The Hillsborough Arts Council is living with a great problem to have.
As the arts continue to thrive, a mere part-time director position did not allow enough hours to properly serve the rapidly-expanding arts community in Hillsborough.
In October, the Hillsborough Arts Council named Torey Mishoe the organization’s first full-time executive director.
“There’s so much going on [in Hillsborough] and they have so many fantastic programs that a part time person wasn’t going to cut it anymore,” Mishoe said. “There’s just too much work to be done to make all of the things that everybody in Hillsborough loves so much, to make those happen.”
On the eve of her first day as executive director, Mishoe and her family attended the Handmade Parade, a bi-annual event of puppets, drum lines, and vibrancy, hosted by the organization she was about to take over.
On Monday, Oct. 15, she walked into a bustling organization, with three consecutive weekends of major events, including the Paint it Orange: Plein Air Paint-Out and Wet Paint Sale, and the River Park concert.
“I came in the middle of this kind of wonderfully chaotic moment,” Mishoe said. “Jumping right in as scary as it seems at the get-go, I kind of picked it back up. I’ve been involved in the arts and nonprofits for so long, it became like second nature again.”
The daughter of an artist, Mishoe grew up with the guidance of her mother’s best friend, who managed an arts program similar to Hillsborough Arts Council.
“There was never a moment when I was like, ‘Oh, maybe I should think about the arts,’” Mishoe said. “It’s always just been a part of my life.”
Hailing from a small town outside of Buffalo, New York, Mishoe found her way to North Carolina where she obtained her Bachelor of Arts degree in Art Management from Appalachian State University. She returned to western New York after, gaining masters degrees in both Art History and Museum Studies from Syracuse University.
Along with her husband Kevin, a native of Hillsborough, they moved several places, though they knew North Carolina would eventually be “home,” Mishoe said.
Upon arriving in Hillsborough, Mishoe primarily worked in the arts in southern Orange County where she was Manager of FRANK Gallery in Chapel Hill and Development Associate at North Carolina Public Radio (WUNC).
As executive director of the HIllsborough Arts Council, Mishoe will have a hand in most of the organization’s day-to-day and event planning functions, especially as the council looks to expand.
The funding for the nonprofit is made available through numerous town and county supporters, various grants, and a few other sources.
As she takes on this new role, she will continue the beloved annual arts events the council has hosted in years past.
“There is a lot to learn about the Hillsborough community and there is a lot to learn about the ins and outs of our programs,” Mishoe said. “But there has been so much support. The board has been incredible, the volunteers and the women who run the gallery and gift shop, everybody has just been amazing. I really couldn’t ask for a better transition into a new, potentially very daunting role.”
The last Art Walk of the season will be held on Friday, Nov. 30 and the much anticipated annual Solstice Lantern Walk is slated for late December.
Though Mishoe is excited about the event, her daughter may have her beat. She has already crafting lanterns a month in advance and is eager to show them off.
Currently, Mishoe is working to meet those who run local art venues, but has also recognized the large support for the arts from Hillsborough merchants.
“I think Hillsborough is kind of a special place,” she continued. “It is a really wonderful small town and the merchants and the community members are so supportive of the arts. They want to be involved and they seem to recognize that art really helps economically and they help communities thrive; they’re vital.”