This month a new chapter will begin at one of Park City's most cherished institutions when Lindsie Smith begins her job as Kimball Art Center executive director. The Wyoming transplant, who considers herself a Utahn after living here for 15 years, is looking forward to spending more time in Park City. We caught up with the nearly always busy Smith ahead of her July 10 date to find out a little bit more about what she'll be bringing to the Kimball.
Living in Salt Lake, what's your connection to the Park City community?
Like so may others, I have absolutely wonderful memories of visiting Park City to ski and mountain bike. Summer hiking and concerts are always a highlight, too. The Kimball Arts Festival is also one of the events I always look forward to. I even bought one of my favorite pieces of all time there.
How has your career brought you to the Kimball?
I've been working in the nonprofit sector for a little over ten years now. I left the corporate world because I really wanted to do more work in the community. I started out working with children in the Junior Achievement program and from there jumped into the Clark Planetarium. It was different, I'm not a scientist, but it was wonderful to focus on both science and art. The Clark was a really wonderful home for me and as the assistant director I really got to spread my wings. Then, this spring, I was encouraged to apply for the executive director position and here I am.
You talked about spreading your wings, what projects did you undertake?
One of my biggest accomplishments was definitely the remodel of the exhibits. The planetarium has been in the Salt Lake Valley for 50 years and after 13 years at The Gateway it was time to revamp the space. Museums aren't just places where you go and look at things, there's so much more thought that goes into displays to provide interactive and stimulating experiences. Moving things there into the next generation of the museum was a multi-year process, during which I did everything from financing to working with architects and designers. Unveiling in 2016 was really an amazing thing for me.
What attracted you to the Kimball and what are you looking forward to the most?
It was wonderful to be following art, but I'm most enthusiastic about the Kimball's mission and their dedication to making art accessible. Their classes are really amazing. Personally, I have a background in ceramics so I really love the makers element they bring to it. The education programs to train teachers to incorporate art into the classroom is particularly important to me as well. I have a seven-year-old son and I'm really lucky they have an individual art focus at his school, but most schools no longer have a dedicated art teacher. I want to help make arts more accessible. It’s such a key element in creative thinking and interpreting the world around you.
Do you have any bold plans for the first days?
It's going to be a busy time, the annual gala happens just four days after I start and then the arts festival follows soon after that. But I plan to spend at least sixty days on a kind of grand learning tour. I want to make sure I understand the organization fully, the goals of the staff, board, and, of course, the community. The Kimball has such a wonderful legacy already and I'm really excited to help share this gem with more people.