BY SHEENA BARNETT
TUPELO – The GumTree Museum of Art has a new executive director.
Liz McIntosh took over at the museum last week, about a week after her predecessor, Kit Stafford, left to return to teaching art. McIntosh has been working at the museum under Stafford since February.
“I’m nervous, but I’m also really excited,” McIntosh, 24, said. “I feel better since I’ve been working with Kit. She gave me a lot of responsibility.”
McIntosh, a Jackson native, focused her studies on art at the University of Mississippi. She interned and later worked at the University Museum, but her new job at the GumTree Museum marks her first time being a museum’s executive director.
“A normal museum has a curator, a grant writer, an event planner,” she said, but she’s all of that and more at the museum as its only paid employee.
The nonprofit museum’s board of directors and its volunteer guild have been supportive of her, she said, and they’ve promised to help out.
“I’m trying to take it one day at a time. I’m not afraid to ask for help,” she said.
The museum has seen tough financial times in recent years, and McIntosh said keeping it afloat is priority.
“That’s always a struggle for a nonprofit. I’m confident the board and guild will help. We’re all on board to bring money in and use it in the right way,” she said.
Next year’s GumTree Festival also will mark McIntosh’s first festival to direct.
“I’m really glad I went to the festival for the first time this year,” she said. “It’s been such a tradition, people know what they’re doing. It’s one of the most impressive festivals I’ve been a part of.”
McIntosh has spent her first week making connections and plans for the future. Next week, the Southern Light Photography group will hang its exhibit. Painter Sylvain Chamberlain’s “Observations” will be on exhibition at GumTree in October.
Being the executive director means plenty of responsibility, but McIntosh is ready to go.
“The big goals will be down the road. This year I want to establish me being a director,” she said. “I’m going to take it one day at a time and maintain the tradition and integrity of the GumTree Museum.”