Renaissance Fine Art Supplies, Hamilton, OH
Before opening our store in 2015, I spent 40 years of my life directing community arts centers. Prior to that, I taught college level art for six years. But it was during my arts center years that I advocated for all of the arts for all of the people. I developed the Wayne Center for the Arts in Wooster, OH 1979-1991. From 1991-2015, I was founding executive director of the Fitton Center for Creative Arts here in Hamilton, OH. It was during those many years that I worked with city councils, mayors, state elected officials, community leaders, school boards, and others to convince them that the arts matter in people’s lives.
I was able, over time, to convince decision makers that investment in the arts was an investment in the quality of life of the community. My evidence was how the arts improved the performance of students in the public schools (backed by our own empirical research); impact on economic development; achievement of goals for under-served populations; and how the arts helped to improve social inequities. Advocacy never ends, so when I retired to open Renaissance, I still advocate for the arts, but now more for the visual arts. I am most comfortable here since I have a Master’s degree in painting from the Maryland Institute College of Art. When I speak to groups, I always point out how the arts have the power to improve communities and bring meaning to people’s lives.