WINNSBORO COMMUNITY LIAISON
Gus Gustafson was recently given the position of Community Liaison for the City of Winnsboro. Coming from several years of experience in city-related administration positions in Pittsburg, Gus has a lot of expertise to bring to the job. From October 2007 to 2009 he was Economic Development Coordinator [EDC] for the City of Pittsburg and prior to taking that position he was Executive Director of the Camp County Chamber of Commerce.
In this new position, Gus will act as a communications-link between individuals and organizations within the community, helping maintain or grow working relationships. He reports directly to Nina Browning, the City Administrator, and will focus on Enough Is Enough Drug Task Force, Morgan's Mercy Mansion [MMM], and the link between law enforcement and Enough Is Enough [EIE]. "Nina would like me to write grants to help MMM & EIE. I can also help the needs of the Winnsboro Police Department and show how the link between them and EIE can be helpful."
Separate from those duties, Gus is also the VISTA supervisor for VISTA workers assigned to the Winnsboro Center for the Arts. "In that capacity, I will be interacting with the Cultural Arts Director, Main Street, and others in positions that are helping to promote the city in various ways."
One of the goals Gus would like to achieve would be the creation of an official coalition of organizations in the city. "It would be a wonderful way to achieve focus and direction," he says. "Plus the government likes to see those in place if they're considering awarding you with grant money. And we need grant money to help sustain the likes of EIE and Morgan's Mercy Mansion.
Gus was first approached about coming to Winnsboro back in 2003 when he and a business partner opened The Coffee Cup coffeehouse with live entertainment in Pittsburg. "They claimed good things were going to be happening in Winnsboro and that we should consider opening up another location there," Gus says. "So my curiosity was sparked back then.
As many Winnsboro folks who have seen him perform at Crossroads and elsewhere in town know, Gus is a talented musician. He plays harmonica and guitar, and recently performed at Crossroads with the KMG Band - Kevin Tinney, Mia Tallant, and Gus. "We started out just jamming together at the open mic night at Crossroads," Gus says. "And eventually decided we liked the sound. Kevin and Mia's voices have a really pretty blend. So we decided to do a little performing."
More recently, he has appeared several times with Lindy Hearne, and guests, at Brewbaker's Pub. "I met Lynn & Lindy when they performed on my stage at The Coffee Cup," Gus says. "And.our friendship grew since that time.
"I was happy to come to Winnsboro and help help them with Crossroads Music Company from time to time, and then I was actually doing more performing with Kate Hearne, Lindy's daughter, as she gravitated toward the blues. I'd play rhythm so she could practice her leads. Lindy is such a polished professional, that when he asked me if I'd like to perform, I was truly honored. We did three different performances at Brewbaker's without one minute of practice."
At a recent performance at the pub, Lindy and Gus invited some guest performers to do a few numbers. "We're both all about nurturing the younger talent," Gus says. "So whenever we can get them to come up and show what they've got, we try to make it happen."
It looks like their gigs at Brewbakers will become a regular event, and Gus is looking forward to that. "We plan to invite different artists every month," he says. "We're really enjoying ourselves in the process."
Gus said guitar and harmonica were self-taught when he was a teenager. Then he abandoned music for the business world. "In 1989, I saw the error of my ways, and bought a used Martin acoustic guitar and started playing again."
Those of us who have had the pleasure of listening to Gus, are certainly glad he bought that old guitar. Watching him perform, it is apparent that music is part of his very nature, and the magic that happens between him and other performers is pretty amazing.
As for Gus, he is happy to be working in Winnsboro. "This is a great city," he says. "And I am excited about being part of the effort to help it grow."