When Kim Duffin passed away in 2012, after serving as the Assistant Director of the Salt Lake Arts Council for 25 years, everyone knew his shoes would be hard to fill. In fact, the Arts Council has had to find two people to do it. As we announced in the March 2013 edition, Kelsey Moon has assumed the title of Assistant Director and with it some of Duffin’s responsibilities, but as of May it is Kandace Steadman who will be greeting you at the Finch Lane gallery receptions “I’ve taken over most of Kim’s responsibilities, besides the grants for the Arts Council which are handled by the Assistant Director Kelsey Moon,” says Steadman whose new title is Visual Arts Program Manager. “I could never be the new Kim though.”
Steadman comes to this position with years of experience in Utah’s Art Community. Her involvement began with an Art History General Survey class her freshman year at BYU. “I fell in love with art and truly felt connected to it,” she says. This class inspired a metamorphosis of lifestyles, where Steadman decided to convert her major from interior design to her surfacing passion, Art History. After receiving a bachelors degree, she stayed at BYU to earn her masters in Educational Administration. This final piece of education went on to be the portal to linking her love of art and her preeminent ability to program.
After school, the Taylorsville native migrated east to Washington D.C., where she eventually took charge of the programming in the education department at the National Museum of Women in Arts. For eight years Steadman put together a series on women writers for the museum as her main focus, as well as putting together other series to expose visitors to artistic enthusiasm. “I even got to run a series on women chefs, where they were able to talk about their creative inspiration. It was so fun!”
In 2000, Steadman moved back to Utah and began working for the University of Utah in the College of Education. She decided to take advantage of her situation at the university and began a masters in Art History. She completed the degree in 2005, the same year she was appointed as Executive Director at the Museum of Utah Art and History. After five years at the MUAH, Steadman moved on to Salt Lake Community College, where she ran the community outreach programs for the Grand Theater. Her impressive job record is matched with a lifestyle full of marathon running, vegetable gardening, and canning.
The job opening at the Salt Lake Arts Council seemed perfectly aligned with where Steadman has been and what she wants to do. “I was intrigued by the job at the Salt Lake City Arts Council because I have always admired what the Finch Lane Gallery did—helping artists become more recognized in Salt Lake City. I think that’s what Kim Duffin did best—cultivating relationships with artists. I hope to carry on that tradition and make Finch Lane a place where artists want to exhibit and people want to visit.” Diving right in to her aspirations for her new job, she has already drawn up plans to give up-and-coming artists all the help she can give. “Working with Kelsey Moon, our Assistant Director, we plan to offer a series of artist workshops that will help artists become more prepared to apply for exhibitions, present themselves professionally, and manage their careers. Our first workshop is scheduled for September 21.”
Steadman plans to amalgamate all prior experience to improve and make creative strides forward with her new responsibilities, which include programming for the Finch Lane Gallery and the Park Gallery. She plans on taking advantage of the gap in plans for the new Park Gallery “There’s lots of different ways I would love to program the space. It would be nice to have the school groups we work with be able to have their kids exhibit their work. Maybe even exhibitions for the Twilight Series and Living Tradition Festival. I’d like to even make our gallery strolls more engaging through food or even music.” The possibilities seem endless as Steadman brainstorms in the sixth week of her new career.
On top working for the Arts Council, Steadman has come full circle and teaches a Survey of Arts History class at Westminster College. “I don’t know if the students will ever fall in love with the subject the way I did, but I can only hope they find the fascination I find in art that I see every day.”
Steadman’s fervor for the arts is radiated simply through her presence. She explains, “I have a-ha moments all the time through meeting people and just observing what’s around me. When I see artists’ work I don’t know, that excites me. I really love what I do.” Her tendency to buy local work resulted in her home reflecting the passion for what she does in life. “There’s so much creativity. People are taking any kind of material and doing anything with it, and sometimes very successfully. I just really like to see what’s out there.”
The SLC Arts Council and Artists of Utah is launching a series of workshops for visual artists. The first will be Saturday, September 21 from 10:00-3:00. From 10:-noon, we will have a presentation and discussion on working with galleries—both commercial and non-profit. Speakers include Tom Alder, owner of Williams Fine Art, and Sheryl Gillilan, Executive Director of Art Access Gallery. Lunch will be served from noon until 1:00 p.m. From 1:00-3:00 artists will have the chance to bring their artist statements and resumes and will work in small groups with writers to clarify and hone their statements. The workshop is $50 for the full day, which includes lunch and materials. Tuition for the morning session is $20.