Was it destiny?
Hilary Anne Pierce, the new executive director ofthe Carroll County Arts Council, believes so.
"Everything that I have ever done has led to this job," she said.
Pierce, the youngest of five children, said she received a broad introduction to the arts from her "creative and charismatic" mother and father while growing up in Portland, Maine.
"As we were growingup, they were always doing things like buying old New England homes that needed work. I am sure that's what led to my fascination with architecture and art history and probably what led to my interest in design."
Pierce, who took over the office yesterday, was one of 45 applicants for the $18,000-a-year arts council post.
Dianne Wiebe, vice president of the Carroll County Arts Council board of directors,said six "extremely qualified" people were interviewed, with Pierce being the unanimous choice.
"We were looking for an administrator who could manage the major components of the job, such as networking,fund raising and recruitment of volunteers," Wiebe said.
"Her energy and enthusiasm dazzled us. She has very sound administrative skills and a vision of what the arts council could be."
Pierce replaces Peggy Slater, the council's director for five years.
She takes over the arts council reins in a year in which the county commissioners slashed funding about 48 percent for fiscal 1992, and the state cut10 percent and deferred 10 percent more. Due to the cutbacks, the position of assistant director, filled by Carol Giuffre since 1979, wasabolished.
Pierce is aware of the challenges ahead.
"I will focus on revitalizing the arts council," she said. "I will look to increase membership, design new programs and look for private grants so we are not constantly leaning on our government."
Pierce displayed a strong interest in dance and theater as a girl, but preferred design while studying at Hebron Academy in Maine.
"I was in my midteenswhen I stopped dancing. I started working toward design, sculpture and printmaking," she said. "When I decided that I wanted to study design in college, my parents were shocked."
Pierce, 27, moved to Baltimore in 1983 to attend the Maryland Institute College of Art, whereshe earned a degree in design in 1986.
For the past five years, Pierce has worked as a free-lance interior designer with Nick LambroseAssociates in Baltimore.
She also has helped raise funds for AIDSWalk 1989 and the Contemporary Museum of Art in Baltimore.
Pierceworked with George Ciscle, founder of the Contemporary Museum of Art, to design exhibition space for a Soviet group showing last spring titled "Photo Manifesto: Contemporary Photography in the U.S.S.R."
Pierce managed Mitchell Studios in Baltimore in 1987 and 1988, and in1990 worked as a consultant with Martin Lawrence Galleries in Baltimore.