Irvine takes the reins at Artsbridge

PARKERSBURG – Artsbridge welcomed a familiar face as its new executive director with the new year.

Jane Irvine stepped into the position on Jan. 1, after Mark Lanyon stepped down from the position he had held since Jan. 3, 2013.

“I am very excited to be the interim executive director and be able to serve Artsbridge in this manner,” said Irvine. “It is an exciting and worthy organization and we have the potential to make this the best year, yet, for Artsbridge.”

Irvine has been part of Artsbridge for roughly two decades as she was brought on board by Lisa Collins, former director in the early 1990s.

“I’ve been with Artsbridge since the Lisa Collins days,” Irvine said with a smile. “I honestly can’t remember how long, but I can’t imagine my life without it.

“It is an honor and privilege for me to serve this group,” she said.

After Lanyon announced his departure to the board in the fall, Irvine began discussions to step into the role.

“They offered to allow me to be named as interim director and hold the position for a year and I accepted,” she said. “I’m not sure if I want to take on the responsibility for longer, but time will see what happens after this year.”

Since she joined the organization, Irvine has served as a member of either the board or advisory board ever since. For the last 10 years she has been involved with the Very Spectacular Arts Festival and has chaired the event for the last four years.

“Jane is a wonderful woman and I think she will do a fantastic job as executive director,” said Artsbridge board member Jennifer Johnston-Crow. “I have worked with her for a number of years and she has great ideas and will be a strong asset to Artsbridge.”

Irvine holds a bachelor’s degree in Music Education from West Virginia University and a master’s degree in Music Education from Ohio University. She is retired from teaching music at Warren Local Schools where she taught music to students in kindergarten through eighth grades as well as general music, choir, handbells and band.

She volunteers at Ewing School in Marietta where she teaches music classes to preschool children as well as autism classes.

Irvine said she plans to work with Artsbridge grant writer Wendy Tuck to find new funding resources and grants while continuing current grants.

“I am excited for our new programs, which include the Battle of the Bands, to take place at Kids Fest; and the newly developed Arts Encounter: Arts, Actors Audience, which will be implemented this spring for 60 middle school students,” Irvine said. “There is a lot going on and I can’t wait to be part of it.”

Irvine was announced as the new director during the annual Artsbridge Holiday Open House in December, which also showed off the organization’s new location at 925 Market St.

Artsbridge provides funding to local artists and art opportunities to community students and schools. The agency has been working with the residents of the Mid-Ohio Valley for 27 years to make the arts accessible to everyone.