Take 5 with Mary Beth Livers

Brunswick Arts Council names Livers executive director

MARY BETH LIVERS hopes to nurture seeds planted by former Brunswick Arts Council Executive Director Susan Sims-Pritts, who in September left her position to tend to personal matters but has stayed on as an ex-officio board member. Livers’ background in the arts and working with nonprofits, including her involvement with the Oak Island Art Guild, made her a natural fit for the position. She signed a one-year contract as executive director on October 1.

Take 5 with Mary Beth Livers

What prompted you to take this new role?

“A lifelong support of the arts. I appreciate its integration in our world. It’s in everything we experience – science, design/engineering and math, nature, entertainment, music, etc. … I found myself on the board of directors and was able to transition into a staff role in order to keep the momentum created by the departing director, with whom I worked closely.”

You have worked with nonprofit organizations for thirty years – from interpretation to curation and exhibit design to administration as executive director. What are some things you were proud of achieving?

“Art has been a common thread in every job I’ve had, whether it’s creating an arts trail in upstate New York, helping to create a museum from the ground up in Montana, or running a small workshop in North Carolina.”

Who is a favorite artist of yours, past or present?

“I have a background in working with a lot of different cultures within the U.S., so I gravitate towards a blend of cultural fusions between traditional and modern, across cultures whether in visual – Georgia O’Keeffe; music – Carole Fredericks and Robbie Robertson; wearable – Jamie Okuma; or performing arts – Julie Taymor.”

When you owned the Coastal Bound Art Studio in Southport, did you enjoy running a small business or were there challenges?

“Coastal Bound is my studio that I’m in the process of reopening as a home-based studio. I have had clients that we have done organization and redesign work for – and we were pleased to have a boho-chic design at the recent Cape Fear Habitat UpScale ReSale event last fall. We have flexible partnerships with local artists who teach classes in their areas of expertise in connection to the community. I enjoy the collaboration and creativity that comes from people who ‘find their tribe.’ It is amazing to help people spark their own personal creativity in some small way. There are always challenges in running a small business – no one does it on their own, and adaptability is key.”

What do you do to relax and unwind?

“I’m so boring! Hang with my ‘fur kids,’ enjoy nature, listen to an audiobook, swim, cook, take a nap, watch a TV show from another country on Netflix – love subtitles. Recharge my batteries. Then, tackle some project that I’ve been ruminating on for a while. Love to cross things off my life list!”

To view more of photographer Terah Wilson’s work, go to terahwilson.com.

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Categories: Women to Watch