Numerous people snaked through the Carroll Arts Center lobby. However, this time, the crowd wasn’t for a show or an event — they were there to see one person: Sandy Oxx.
On Friday night, Oxx, who’s been the executive director of the arts center for 21 years, was celebrated prior to her leaving. She announced her resignation on Jan. 5.
She is being replaced by Judy Morley.
Friends and community members waited patiently to get a minute to chat with Oxx, give her a hug and get a picture before they roamed around the center, munching on food and socializing. For Oxx, the night was overwhelming.
“I’m just feeling very grateful that I worked here,” Oxx said, fighting back tears, her voice full of emotion.
She said she wishes everyone could have a job they love as much as she’s loved hers with the center.
But, she said, she knows it’s time to go. She’s been in the position for 21 years and, when your baby is 21, it’s time to push them out of the nest, she said.
Over more than two decades, Oxx helped to expand the center, creating new programs like the Festival of Wreaths and the PEEPshow. The Carroll Arts Center was founded in 1969 and began as a council of volunteers. After about a decade, they became affiliated with the county as one of the recreation councils.
When Oxx started, they ran one gallery in the basement of the Winchester Exchange, where Gotham Comics currently resides. Oxx was introduced officially as the new director in June 1997’s Art in the Park celebration.
But Oxx won’t be remembered just for the new initiatives she brought on board. For some, they’ll remember her for her kindness.
Dee Krasnansky, of Westminster, said she’s known Oxx for a long time, and that she’s always been encouraging.
“She’s shown such kindness and support to people,” Krasnansky said.
Krasnansky said when she was between jobs, Oxx let her volunteer at the arts center, and then wrote her a letter of recommendation. It really helped her in that part of her life, she added.
Oxx also encouraged people — like Krasnansky — to show art at the center, and said she believed people didn’t need to be “top-notch” artists to display their work.
Aliki McDonold, of Westminster, said she wanted to come out Friday to wish Oxx good luck as she moves to tackle her next project. McDonold said she’s been in the area for more than 40 years, and has seen all of the work Oxx has done in the last two decades.
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“I’ve seen the changes. I think she has brought out the most amazing changes,” she said, later adding, “she will be missed.”