VOL. 115 | NO. 214 | Friday, December 14, 2001
For Arts sake
For arts sake
By MARY DANDO
The Daily News
Philanthropy and Susan Schadt are a perfect fit.
Newly selected as the next president of the Greater Memphis Arts Council, Schadt will assume the position when the current president Kate Gooch retires at the end of December.
Schadt is currently the national director of development for the National Civil Rights Museum.
"Philanthropy is a thread that runs throughout our families, not only financially but also in volunteering time as a way to pay back to the community," Schadt said.
A Memphis native and a graduate of Hutchison School, she and her husband returned to live in Memphis three years ago.
Her husband, Charles, has a real estate development business in Memphis. They have a blended family of five girls ranging in age from 25 to 32.
Volunteer leadership has always been important. When she moved back in 1999, she joined the boards of the Memphis Child Advocacy Center and Hospice of the River before joining the National Civil Rights Museums staff last year.
"Memphis has served me well throughout my life and I am thrilled at being able to contribute," she said.
She is looking forward to the new challenges of the Arts Council.
"The Arts Council is an incredibly strong organization with a committed board and an excellent staff. I am proud to be associated with it and have high hopes for the 2002 campaign."
While she admits her only brush with the arts was a tap dancing class with Jackie Nichols at Playhouse on the Square, she emphasizes the importance of blending passion with practicality and recognizes her talent lies in encouraging others to support the arts in Memphis.
"Our local arts groups are second to none, and vital to the quality of life we have come to enjoy in this city. Fund raising for them will be a pleasure," she said.
She attributes the years she worked as a teacher in Memphis as the greatest learning experience of her life.
"Being a teacher prepares you for so many things," she said.
She received her bachelors degree from the University of South Carolina. She began her career in elementary education in the Memphis City School system. Her first job was teaching fourth grade at Riverview Elementary and she found herself teaching many things to her students.
"As a teacher you have to be receptive, guiding, engaging, inspiring and you also have to be a problem solver," she said.
She continued teaching in Memphis for several years and then moved out of the city to pursue other career opportunities in New York, Connecticut and most recently California.
But she believes her experience with children will serve her well as Arts Council president.
The Arts Council was established in 1963. It administers the Fund for the Arts the 10th largest such fund in the United States raising more than $3 million annually to support the arts in this region.
The Arts Council also administers Center for Arts Education programs, which bring the arts to more than 100,000 children every year.
When she is not working, Schadt has two hobbies, which at first glance seem worlds apart.
She loves to fish and she loves to knit.
She began fishing as a child with her father.
She is a member, the only female member of a fishing club near Tupelo, Miss. She loves to go out in a boat on her own and stay for hours.
"I just love to go out on the water on my own. Its idyllic, the sounds, the smells. Its very calming," she said.
She also has been an avid knitter all her life and is glad it seems to be coming back in fashion.
What she really loves is being back in Memphis.
"Its wonderful being reconnected with Memphis. Were so excited about its energy and all thats happening that we moved Downtown to be closer to everything," she said.