By Stephanie Sokol for Digital First Media
Elizabeth Chilton wears many hats.
She serves on multiple museum boards and has held many corporate roles at museums in the Detroit area. She also is a single mother and a yogi.
Now, she is taking on a role she is really looking forward to — executive director for the Paint Creek Center for the Arts.
“I’ve always wanted to be an executive director and based on my experience, this will be a good fit,” says Chilton, of Grosse Pointe Park.
In her career, she has worked for multiple museums. Each time, she has put an emphasis on the guests’ experience — she wants exhibits to mean something and get people thinking.
For example, an exhibit she put on with the Arab American Museum featuring a gay artist got national recognition and was featured in the New York Times.
“I think art helps people to see others’ perspectives,” Chilton says. “I think it’s important that you’re not isolated in your own opinions. That’s something our society can appreciate these days. I’m not necessarily an activist in terms of the works I present, but what I try to do is present exhibitions that speak to the community.”
Born and raised in Northwest Indiana, Chilton relocated to Metro Detroit when she was 25. She left teaching behind and later, after one of her children was born premature, she started in nonprofit work and found it was the right path for her.
“I’m really committed to trying to present things that people in Rochester and the surrounding areas are going to find exciting,” Chilton says. “In our exhibitions, I want them to see things they’ve never seen before and will be really excited about.”
While she hasn’t worked in a solely art-based environment previously, she brings knowledge from art exhibits done during her time at the Arab American museum, as well as roles she took on at the Detroit Science Center, University of Michigan Dearborn and Mosaic Youth Theater of Detroit.
Chilton’s goal is to bring innovative work to PCCA, with exhibits that are unique and excite patrons to visit.
“I’d been to Art and Apples festival before and had fun there, but never thought I’d be leading the organization that presented it,” Chilton says. “It’s a chance to explore what we’ll be doing with exhibitions in the future.”