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Sharon Arts Center Introduces New Executive Director: An Artist, Entrepreneur, and Art/Community Visionary

The nonprofit organization Sharon Arts Center is pleased to announce the selection of Keri Wiederspahn as Executive Director, effective June 1, 2011! Wiederspahn will replace interim Director Bob Pettegrew who joined Sharon Arts in January 2010.

Keri Wiederspahn (Photo courtesy of Justin Schwartz)

Keri Wiederspahn (Photo courtesy of Justin Schwartz)

“I have known Keri for several years, and am fully aware of her extensive background and experience. She is accomplished as a leader, an artist, and a businesswoman and her knowledge of how to run a gallery, school, and retail store will serve Sharon Arts well,” Commented outgoing Director Bob Pettegrew. “Keri simply bubbles with creative ideas and plans for Sharon Arts Center’s future and I can’t imagine a better choice to take over the helm as I step down.”

For nearly twenty years, Keri Wiederspahn’s life and career have centered around art and community, from her BFA in Sculpture at Parsons School of Design in New York, to her life-long career in both for and non-profit art education and community enrichment, to her role as the newly appointed Executive Director of Sharon Arts Center. Wiederspahn, a resident of Nelson, NH,  is proud to call the Monadnock Region home and is very focused on the growth and development of the area as an arts destination.

“We are very excited to have Keri join the Sharon Arts family,” expressed Board Chair Carolyn Howard.  “Finding someone with a love of art and a strong business mind posed an exciting challenge. Keri brings so much to the table and we are thrilled to work with her to lead Sharon Arts into a creatively brilliant and sustainable future.”

Previously, Ms. Wiederspahn was founder, director, and teacher of Creative Hands Art Studio and Atelier Gallery in Madison, NJ, for fifteen years where she applied her dedication and commitment to artists of all ages and abilities through a dynamic visual arts program and professional gallery. This for-profit art venture involved the development of a successful school and gallery model which propelled the business into great success with expansion to three locations and a student body of nearly 2,000 annually. In 2008, as an initial founder of The Starving Artist, a Keene, NH, volunteer-run nonprofit, she worked closely with husband filmmaker Aaron Wiederspahn and musician Laina Barakat to create an artist collaborative group focused on connecting and serving artists and art aficionados through performance, lecture, workshop, and exhibits.

Wiederspahn, an artist in her own right, has received two recent NH State Arts Council Grants (2008 and 2010) to pursue study of Russian-Byzantine Iconography with Ksenia Pokrovsky of Boston, learning the traditional egg-tempera methods of mixing egg yolk with natural organic pigments. She resides in Nelson, NH, with her husband Aaron Wiederspahn, and her five children. Having summered in New Hampshire since her teen years, she developed a fondness for the Sharon Arts Center early on and recalls having her first professional exhibit of her artwork at the Center upon graduating from Parsons.

“I am honored and privileged to partner with the board and staff to steer Sharon Arts into its next phase of growth as a creative art community,” expressed Wiederspahn. “I am eager to begin the process of defining and amplifying a clearer voice for Sharon Arts through decisive leadership, inspiration, creative programming and innovation.”

“As an artist myself, I know of the beautiful community that develops from a well-nurtured love and commitment for the arts and artists in general,” explained Wiederspahn. “The sincere and driven collective voices of Sharon Arts employees, volunteers, students and benefactors will drive the organization into its next renewed phase of development—a wonderful mix of opportunity and challenge that intersects with and allows for bigger dreams to be born and fulfilled.

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About Sharon Arts

The mission of Sharon Arts Center, a non-profit organization, is to engage the community in the artistic process, to support and serve artists and craftspeople, and to foster the relationship between artists and the community through education, exhibitions, the promotion and sale of art and craft, as well as through special programs and events.

Sharon Arts Center offers a wide variety of art classes and programs in the school facility in Sharon, NH, a Fine Craft Gallery, a Juried Artist Member Gallery, and an Exhibition Gallery at Depot Square.

The Sharon Arts Fine Crafts Exhibition Gallery is accessed through Depot Square and 30 Grove St. in downtown Peterborough. The Craft Gallery is located in Depot Square in Downtown Peterborough. Store & Exhibition Gallery hours are: Monday – Saturday 10am to 6pm, Sunday 11 – 5 PM.

Sharon Arts is sponsored in part by: The New Hampshire State Council on the Arts, The National Endowment for the Arts through the American Recovery & Reinvestment Act, The Susan A. & Donald P. Babson Charitable Foundation, The Bean Foundation, The Max & Victoria Dreyfus Foundation, The Grimshaw-Gudewicz Charitable Foundation, The Putnam Foundation, The Kingsbury Foundation, & art lovers like you!

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