PAC was founded in 1993 and has promoted visual, literary, and performing arts in Jasper and Newton Counties.
For over 25 years I have focused most of my volunteerism on the Prairie Arts Council, being one of the founding members. As a lifelong artist and art educator, I have focused on my areas of interest and expertise to created and facilitate visual arts events, mostly exhibitions and workshops,
I love living in rural northwest Indiana, but I also wanted to live in a community that had culture and arts opportunities and events. Giving my time to Prairie Arts Council has helped that to happen.
I have intentionally taken a major leadership role with exhibitions and workshops over the years since those are my areas of expertise and interest:
Exhibitions: I served as the Volunteer Director of the Lilian Fendig Gallery from 1993-2002 (Judy Kanne took over from 2002-2016), and I returned in 2016 to serve on a new Exhibition Committee, working closely with Kelley Spurgeon and Judy Kanne. I created and chaired the Regional School Art Shows, also beginning in 1993 through 2016 that continue today and is now chaired by Kelley Spurgeon.
Workshops: I founded PAC’s ARTCAMP art workshop in 1993 (we began with 6 workshops) and was the director through 2016 (offering over 100 workshops). I served as Co-coordinator with Gail Woolever 2016-2018, when Artcamp ended. I am presently working with a new committee to bring back the New Artcamp 2020. More information coming very soon.
One of the biggest projects I have been involved with is the Regional School Art Shows when they were held at Saint Joseph’s College in the Lobby of the Core Building, from 1998 – 2017. As chair of the art department there, it worked very well for me to be the coordinator overseeing each show and serving as Master of Ceremony for each of the Reception and Award Ceremonies. The artwork of over 600 regional art students was exhibited each year. The event continues today on a slightly smaller scale that can be exhibited in the Lilian Fendig Gallery. It is an exemplary collaboration with the area art teachers, their art student students, their families and the Jasper –Newton community.
One of my proud moments is being able to bring art events to our rural community and the thousands of children to adults who have participated over the years.
Some of the challenge’s nonprofits face is funding, but also publicizing our events and getting people from across Jasper and Newton counties to attend. We still encounter local residents who don’t know about the Prairie Arts Council and/or don’t participate in our programs.
Now retired from full-time teaching, it was always a challenge when I was teaching full time, find time to make my art and volunteer nearly 200 hours some years… But, the quote “ask a busy person if you want to get something done” seems to apply. I was highly organized and lived by my calendar. I also had a very understanding family that supported me in every way, with a husband who (still) cooks and (now grown) children who helped out.
Some accomplishments for 2020 is Prairie Arts Council is and always will be my main volunteer priority. I will continue to serve on PAC’s board indefinitely, lending my time and creativity to all of its endeavors.
One new exhibition I will be coordinating this summer is “Celebrating Women Artists”, is in honor 100 years of Women’s Right to Vote. It is a continuation of my work on the 2020 International Women’s Day Celebration held on March 8. I also look forward to teaching in the new ARTCAMP 2020 as we reinvent a new schedule of workshops spread across the summer to better meet 21st century demands on families’ time.