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Arts center welcomes director
3 Art Center pic1
Ginny Greenwood, executive director, works on new displays at the Bowen Center for the Arts in downtown Dawsonville. - photo by David Renner Dawson Community News

The Bowen Center for the Arts is under new leadership.

The Dawson County Arts Council recently announced the hiring of Virginia "Ginny" Greenwood as executive director. Greenwood succeeds Marcia Chelf, who resigned due to family health issues.

"I had always come to this center for the art and it's just always amazed me," Greenwood said. "I've always loved the space and energy here.

"We actually found out about this place initially from Marcia. She told us to come check it out."

Greenwood and her husband, Paul Schiemer, live in Dahlonega. The couple moved from Winter Park, Fla., more than eight years ago.

"There's nothing like this for about five counties. It's just wonderful," she said. ""I'm from a family of artists. My father was an architectural engineer and my mother was a fine artist. All my brothers and sisters are artists. I've studied art forever."

Greenwood attended Michigan State University, Western Michigan College and Oakland Community College, where she studied painting, graphic design, sculpture and photography.

"Art has always been wonderful for me, but for a job I went into paralegal work," she said. "It was very fast paced and I enjoyed it, so this job fits.

"It's all my administrative skills wrapped up in one and then I get to do and work around art. It's my dream job."

Greenwood has served as program manager at the arts center and was previously the managing director of the Dahlonega Arts Council Marketplace.

As for the future of the Bowen Center, Greenwood said she plans to bring in major, large art institute collections once or twice a year.

"Marcia set up 2014, and she's incredible, everyone knows that," she said. "She took this place from nothing to something massive. I hope to keep it on the same level here."

Greenwood said she would try to maintain the spirit of the gallery while putting her own spin on its traditional events.

"We'll be making a few changes with different events. We'll be trying to change it up a little bit," she said. "We're leaning toward a Kentucky Derby ‘Derby Days' theme for the May event."

She also said that the center could undergo some renovations - including new wiring, gallery lights and flooring - in the coming year. The overall feel of the 100-year-old building would be preserved.

Greenwood urged anyone who hasn't visited the gallery to do so.

"I'd love to introduce everyone to the center if you've never been," she said. "We're always looking to draw new people in. There's a great energy to this place."