Since taking over as executive director of the Cross Timbers Fine Arts Council in 2010, Julie Crouch-Smith has made a huge impact on the organization with her initiatives, kindness and love of Stephenville.

“It has truly been an unexpected blessing,” Crouch-Smith said. “I don’t want to say the success is mine because it’s the whole council, the board members, the community that supports everything we do and of course the artists.”

Crouch-Smith graduated from Stephenville High School and Tarleton State University. While in college she interned at the CTFAC under former director Connie Birdsong where her first assignment was to help promote tourism in Stephenville.

She has now accepted a position to lead the new Tourist and Visitor Bureau and will start the job on April 2.

“My official last day will be the Ragin’ Cajun event on Saturday, March 24, but I will certainly be available the following week when I can,” she said.

During her eight years at the CTFAC, many events and programs have been implemented including Manners Camp, Paint the Town, An Evening with Don Edwards and Art in Public Places.

Ragin’ Cajun began 16 years ago and Crouch-Smith has been dedicated to its success as one of the biggest fundraisers for the arts council.

“I love seeing the arts council’s partnerships with other entities in town, it kind of enhances both,” Crouch-Smith said. “This is bittersweet, but I’m excited too. I’ve seen children grow up like I did in this arts council and I will miss the people and the laughter and joy you witness when people are creating art, but luckily I’m not going very far.”

The Stephenville City Council voted to create the Tourist and Visitor Bureau in December and City Administrator Allen Barnes along with many community members who commented on the E-T’s Facebook page have agreed that Crouch-Smith is the right person for the job.

“I think the only thing I love more than art is Stephenville,” Crouch-Smith said. “No matter where I lived I was always proud to boast about where I’m from and though I’m not technically doing the same thing, I still get to promote all these wonderful organizations including the arts council. It’s an exciting time for Stephenville.”

As far as filling her position at the CTFAC, Crouch-Smith said she is looking for a "people person."

“So much of what we do is with other people and organizations and so I would definitely want them to be a people person,” she said. “It’s all about relationships.”