Center director wants to help new artists Extended gallery is one project EAST COLUMBIA

September 28, 1993|By Adam Sachs | Adam Sachs,Staff Writer

Marcia Scheeter, the new director of the Columbia Association Art Center, says she wants the facility to be a springboard for "emerging artists" to gain exposure and experience.

One of Ms. Scheeter's first projects is to establish an extended gallery so developing artists in the region can display their work, in conjunction with the openings of exhibits featuring established artists in the center's main gallery.

"A lot of artists looking for shows sometimes don't have the experience," says Ms. Scheeter, recalling the difficulty she had finding venues for her ceramics work early in her career. "I know there are a lot of people out there who wouldn't mind getting their feet wet in a gallery setting."

Ms. Scheeter, 46, a resident of Sykesville in western Howard County, has taken over the reins at the same Long Reach village facility where she earned her master's degree in fine arts and later taught classes and led workshops.

"I have a long-standing relationship with this center and know what it offers the community," says Ms. Scheeter, who worked toward her graduate degree in ceramics at the center in the early 1980s when it was affiliated with Antioch University of Ohio and later with the Columbia Visual Arts College.

The director position represents a career change for Ms. Scheeter, who has 21 years' teaching experience in the arts, mostly in Washington-area private schools.

She says she jumped at the chance when the nonprofit Columbia Association began looking for a director to replace Penney Hubbard, who resigned in June.

"I love meeting people and I love working with artists and gallery work," she says. "That was probably one of the major thrusts to pursue this as an alternative career -- the opportunity to work with another group of the public, the creative end of things. I consider myself an artist. This is the way to deal with it face on."

The association, which operates Columbia's public recreational facilities, was pleased to hire someone familiar with the center and with experience in education, says Maggie Brown, the association's director of community services.

"We are very fortunate to have Ms. Scheeter," she says. "Her background in working with adult and student groups in art-related capacities and her experience in developing art curriculum will be particularly valuable in determining future offerings at the art center."

The art center offers a variety of classes and workshops, in addition to gallery exhibits.

The center has separate studios for graphics, photography and ceramics and one for woodworking, jewelry making, sculpture and stained glass.

The current gallery exhibit is Ms. Scheeter's and Nancy McIntosh's "raku fired" pottery -- a technique in which ceramics are fired quickly in akiln, then sent through a reduction and cooling process to develop color and texture.

Ms. Scheeter has been an instructor at Howard Community College for seven years and at the art center for four years.

She graduated from Webster University in St. Louis with a degree in art and art education.

She began her master's degree at Southern Illinois University, then moved to the Baltimore area in 1977 with her husband, John, a manager at CSX Transportation.

She earned her master's degree from the Columbia Visual Arts College, a local private cultural institution that is now defunct.

The association opened the art center in 1974, then leased the facility to several educational and cultural institutions for about a decade before reopening it under its own auspices in 1987.

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