After more than 17 years as Art Spaces executive director, Mary Kramer will move into a new role on July 1 as the organization’s project consultant.
Art Spaces announced the change Thursday afternoon. The organization now begins its search for a new executive director to succeed Kramer this summer and join the staff along with the existing operations and programs coordinator, Ally Midgley.
Once a new director is in place, Kramer will transition to her new role as consultant, focusing her energies on the organization’s largest projects, including the award-winning multi-year project, Turn to the River, while also pursuing her own art.
“This has been an amazing creative journey,” Kramer said in a news release from Art Spaces. “It began when members of this community who had big ideas and big hearts decided to build a public sculpture collection that would positively impact Terre Haute and the Wabash Valley. It has been a pleasure to work closely with those founding members and subsequent board members and so many other incredible people and community leaders to help this remarkable initiative develop and thrive.
Dianne Frances D. Powell, chair of the Art Spaces board, noted the organization’s impact on the community under Kramer’s leadership.
“From the start, Art Spaces was the creation of visionaries who understood that public art and design of public places can activate the spaces that we all share and improve the quality of life of the people living and working in our community,” Powell said. “Mary is one of those visionaries, and we are grateful for her many years of steadfast, outstanding leadership of Art Spaces and for being the champion of public art in the Wabash Valley.
Art Spaces lauded Kramer for leadership “with integrity, dedication, skill, openness, and a collaborative spirit. Art Spaces has grown from a community initiative to a celebrated and award-winning non-profit arts organization that has established a collection of 21 unique public sculptures, with more on the way.”
The most recent, by Texas-based artists Brad and Diana Goldberg, is the central focus of Phase I of Turn to the River, Art Spaces’ multi-year project to reconnect Terre Haute’s downtown with the Wabash River through public art and design. Turn to the River has generated strong community partnerships and federal and state funds for implementation, advancing the arts as a key component of revitalization and livability.
Her role involved working with a variety of sculptors who crafted the outdoor pieces.
Said Kramer, “Looking forward, it will be exciting to see Art Spaces continue to evolve and I will have the added pleasure of helping to shepherd through some projects that are now underway,” she added. “I’m thankful that I will have more time, also, to devote to my own artistic practice and to family members that are far away.”
Kramer was honored with a 2021 Women in Business Award, a 2014 Founder’s Day Award, and a 2013 Women of Influence Award. While under her leadership, Art Spaces received the 2013 Vision Award from the Terre Haute Chamber of Commerce, a Merit Award from the Indiana Chapter of the American Society of Landscape Architects for Conceptual Design of Turn to the River in 2019, and others.