On July 1, Art Spaces Executive Director Mary Kramer will assume a new role as Project Consultant for the organization. Art Spaces today begins the search for an Executive Director to succeed Kramer this summer and join the staff along with the existing Operations and Programs Coordinator, Ally Midgley.
Once a new director is in place, Kramer will transition to her new role as consultant, focusing her energies on the organization’s largest projects, including the award-winning multi-year project, Turn to the River, while also pursuing her own art.
“From the start, Art Spaces was the creation of visionaries who understood that public art and design of public places can activate the spaces that we all share and improve the quality of life of the people living and working in our community,” said Dianne Frances D. Powell, Art Spaces Board Chair. “Mary is one of those visionaries, and we are grateful for her many years of steadfast, outstanding leadership of Art Spaces and for being the champion of public art in the Wabash Valley.”
“Everyone who has been a part of Art Spaces as a board member, committee member, donor, supporter, and advocate contributed to building the strong and impactful organization we have today. Art Spaces has been enjoying much success and growth these last few years. We are in a strong position to navigate changes and welcome the opportunities they bring for more success and the continued fulfillment of our important mission for our community,” Powell said.
For more than 17 years as executive director, Kramer has been leading Art Spaces with integrity, dedication, skill, openness, and a collaborative spirit. Art Spaces has grown from a community initiative to a celebrated and award-winning non-profit arts organization that has established a collection of 21 unique public sculptures, with more on the way.
The most recent, by Texas-based artists Brad and Diana Goldberg, is the central focus of Phase I of Turn to the River, Art Spaces’ multi-year project to reconnect Terre Haute’s downtown with the Wabash River through public art and design. This project has generated strong community partnerships and federal and state funds for implementation, advancing the arts as a key component of revitalization and livability.
In speaking of her time with Art Spaces as Executive Director, Kramer said, “This has been an amazing creative journey. It began when members of this community who had big ideas and big hearts decided to build a public sculpture collection that would positively impact Terre Haute and the Wabash Valley. It has been a pleasure to work closely with those founding members and subsequent Board members and so many other incredible people and community leaders to help this remarkable initiative develop and thrive. I will always treasure Art Spaces and value and appreciate the trust that has been placed in me. We have a remarkably strong and active Board and I have every confidence that Art Spaces will continue to flourish under their leadership and that of a new director.”
“I have also had the true pleasure of working with many outstanding artists who have offered new life and meaning to our public places. Artists are amazing problem-solvers and should be part of any collaborative team that is imagining and implementing big vision projects. The arts are often perceived as the icing on the cake, to be considered after everything else is accomplished, but, in my experience, artists are actually the cake makers. In my role as director, I have tried to foster that belief and advance the role of the arts and creativity.
“Looking forward, it will be exciting to see Art Spaces continue to evolve and I will have the added pleasure of helping to shepherd through some projects that are now underway. I’m thankful that I will have more time, also, to devote to my own artistic practice and to family members that are far away.”
For her work with Art Spaces, Kramer was honored with a 2021 Women in Business Award, a 2014 Founder’s Day Award, and a 2013 Women of Influence Award. While under her leadership, Art Spaces received the 2013 Vision Award from the Terre Haute Chamber of Commerce, a Merit Award from the Indiana Chapter of the American Society of Landscape Architects for Conceptual Design of Turn to the River in 2019, and others.