Initially pursuing a career as an opera singer, Thomas Scurto-Davis wanted more time with his family, so he switched gears. For the past eight years, he’s been the CFO at Main Line Art Center. This past summer, he took over as MLAC’s executive director.
MLT: What sparked your passion for nonprofits?
TSD: My mom was heavily involved in politics where I grew up outside of Detroit. As a young kid, I started [putting up] flyers, subconsciously orienting me toward public service, I think.
MLT: How did you get into the arts?
TSD: In seventh grade, I did a musical for the first time, and I just thought that was the greatest thing ever. The idea of being an opera singer was attractive to me because it seemed shiny. But I began to realize that it wasn’t just that art form. It was art—what it says about us as humans, how we each find in it our own sense of humanity, how it pulls from us emotionally and demands an intellectual engagement other things in life don’t really demand.
MLT: How would you define Main Line Art Center’s role in the community?
TSD: It’s the community’s job to decide what they want the art center to be, and it’s my job to facilitate making that happen. I feel art has a real power to create social justice—and that word can be scary for some folks. But what that means is finding the humanity in ourselves and sharing it with one another. We’re not making a statement—we’re just saying, ‘Examine this. Explore this.’
MLT: What are your goals at MLAC?
TSD: To build relationships at the individual level so they know me, what my heart is about, and that I’m here to serve them. Folks will keep coming, stay loyal and use our services as long as we create an environment where they want to spend their time.