Meet the new Kimball Art Center executive director | ParkRecord.com

Meet the new Kimball Art Center executive director

Lindsie Smith thrilled for new opportunity

Lindsie Smith remembers what she felt when she was asked to become the new executive director of the Kimball Art Center.

"I was so thrilled when the board of directors offered me this opportunity," Smith said during an interview with The Park Record. "It was exciting and wonderful to be asked to lead this wonderful organization."

Wyoming native Smith, who will come to the Kimball Art Center — known as the KAC by local residents — from her time as associate director of the Clark Planetarium, is no stranger to the arts.

She attended the University of Wyoming on a ceramics scholarship.

"I loved getting my hands in the clay," she said. "I loved working with it and shaping things."

In addition to ceramics, Smith studied other visual arts including watercolors, painting and drawing.

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"While I had a well-rounded arts background, it was really the molding of three-dimensional objects that was so exciting to me," she said.

Although Smith loved art, she changed majors and graduated with a Bachelor of Arts in English literature.

"The reason why was I didn't think I was good enough to pursue a career in ceramics," she said. "I think it was Picasso who said, 'All children are artists and the problem is remaining one once you grow up.'"

People's denial of an innate artistic inheritance is one reason Smith loves the Kimball Art Center's mission, which is to connect and inspire through art.

"The Kimball Art Center helps instill that self-esteem and confidence, especially in those who take art classes," Smith said. "I wish I had a little more of that in my art career, and I wish I could have felt like I could have made it."

After deciding she wasn't going to be an artist, Smith asked herself about other interests she had.

"Literature was the other thing that really resonated with me, so I went with that," she said.

After graduation, Smith made another shift and began her career in the finance industry, working for both Zions Bank and Fidelity Investments.

"It was a sort of pragmatism that led me there," she said. "I was a good writer, and I wanted to find jobs where I could write. So, ending up in a marketing department where I was doing some copyediting and technical writing seemed to fit with my background."

While Smith enjoyed the work, she knew there was something else out there for her.

"Zions and Fidelity are wonderful organizations and they do a lot for the community, but I wanted to be closer in serving the community," she said. "I found that my love of arts and the community took me out of that and moved me over to the nonprofits sector."

In 2006, she became director of communications for Junior Achievement of Utah and later moved on to Discovery Gateway Children's Museum.

She joined Clark Planetarium in 2012 as associate director. She oversaw the Planetarium's operations, education, marketing and development departments.

"When I was offered this position at Clark, I thought, 'Well, I'm not a science person," she said with a laugh. "But I quickly assimilated and saw that arts, science and humanities all go hand in hand.

"There are reasons why most scientists I know engage in artistic pursuits. It's really about curiosity about the world and making sense of it. At Clark we introduce adults and kids to informal learning experiences that lead to deeper learning, and I love how the Kimball does that through art."

Smith earned her Leadership and Management Certificate from the University of Utah.

"I got that through the U.'s nonprofit Academy of Excellence," she said. "I [also] finished my coursework for a Master’s in Professional Communication at Westminster but have sadly not wrapped up my thesis [and] final project."

Smith lives in Sugar House and shares custody of her son, Blake, with her ex-husband.

Blake, who is nearly 8, attends Uintah Elementary, Smith said.

"I get asked if I'm going to move to Park City, but I'm not going to right now because I have this little, wonderful guy who is very happy with his school," she said.

In addition to art, Smith enjoys hiking and reading.

"Luckily I love to hike and I am just in heaven living in Utah," she said. "I love Southern Utah and try to spend a lot of time down there during the cooler months exploring.

"I joke that now is 'mountain time' when I go hiking in the mountains. Since we had a lot of snow, I find it hard to get to some of my favorite places in the Uintas."

As for reading, one of Smith's favorite authors is the late Gabriel Garcia Marquez, who died in 2014.

"I was really sad when he passed away," Smith said. "'Love in the Time of Cholera' and 'One Hundred Years of Solitude' are two of my favorite novels."

Lately Smith has been building things with Legos.

"With an 8-year-old in my life, I have found that I really enjoy doing that," she said with a laugh. "Sometimes I have to squelch my inner-president business when we're building. I'll see him putting a sticker on upside down, and have to let it go."

Another love for Smith is music, especially singer-songwriter Brandi Carlile.

"I love the folksy music," she said. "I saw Brandi last year up at Deer Valley and she was incredible."

Smith knows there is a lot of work ahead of her as Kimball Art Center executive director.

"I'm excited to work with Park City and the wider community to bring the Kimball Art Center to the next level," she said. "I'm so thrilled and heart-warmed at how the community is welcoming me with open arms."