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Three Years to the Day...
Mara Stenback

July 11, 2002
by Steve Kastner
FISH CREEK, WI - In three short years Mara Stenback has had a major impact on the Door County art scene working as Executive Director of Peninsula Art School (PAS).

She is rightfully proud of recent accomplishments. "New studio space for watercolor and photography is under construction, class attendance is growing and we have doubled our membership in the past year," says Stenback. "We still have $80 thousand left to raise this year based on a $600 thousand dollar annual budget, but the Art School is doing very well."

The Guenzel Gallery, under her direction, has become a hot spot… serving as: an umbrella for emerging young artists, a focusing agent bringing together a diverse series of spectacular exhibits and one
hell of a great gathering spot to celebrate the arts in Door County. She transforms sedate social events into memorable "happenings".

Mara Stenback is also capable of finding and surrounding herself with other very competent players. She has expanded the PAS staff to include an unusually talented crew: Sheri Kuehl, Development Director; Sam Perlman, Program Director; Kati Thomas, Registrar; and Jodi Brey, Outreach Director, among a spectrum of other new instructors and staff members.

In spite of this continuous wave of success Mara Stenback announces, "After three years, to the day, on September 1st, I am leaving my position at Peninsula Art School to return to Minneapolis."

Stenback has agreed to become the managing director of the new
Minnesota Center for Photography (MCP), a joint effort by the University of Minnesota, pARTs Photographic arts gallery and Film in the Cities.

While she claims that she will miss Door County's green space, the opportunity to direct this new venture has been irresistible.

Mara explains, "The Center draws on the strengths of these three organizations and will eventually occupy a space at Lyn Lake. There it will provide extensive professional and student darkroom facilities, workshops and a large photo gallery that will feature national and international photography exhibitions."

One of her first duties when she arrives in Minneapolis will be the launch of a $2 million dollar MCP fund-raising campaign.

Mara Stenback likes to be challenged, practices Zen meditation and runs to relax, competing in her first 26-mile marathon event last fall.

In Door County she has demonstrated an unusual talent for raising money for the arts… a talent that will be missed. But not before a few more exciting events come to pass:

In August the upcoming
Sculpture Ball, will unexpectedly serve double duty. A farewell to Mara Stenback and a fund-raising dinner dance set to celebrate the Regional Sculpture Exhibit at the Guenzel Gallery. Exhibit curator Tom Maher and his wife Virginia will host a very special evening of sumptuous dining and starlight dancing at their home and sculpture garden on the shore of Lake Michigan on Friday, August 9 following the free public opening party at the Guenzel from 4 - 6 PM. Tickets for the Sculpture Ball are $100 per person.

The show itself is another unique exhibit featuring work by a collection of master Midwestern sculptors. The works range in all sizes and will be presented both inside the
Guenzel Gallery and outdoors throughout the PAS gardens and campus from July 26 - September 8.

Tickets for any of the upcoming events may be obtained at the PAS offices in Fish Creek or by calling 920.868.3455.

Click to open a Calendar of Upcoming Door County Events, searchable by date or category...

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Art Marketing 101: A Handbook for the Fine Artist
by Constance Smith 
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