"I survived my first day on the job," says Patric Stillman, the new executive director of Space 4 Art. That was Feb. 1. The resident-artists "have many concerns and desires," he continues, "and it is my role and responsibility to listen and lead."
Space 4 Art, the artist-residence and -studio complex in East Village, opened in 2010 and has been holding performances, art shows, film screenings and open-studios events ever since.
Stillman has an artist's sensibility—he's worked in acrylics and photography—and a background in business and nonprofits. In his role as innovations and programming manager with the Media Arts Center San Diego, he established the annual Cine Gay and Cine'mation (animation) showcases for the San Diego Latino Film Festival. Before that, he served as chief operations officer at the World Trade Center San Diego. His interests and projects range from the esoteric (he developed a deck of gay tarot cards and a companion book; sales have been documented in 38 states and 11 countries) to the compassionate (he served folks with HIV/AIDS as executive director of Townspeople, a local housing nonprofit).
Asked what attracted him to Space 4 Art, he pinpoints a memory.
"I remember attending Space 4 Art's opening in 2010," he says, "and I was so impressed by the energy and the passion of everyone involved. I told myself, I need to keep my eye on this place.
"I came into the picture [at Space 4 Art] out of the need for more structure, to help them move forward, to help support the need to create," Stillman continues. "Space 4 Art has so much to offer through its focus on education, community outreach and creative principles; and I'm really excited to be a part of that."
He pauses, looking at his hands. "There are a lot of interesting, creative people born and raised in San Diego," he says, "but many of them leave. I want Space 4 Art to be like a home to others. You have to stick around to really create something. This is about setting up a nucleus for a future San Diego."
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