Lakeside Chautauqua hires new Rhein Center Director

MaryAnn Kelmer was recently appointed as Lakeside Chautauqua’s new C. Kirk Rhein Jr. Center for the Living Arts Director. The Rhein Center is an inspiring space for fine arts and crafts classes during Lakeside Chautauqua’s summer season.

Kelmer served as the position’s Administrative Assistant for two years under Richard and Shirley Witteborg. This promotion marks Kelmer’s 21st year visiting the Chautauqua community. Kelmer attended Sinclair Community College in Dayton, where she studied Medical Records Administration. After receiving her degree, she worked at Piqua Memorial Hospital for 15 years.

Before working at Lakeside Chautauqua, Kelmer spent time traveling with her business, Fabric Rescue. She started the organization 20 years ago, teaching people how to up-cycle used fabric for quilt making.

Her passion for quilting was sparked after working with her daughter to donate quilts to a Miami Valley Hospital program that assisted young mothers. She instructed a Fabric Rescue class at the Rhein Center that revealed her passion and skill for lecturing, teaching and quilt design. A true art enthusiast, Kelmer soon took on the Administrative Assistant position for the Rhein Center’s Co-Directors.

During her time as the Administrative Assistant, Kelmer became a clear asset to the Lakeside Chautauqua team. She was commissioned to make a six-banner mural to hang in Hoover Auditorium for Sunday worship services during the summer. Involved with the day-to-day operations of the art center, Kelmer gained valuable insight about the position. As the new Director, she plans to “maintain the Rhein Center’s reputation as a happy place.”

“It’s my job to make sure there are artistic experiences offered, which help people of all ages explore and celebrate their creative side,” Kelmer said. “My responsibility is to do everything that I can to foster that environment.”

Kelmer plans to bring some exciting changes to the art center, including an online registration system. This year, all class registration and payment can be done online or from a mobile device. She also plans to add new classes to accommodate additional students with diverse interests.

Kelmer first came to Lakeside Chautauqua with her family in 1993. She, her husband and their daughter fell in love with the atmosphere and soon went from cottage renters to homeowners. In addition to taking on her new position as the Rhein Center Director, Kelmer will be spending the summer turning her Lakeside cottage into a year round home where she and her husband plan to retire.

The Rhein Center continues to grow as Lakeside Chautauqua looks forward to the upcoming Chautauqua season.

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