PARKERSBURG - Artsbridge announced its new director, the opening of a new location at 925 Market St. and a new organizational focus during its Holiday Open House Friday evening.
Interim executive director Jane Irvine will be taking over on Jan.1, as Artsbridge executive director Mark Lanyon steps down from the position.
"Jane is an amazing person who has been with Artsbridge since the beginning," said Lanyon. "She knows this community from the ground up, and will be a great asset to the company in this time of change," he said.
Jane Irvine, who will be taking over as the Artsbridge interim executive director on Jan. 1, stands beside Mark Lanyon, current Artsbridge executive director, at the Artsbridge Holiday Open House Friday evening. (Photo by Gretchen Richards)
Lanyon recalls his time as executive director of Artsbridge as an opportunity for personal growth. "It has been a great time for me, and I have learned a lot about operating a smaller nonprofit organization," said Lanyon. "I appreciate being given the opportunity to lead Artsbridge for the time I was here," he said.
Irvine used the celebration to greet guests and talk about her plans as the interim executive director of Artsbridge.
"I will be helping the staff transition to this new area," said Irvine. "We hope to use this large space as a way to bring the arts to everyone. I am excited and honored to be asked to serve as the interim director for Artsbridge," she said.
Bill Haas, interim chairman of the programs committee with Artsbridge, was pleased to see the turnout at the Holiday Open House.
"The recent move was very disruptive to us as an organization, as any move would be," said Haas. "This celebration marks the official end of that disruption for us. It is a great Christmas present to ourselves," he said.
With the new location comes a new direction and focus for the company, said Artsbridge Board of Directors President Lee Rector.
"Since we have all of this space, we plan on using it in a way we never could in our old, tiny location," said Rector. "We have a whole new venue here, and we are thrilled with the support that the community and especially the (Parkersburg) mayor has shown us," he said.
Artsbridge will be focusing on getting more involved with the community in the coming year, said Rector. The large front area of the new location offers Artsbridge the chance to showcase local artists, hold classes for the community, and involve other businesses in the arts district in the quest to make the arts accessible to everyone in the Mid-Ohio Valley, said Rector.
They know that the new facility will mean a lot of hard work, said Rector. But when it comes to using the nearly 5,000 square feet of space in the building for the advancement of the arts in the Mid-Ohio Valley, the work will be well worth the time, he said.
"This space is amazing," said Rector. "It not only gives us a place to display local artists, but it lets the community actually see who we are and what we stand for," he said.
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.
More than 100 guests came and went throughout the evening, enjoying hors d'oeuvres, drinks and entertainment in the large front room of the new Artsbridge location. Candles flickered from tabletops, while an a cappella choir from the Actors Guild of Parkersburg entertained guests with Christmas carols.
Food for the celebration was donated by area organizations, including Chef Yancy's 5 Star Catering, House of Wines, Buckley House Restaurant and Napoli's. Guests dined on a variety of food, from chicken wings to smoked salmon, and enjoyed a selection of cookies and fudges for dessert.