An era has ended for the Milford Fine Arts Council: Longtime director William Meddick retired last week after more than 30 years with the council.Meddick, who worked for the council for 32 years and served as director for 28, wasn\u2019t necessarily ready to retire. A man as complicated as he is artistically talented, Meddick said he and the board had different ideas about the direction the local arts center should be taking. He had more regional goals in mind, while the board wanted to concentrate more on local offerings. So he decided it was time to step aside and focus on his own art. His goal, he said, half serious and half in jest, is to become a famous painter.\u201cI will miss him terribly,\u201d said Marti Reed, a former board member. \u201cHe did so much for the council, and I believe our council does more than any other in the state.\u201dMeddick started at the local arts center as an artist paid by the government funded Comprehensive Employment and Training Act program 32 years ago. He was paid $100 a week to go to Milford\u2019s schools and paint scenes of the classrooms: Students studying and working together.After school he would work with youngsters developing their art. \u201cIt was actually pretty cool,\u201d Meddick said.Some of the artwork he created can be seen hanging in the Parsons Government Complex downtown.Later he was tapped to become the center\u2019s director, the third in its 40-year history, while continuing to create works of art \u2014 murals and paintings \u2014 here and in the region. The center grew in size and scope during his tenure, from a small center to one offering a variety of programs and opening a theater at the railroad station and then a fine arts gallery at Walnut Beach.Dolores Hannon, board co-president with Sandy Morgan, agreed that Meddick and the board had different ideas about the center\u2019s future direction, but she said that doesn\u2019t lessen Meddick\u2019s value or accomplishments in the least.\u201cBill did a wonderful job, and he will be hard to replace,\u201d Hannon said.The board honored Meddick at its recent 40th anniversary celebration, and renamed the council\u2019s permanent art collection after Meddick.She said the board and Meddick had different aspirations. While he pursued regional art connections, the board wanted to focus more on Milford\u2019s schools, local businesses and local artists.The board has been sifting through applications for a new director, which is a part-time position, but hasn\u2019t made a choice yet.As for Meddick, he\u2019s likely sitting somewhere painting. That is his life. An Ohio native, he studied art at the Pratt Institute in Brooklyn, and has been an artist ever since, creating large and small-scale paintings, and even working for a time doing theater paintings.\u201cI guess I paint about four or five hours a day,\u201d he said last Friday, his last day sitting in the director\u2019s chair at the Milford Fine Arts Council. \u201cI\u2019ll be doing more than that now.\u201dHe said he was looking forward to answering to himself, and painting more. He has a market already, drawing on people who have purchased his art in the past.\u201cNothing makes me happier than when someone \u2014 a regular person \u2014 likes your work and can afford it,\u201d he said.