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Art Guild President Wears Several Hats

8/15/02

As a painter, mother and wife, becoming the president of the Springfield Art Guild wasn't on Marni Maree's agenda until the previous president's term was up and the suggestion came up among Guild members. Now she's chairing meetings, coordinating speakers and doing the newsletter, and her term doesn't officially start until September.

"At the board meeting they said, 'Marni, why don't you be president?' It was very encouraging."

That was back in June, and although she's never held the office of president in any other organization, her list of duties evolves as the summer comes to an end.

"I thought it started in September, but I had to write a grant in July. Chris Lipsey [Guild member], he helped me a lot. I like doing behind-the-scenes things," she said.

The previous president was Jeanie Treschuk, and her current vice presidents are Skeeter Scheid and Sy Wengrovitz. There are currently 110 to 125 people in the Guild.

THE SPRINGFIELD ART GUILD is one part of the cultural scene in Springfield that's searching for a center to call home. Possible sites include the old Circuit City building on Old Keene Mill and the previous Total Beverage store in central Springfield, but no concrete steps have been taken. There's no rush, and it will continue to be a team effort. Maree is monitoring the developments.

"It's for all cultural arts, dance, theater. The end of this year I'll know a lot more. We know the Springfield Art Guild needs to be a big part of it," she said.

But that's a long-term goal for the group. Now Maree is concentrating on the Guild's participation in the mobile museum, which is a traveling art show that's occupied the lobby at the Franconia Government Center, Richard Byrd Library, the Kingstowne Library, Fresh Fields, the Fairfax Government Center, Borders Books, Greenspring Gardens Park and the Springfield Days Festival in the past.

Greenspring Gardens employee Becky Super remembers Maree's work. She has had shows with the Art Guild and the Potomac Valley Watercolorists.

"Marni has been here often. She's very popular. She paints a lot of architectural details at the park," Super said.

AROUND THE WALLS of her house, Maree has portraits of her children, previous houses, flowers and one that she showed in the Springfield Days Festival, "Bicycle Pedals."

"I'll never retire from painting," she said.

Recently she's been visiting a friend from Peace Lutheran Church and painting with him, giving him lessons but getting lessons, as well. He and his wife have a lasting marriage.

"I learn a lot about love watching those two. We talk and paint," she said.

"It's therapy, I can see it in him," she said.

Her daughter Patrice, 15, looked at the benefits of the president’s position. She dabbles in writing at West Springfield High School, where she is starting her sophomore year in September.

"It gets her name out," Patrice said.

"My oldest one [17-year-old son, Paul] is going into computer graphics," Maree said.

Sean, 13, plays the bassoon at Washington Irving Intermediate School.

Maree earned a bachelor of fine arts degree from Moore College in Philadelphia.

"I thought I was going to be more of a commercial artist. I always did work at home," she said.

Her husband, Ron, is supportive of her painting career and Guild position.

Maree also is part of The Loft Gallery in Occoquan, where she displays her paintings and does some commission paintings. The Loft has a Web site that has helped her sell paintings. Setting up a Springfield Art Guild Web site is a vision of Maree's, as well.

"It's been great. We've been talking about that" with the Guild, too, she said.