For someone with no artistic training, Judy Pizzuti has had a tremendous impact on the local arts community.
Pizzuti served for nine years as administrator for the Art Academy, the teaching arm of the Art League of Hilton Head. She retired in December.
Pizzuti spent 25 years in public education across the state of Michigan, and another 10 in administration before retiring in July 2004 and heading South, building a home on Hilton Head Island.
From there, Pizzuti participated in a number of volunteer activities within her church, joined her community’s women’s club, and worked with Meals on Wheels, an organization designed to deliver food to the elderly and those unable to cook or provide meals for themselves.
The Art Academy began as an offshoot of the Art League in 2003, providing the community with a way to learn, practice and manage art, as well as tools to better handle the business side of selling and presenting their creations.
The Art League also holds a gallery that displays students’ work, a synergistic way to let the artists show off their talents in a comfortable, safe environment while simultaneously providing the Art League with attractions and exhibits.
Pizzuti first learned about the academy through Joyce Nagel, an artist with whom she shared a water aerobics class. With the academy’s desire to inspire the community to create, and Pizzuti’s expertise in administration and education, it was a perfect fit.
Under Pizzuti’s exceptional leadership, the academy thrived and revolutionized itself. Now, with more than 40 classes, from drawing and painting to sculpting and photography, the academy is bigger and better than ever.
Pizzuti also implemented a number of fun, innovative, community-building events such as “Lunch with the Masters,” an open-to-the-public, free weekly series that invites participants to bring lunch to the academy and participate in a viewing and seminar on a seminal artist and his or her works.
“The Art Academy broadened me as a person,” Pizzuti said. “I never had art growing up or in school and this has been an amazing creative experience.”
Now retired, Pizzuti plans to spend more time with her grandchildren in Michigan and take more art classes to build on the creativity she has been cultivating over the years.
Her dog Maddie will also be overjoyed to hear how many walks they’ll be taking together.
“My favorite art style has to be Impressionism,” Pizzuti said, citing the delicate brushstrokes and use of color.
A central element of Impressionist art is the depiction of movement and the passage of time, a fitting symbol for Pizzuti’s next step, and an appropriate capstone on an extraordinary career.
Sam Posthuma is a freelance writer and production assistant for The Hilton Head Sun.