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Posted: 05/08/13

NEW DIRECTOR. Above, Tracey Ladd has been named the new gallery director for the Starkweather Arts Center. She said she hopes to use her background and experience to boost the community's involvement with the center.

(Observer photo by Chris Gray)

New SAC director seeks
community involvement

Observer Staff Writer
      The Starkweather Arts Center's new director is looking to emphasize the center's mission and its role in the community.
       Tracey Ladd has been named the new director for the Starkweather Arts Center. She replaces Kristin Barr, who now serves as an exhibit committee member for the center.
       Ladd, a Delphos, Ohio native, grew up in Toledo and was a self-proclaimed "transitional Yooper" from visiting family property in the Upper Peninsula before moving to the local area five years ago. She said she knew about Romeo from going to its orchards and the Peach Festival.
       "I would see the Starkweather Arts Center downtown when I was shopping down here," she said. "I grew up in a small town, a small farming community, so I really like these areas."
       Ladd's own artwork features the use of multiple mediums, such as glass, metal, painting and silver smithing. She said she has been involved with art since age 4.
       Ladd has a bachelor's degree in painting and drawing from Siena Heights University and a master's degree in fine arts from Bowling Green State University. She taught art at several universities as adjunct facility and was a full-time master instructor and coordinator at the Toledo Museum of Art.
       "I'm looking forward to bringing the experience I have to the art center and really taking the art center to the next level and really making it community driven," she said. "I think its mission is very positive, so I'm hoping that I can add to that and bring a new perspective."
       Ladd said one of the main areas to focus on is increasing community involvement, including sponsorships, memberships, donations and volunteerism.
       She added the art center has a rich history with Helen Starkweather and her drive as an art teacher to promote the arts, so she hopes to bring that theme out more.
       "I'm really focusing on our mission as well as Helen Starkweather's legacy as a teacher," she said.
       She said she is still developing long-term projected goals for the center, but looks forward to working with the Board of Directors and volunteers to bring art-related outreach programming to the area.
       "Art centers are a critical component of every group community, just like your sports teams and your libraries and your parks," she said. "I think the arts are one of the most integral components in a community."
       A launch party will be held May 17 from 7-10 p.m. to kick off the center's May attractions like the Teeny Tiny Show, an exhibition featuring small works of art from May 17 to June 22. A 175th anniversary artist invitational exhibition and a display of Helen Starkweather's personal artifacts will be featured May 17 and 18.
       The center's best Open MIC night performers will take the stage May 17, while the monthly Open MIC night is set for May 24.
       The Friends of the Romeo District Library is teaming up with the art center for a joint fundraiser on July 13. The library group will hold a Garden Walk while the center will have a Moonflowers afterglow.
       The Starkweather Arts Center is open Thursdays and Fridays from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. and Saturdays from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., and can be reached at (586) 752-5700 or

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