at 928-282-3865.