After 23 years leading the Monongalia Arts Center, Executive Director Ro Brooks is retiring this week.
Monongalia Arts Center is a nonprofit arts center serving Monongalia County and surrounding areas from its Neoclassical architectural structure at 107 High St. in Morgantown. MAC provides a community outlet for visual, performing and literary arts.
On any given day, Brooks can be found calling local artists, coordinating workshops, planning gallery exhibits and theater shows, and working on other inclusive arts projects with her team.
During Brooks’ tenure, she focused on broadening the styles of art available at MAC and making arts more accessible to the community.
“I’m a firm believer that everyone, no matter where they’re from, what their socioeconomic background is, that they’re entitled to being exposed to the arts and learning to be creative and love art for their own personal fulfillment,” Brooks said. “I think it’s an important thing for humanity.”
Other MAC leaders are pleased with Brooks’ tenure.
“Ro launched community-oriented programs that exposed so many to the arts and new artists. The annual school art showcase brought thousands of kids and their families into the historic MAC building to share in the children’s creations and expressions,” said Patrick Kirby, president of the Monongalia Arts Center Board of Directors. “She will be missed, but her impact will live on through all those she has interacted with.”
From 5-7 p.m. Friday, the arts center will unveil its next First Friday gallery opening, “Voices from a Haunted Mind,” by mixed-media sculpture artist Spencer Richmond. The community is also invited to stop by and watch a live mural painting in front of the MAC by artists Craig and Cyd DeBastiani during the next downtown Arts Walk Oct. 9. Both exhibits will be on display at the MAC throughout the month.
MAC will host an all-levels Watercolor Weekend course on Oct. 15-16 taught by artist Mariah Majakey. Interested members of the community can call 304-292-3325 or email email@example.com to register.
“There are a good number of people who have said to me that had it not been for the MAC when they were junior high, high school age, that they probably would have gone down the wrong path,” Brooks said. “My degree is psychology and sociology, so that very much warms my heart that there was something like the MAC here, that was open to them and affordable, that they could change their direction for the better.”
MAC offers arts classes, spotlights rotating exhibits at the Benedum Gallery, Davis Gallery, Tanner Theatre, and a gift shop featuring gifts and artwork by local artists. As part of its mission, Monongalia Arts Center is committed to providing affordable access to the visual, performing, and literary arts though immersion, education, and community outreach.
For more information or to make a gift to support the arts in Monongalia County, visit @MonArtsCenter on Instagram and Facebook.