Meet the New Executive Director of the Arts of Great Falls

Meet the New Executive Director of the Arts of Great Falls

Strong arts community benefits businesses.

Meralee Fredenburgh, new executive director of the Arts of Great Falls, stops by its School of Arts.

Meralee Fredenburgh, new executive director of the Arts of Great Falls, stops by its School of Arts.

The Arts of Great Falls, a community-supported nonprofit organization, welcomed its new executive director, Meralee Fredenburgh, on July 1. Fredenburgh is an eight-year resident of Great Falls and brings to the role her professional experience as founder of Radiant Marketing, a company that "shines the spotlight on small businesses and nonprofits through marketing services designed to maximize impact."

Fredenburgh also brings her strong background in grass-roots service leadership and fundraising, as evidenced by her work with the Women's Club of Great Falls, Celebrate Great Falls Foundation, and, most recently, the Great Falls Grange Foundation. According to Fredenburgh, "What is the magic recipe to pull people together and encourage them to compromise for the greater good … so that you can move forward?"

Fredenburgh's short-term goals as executive director of the Arts of Great Falls begin with improving awareness of the nonprofit organization. She wants to boost the awareness of all the arts groups in Great Falls.

"Collectively, in their strength, we unite together," Fredenburgh said. "There is data behind this. When you have a strong arts community, it attracts people from all over the area. I think that benefits businesses and real estate," Fredenburgh said. She made an analogy to good schools drawing people to an area. So too, a strong arts community draws people to an area.

Fredenburgh understands that the art groups have worked hard to form their identities. She is collaborating with many groups in Great Falls. 

"If we come up with ways to describe and distinguish each of these unique groups, but also collectively promote how many artists and how much art (produced) are part of the Great Falls community, I think that goes a long way. … Pull people together and build strength in numbers," she said.

Fredenburgh's second short-term effort is to bring awareness of the arts in Great Falls through activities like the recent booth at the 4th of July Celebration. Finally, awareness can be expanded through the "double-edged sword" of having a social media presence. "Incredibly important, not just for individuals and celebrities, but also for community organizations," Fredenburgh said. It combines communication vehicles to improve awareness and draw new people to the studios, online gallery exhibits, and website.

Fredenburgh's long-term goal is to increase collaboration with community partners, businesses, and other organizations, such as the Arts of Great Falls did recently with the Great Falls Garden Club for its tour on June 4.

"The collaboration between the Arts of Great Falls and the Great Falls Garden Club for our garden club's 80th anniversary Garden Tour was a huge success," said Amy Kiser. "The Arts of Great Falls connected its plein air artist community with our garden club to offer artists an opportunity to paint at various Garden Tour venues." Tour attendees, venue owners, and artists all enjoyed the experience, and our club is so grateful. We are looking forward to future opportunities to work together to connect our Great Falls community further."

The Arts of Great Falls Foundation offers classes for adults, teens, and children (8+) of all skill levels; rents shared studio space to local artists; and hosts community art events in Great Falls, Virginia.

Visit email Executive Director Meralee Fredenburgh at