Marilyn Blackmore retires as Executive Director of Art in the Wilds
Art in the Wilds Executive Director Marilyn Blackmore is stepping down after 14 years as director of Kane’s popular summer art show.
Finalizing a two year leadership succession plan, well-known Kane artist Merry Ryding was named by the AIW Board of Directors as the new Executive Director.
While Blackmore is retiring as Executive Director, she will remain active as vice-president of the Board of Directors. Other officers elected this week at the Board’s annual meeting were Julie Cleland as President, Suzy Meyer-Page as Secretary, and Audrey McLaughlin as Treasurer.
Blackmore was the founding director of Art in the Wilds along with her late husband, David. She shepherded the growth of the show from a small local art fair with 23 artists in 2007 to a major, nationally recognized show. Limited to 40 selective artists, it earned a 2018 ranking by Sunshine Artists magazine as one of the “11 Must Attend Outdoor Shows” in the United States.
The increasingly popular event brings thousands of people to Kane in June each year during Alumni Weekend. Expanding sponsorships and advertising has led to attracting art buyers from throughout the tri-state region.
The mission of Art in the Wilds is to provide a platform for artists to display and sell their work, expand the role of the arts in our rural community, and promote local economic development.
Board President Julie Cleland said “As a Board and as a community, we are ever grateful for her leadership, her relentless pursuit of best practice, and her gracious efforts to extend the hospitality of the Kane community to the artists and patrons.”
Blackmore passes the leadership torch to Merry Ryding who has worked alongside Blackmore during the transition. Ryding brings an abundance of skills to her new responsibilities.
As the Director of Fraley Street’s ArtWorks on the Summit, she is adept at both making and marketing art.
Her own encaustic art has been recognized by the International Encaustic Artists organization and is featured in regional galleries as well as in The Encaustic Art Institute in Santa Fe, NM. She is an adjunct instructor in the art department at the University of Pittsburgh at Bradford.
Learn more about Art in the Wilds here.