Celebrating Powerhouse Women salutes and recognizes women who are making an impact, whether it’s in business, philanthropy, public service, or elsewhere.
Laura Ballance/Hudgens Center for Art & Learning
Laura Ballance, who has grown a reputation for creative thinking, development and innovation within the arts community, was named Executive Director of the Hudgens Center for Art and Learning in Duluth, GA in April 2020. An Atlanta native, Laura attended the Galloway School and graduated from Georgia State University. She launched her career in arts management more than twenty years ago, coordinating the community education programs at Atlanta College of Art on the campus of the Woodruff Arts Center. By 2005, Laura had transitioned to Savannah College of Art and Design in Atlanta, launching SCAD’s first continuing education program, which later expanded to SCAD’s Savannah location. She also directed SCAD Atlanta’s summer art camps, pre-college programs, art educator conferences, and other non-degree programming initiatives for the college. Additionally, Laura was responsible for coordinating The College Board’s Advanced Placement curriculum training sessions for high school educators of studio art and art history.
She planned the 2009 National Arts Honors Society, a multi-day conference, exhibition and awards ceremony for more than 400 students and their families. In 2010, she received the Distinguished Service Award from the Georgia Art Education Association. In her final five years with SCAD, Laura served as assistant director for enrollment events and programs, and had oversight of a variety of student and community engagement opportunities.
In 2017, after losing her younger sister to ALS, Laura went to work with the Muscular Dystrophy Association in Atlanta. As a development specialist with MDA, she was responsible for the organization’s signature Night of Hope Gala that raised approximately $1 million annually for ALS clinical trials, research and patient care. She also managed the MDA Muscle Walk, an annual fundraising event for which she drove an increase in sponsorships of more than 50 percent in her first year. During her tenure with MDA, Laura created new programs to engage the community and raise awareness for neuromuscular diseases, like ALS.
Laura remains active with the MDA and now serves on the Night of Hope Gala planning committee. She is also a member of the advisory council for Gwinnett County’s new School of the Arts, which opened its doors in August 2021.
Celebrating Powerhouse Women is presented by