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Sunday, May 1, 2016

New director hopes to bring Witter Gallery alive for youth

Tuesday, August 29, 2006

Ron Stevenson has loved art all his life. In fact, his mother said early on that she thought he would someday grow up to be an art gallery director.

Mother know best!

Stevenson assumed duties as the director at the Witter Art Gallery on Tuesday.

He has many colorful ideas for all ages to "paint

an interest in the arts.

Stevenson grew up in the central Iowa community of Toledo. His high school art teacher influenced him to a degree to pursue a career in art. He earned his degree at Buena Vista College in art with a mass communications minor.

"This job is suited for me," he said, planning to put both skills to work in the new job. For the past several years, he has worked at Silk Screen Ink. He was encouraged many times by his college professor and friend Dennis Dykema to continue sharing his love for art with his community.

Stevenson said he loves working with young people - he has a decade of experience with the Storm Lake Cub Scouts, eight as a Cub Master. He hopes to incorporate a youth program for infants to middle school at the gallery, and share the many facets of art.

"The gallery is here for them.

"The younger they are when they start coming in here, the better equipped they will be for the future. The gallery is a good introduction for them."

He has a huge list of ideas including creating a cave-like atmosphere for the youth to enter and make cave drawings, while teaching them art history. Another idea is taking hikes, collecting items and making treasure boxes with all the found items.

Stevenson would like to also share with youth "how to" classes, bringing in experts from the community. One idea is to actually give the youth cameras to capture scenes at sporting events and then displaying the work for people to see.

Stevenson would also like to see the gallery host a chess club for those interested in the strategic game.

Getting the adults involved in the gallery and with art is a more difficult task, but Stevenson has plenty of ideas for them as well. How-tos for them, programs with speakers and even allowing them the chance to share their artistic skills with youth, bringing the two groups together, are on Stevenson's idea list.

The Tea Time (held the second Tuesday of the month from 2-4 p.m.) is expected to continue and become a pleasant and social event for all who attend.

"It will be a lot of work and I'll learn as I go," he said, adding he is looking forward to the new position.

"There's a good board and their years of experience will be helpful to me."

The enthusiastic Stevenson will also be in charge of helping line up exhibitors - though the 2007 season was mapped out by past director John Roberts before he left the post for a new adventure in art auctions aboard cruise line ships.

Stevenson and his wife Amanda have two sons - Evan, 13, and Jacob, 9.

Hours at the gallery are 1-5 p.m. Tuesday through Friday and Saturdays 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.

Watch the Pilot Tribune for upcoming events at the Witter.

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