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Hang out with Calvin Mims

Passion for the arts is the fuel that propels many creative professionals to expand their offerings and bring quality content to their communities and this is certainly true for Calvin Mims.  As the Executive Director of Ellington-White Contemporary Development Corporation he manages a gallery, grant programs and the day to day management of an organization. 

How long have you served as Executive Director? For five years.

Describe your work: Everything that everyone else doesn’t want to do.  Manage the day-to-day operations of Ellington-White and the Contemporary Gallery and community outreach that includes curating the exhibitions for the Arts Council.

What would you say are the keys to creating a “great” exhibition? Subject matter that is of timely interest and significance to the viewing community.

What animal (or critter) would be best suited for your job and why? It would either be an octopus or a spider.  You need to have your arms and hands doing more than one thing at a time.  You’ve got to move in several different directions and keep things coordinated equally.

What would you tell a teenager who is considering your career path?  Approach your job with zeal and with respect for the arts.  Keep yourself open for improvement and suggestions.  Always move toward excellence in everything that you do.

What's your typical Monday like?  A typical Monday would be to check in with all of the arts publications to find out what’s on the artistic horizons for different art mediums.  To connect with artists that have been involved in creative activities over the weekend.  And to then check on the needs of whatever exhibition has been currently installed.

Share some favorite aspects of your job:  People.  It’s always the reaction of people when they look at an exhibition and learn something new, experience something different or see a work from a different perspective. 

What makes it "more than a job" for you?  To be honest, it is my strong passion for the arts and a dedication to presenting the arts to a community that either would not have access to it or is not aware of what art form we are presenting.

Where are you from/raised? What brought you here?  From Detroit, Michigan.  The desire to retire in better weather (ha, ha,ha!  The joke is on me!)

What work have you done previously that either ties in with this job or is a total deviation from that path?  My background is in systems network engineering.  I worked in General Motors IT Services and was involved with Network Communications.

Who is your favorite artist and why?  Dwight Smith and Robert Motherwell. Their abstract expressionism sets the bar and creates an artistic standard that I measure other artists by.

Learn more about Calvin and the Ellington-White story at

Would you like to suggest an individual whose work in cultural arts is “More Than a Job”?  E-mail