Buchanan Art Center sees new leaderPublished 10:41am Thursday, January 7, 2010
By JESSICA SIEFF
Niles Daily Star
BUCHANAN – As Buchanan continues in efforts to market itself as a cultural destination to area residents, visitors and second homeowners coming in from neighboring Chicago, it was announced the Buchanan Art Center would see a transition in leadership.
Mary Lister, president of the Buchanan Art Center’s board of directors, recently announced that Niles’ own Kathee Kiesselbach would take over as executive director for the art center as Lister plans to step down this year.
“I’m very excited,” Kiesselbach said Wednesday. “It’s just a wonderful, wonderful facility and has wonderful volunteers.”
Kiesselbach, former director of marketing and development at the Krasl Art Center in St. Joseph, found herself looking for ways to utilize her time in a creative and productive way after being laid off from her job last year.
“Like many people I started thinking well what can I do? I wanted to volunteer,” she said. Kiesselbach, armed with a bachelor of fine arts in fine art with a special concentration in printmaking from Indiana University, met with Lister and expressed her hope to get involved with the center and possibly teach a class.
After some time, Kiesselbach said Lister let her know that she was considering stepping back from her position as executive director of the center.
Currently Kiesselbach is shadowing Lister in preparation for her new role. But she has plenty of hopes for the center’s future.
“That we’re able to do more marketing and let people know the wealth of classes and opportunities here at the art center,” she said. “I (also) hope to increase the number of members as well as the number of volunteers.”
Lister, she said, has fostered a strong relationship between the art center and downtown merchants who have made a strong and visible effort to increase business and tourism to the city’s downtown area by holding public events complete with visiting musicians, local and regional artists.
In addition to the center’s strengths, Kiesselbach said, “they have a really great board of devoted volunteers, they have a really wonderful facility, that is, a Frank Lloyd Wright-style building. So we really have a wonderful face to put forward on this.
“We also have just amazing teachers here,” she said.
The center offers classes to various age groups and even Kiesselbach said another area of focus is looking into developing more scholarships to those who may be interested in taking courses and enhancing their artistic ability but may not be able to afford it.
“We hope to shore up our development program here, they’ve got a wonderful endowment that they’ve already got started,” she said. “That will eventually go toward keeping the art center running for many years to come. We’ll be writing more grants for programming and increasing what we can offer to members.”
“I think we can do more with marketing,” Kiesselbach said. “And especially free marketing and low cost marketing to get the word out.”
Last year more than 600 people had taken classes at the art center.
“I think artists are coming out of the surrounding woodwork to see that we have so much to offer them,” Kiesselbach said.
For more information on the Buchanan Art Center, visit www.buchananartcenter.org.