Right place, right time

Published 9:07 am Friday, March 7, 2014

Terri Sullivan, SCAC founder and director of development, said Bruce brings a “wealth of experience in the performing arts” to the position, as well as a large network of contacts within Shelby County.

In a September 2013 interview, Bruce said he was excited about the new challenge and looking forward to taking the SCAC to the next level with the help of an active board of directors and a county full of supporters.

On a practical level, he’s concerned about profits and raising awareness about the program. He plans to seek government grants and community support.

He’s also excited about building on the base of programs Sullivan and Susan Dennis Gordon, former director of arts and education, created over the years. He’d like to add classes that “have a bit of an edge to it, a more modern flair, maybe more digital art classes.”

I’m definitely going to do some acting and some filmmaking classes,” he said. “We may even do some drum circles.”

Joy said her husband is passionate about his new position. While he admitted to her he was nervous about his new role, she has no doubt he’ll succeed.

“I’m very proud of my husband. He’s a very talented painter, artist, singer, musician,” she said. “It really means a lot to him to get this job.”

The SCAC is at a crossroads right now. It’s seen steady growth over the years, but is now making a big push to raise $7 million for its proposed arts center. As of November 2013, it has reached close to $3 million, but the next few months are crucial, especially in terms of community support.

That is one thing Bruce is not worried about. His years spent doing odd jobs and art commissions have taught him what it takes to make a location art-friendly.

“You’ve got to have two things, from my perspective, to make it art friendly. You’ve got to foster artists and you’ve got to have … patrons of the arts. Shelby County has a good market and patrons,” he said. “I think Shelby County is as good as anywhere in the Southeast for artists.”

Reporting contributed by Stephanie Brumfield.