Serving the campus of the University of Alabama since 1894

The Crimson White

Serving the campus of the University of Alabama since 1894

The Crimson White

Serving the campus of the University of Alabama since 1894

The Crimson White

Arts Council’s new director works to involve students

After 12 years of being the Director of Educational Programs for the Arts and Humanities Council of Tuscaloosa, Sandra Wolfe is taking over the Executive Director position.

With several plans already in place for the upcoming year, Wolfe hopes that more UA students will “get away from campus for a bit” and “find a home in the Bama Theatre.”

“We don’t want students to just go to school here,” Wolfe said. “We want them to get involved with the community, and one way they can do that is through the arts. Students get caught up with things happening on campus and may not think much about that old theater downtown, but that theater has a lot to offer.”

One of the Council’s most recent successes and something Wolfe thinks will appeal to many students is the Bama Art House Film Series, which happens at 8 p.m. at the Bama Theatre on Tuesday nights.

For only $6 a movie, students can take a break from studying and watch independent films under the stars of the theater. Wolfe expects to continue the Film Series, which often attracts 300 people per night.

“It’s neat to see these awesome independent films, especially since we don’t usually get the opportunity to see films like this in Tuscaloosa,” Wolfe said.

In addition to hosting other film festivals, including the Manhattan Short Film Festival and the German and Jewish Film Festivals, the Bama Theatre will also host several musicians throughout the year.

“Our first big music event happens on August 26,” she said. “We’ll be hosting Doyle Lawson & Quicksilver, and a group called The Greencards will be opening for them. [The Greencards] are kind of like Nickel Creek. They’re a really cool and upcoming group, and I think a lot of students would enjoy them.”

For those not interested in bluegrass, the Council has also scheduled Christian rock band Needtobreathe for Sept. 9, rock artist Aimee Mann for Sept. 29, the Tuscaloosa Symphony Orchestra for Dec. 13 and Beatles tribute band The Fab Four for Jan. 21. All will perform at the Bama Theatre.

When attending these films and concerts, Wolfe admits that audience members may in reality notice very little about the theater itself because of the dimmed lights. Thus, the Arts Council will begin giving regularly-scheduled tours of the theater this fall, something they have never done before.

“There’s so much history and thought behind the design of the theater,” Wolfe said. “I’ve been working here for 12 years, and even I discovered new things about the theater this summer. There are things in there that you might not ever notice if you’re not really paying attention.”

When asked about the changes she will undergo as she makes the transition from being the Director of Educational Programs to being the Executive Director, Wolfe said, “The hardest thing for me to do will be to let go of the Adopt-A-School program.”

Having worked as the Council’s liaison to Westwood Elementary for the last 12 years, she has made strong connections with the kids through Cultural Arts Days, the Bringing Up Grades or “BUG” Awards and other programs that she expects will make leaving difficult.

“I’ll be running errands around town and kids will come up to me and say, ‘You’re the bug lady!’ But I’ll no longer be the bug lady; someone else will.”

Despite this, Wolfe said she is very excited about being able to make plans for the new arts center, which will open by Nov. 2011, if all goes well.

“It’s going to be awesome,” she said. “It will have a theater space, a gallery space and places for artists’ workshops and studios, as well as office space for arts organizations around Tuscaloosa. It will be a place where the community can come and do various art projects and see the wonderful artistic talent that Tuscaloosa has to offer.”

In a recent press release, former Executive Director Pamela Penick said, “I know our programs will be in good hands, and [Wolfe] will give the guidance necessary to move the Arts Council and the Bama Theatre forward into the next decade.”

For more information about upcoming arts events, visit

More to Discover