Art Center spotlights two outstanding volunteers

Apr 25, 2019

MARION — Nancy Ross and Marianne Gingras came to the tri-town and got involved with the Marion Art Center in different ways. On April 24, both were honored by the Art Center for outstanding volunteer contributions with a new Spotlight Award. 

Ross regularly volunteers by cleaning out the ArtCenter and manning the front desk. Gingras provides graphic design work for many of the center’s programs.

Ross moved to Marion from Buffalo, New York, to help her daughter set up Kate’s Simple Eats four and a half years ago. A year and a half into that endeavor, she suffered a debilitating stroke. Recovering, she found it difficult to speak or concentrate.

But the stroke didn’t dampen the former Realtor and grief counselor’s enthusiasm for volunteering. At the art center, she found a way to volunteer that also assisted with rehab. 

She initially volunteered as a prompter, sitting in the audience and feeding actors the lines they forgot during rehearsals.

“It made me have to concentrate, which I was having trouble doing, and made me feel like I was doing something,” Ross said. The people at the center “ saved me. They knew I had a stroke, and wasn’t all there. But working with them helped me to grab it back. I owe them so much.” 

Ross credits Kim Teves, executive director for the center when she started volunteering, for a lot of her recovery.  After her stroke, she hadn’t laughed for months. But, she said, Teves got her belly laughing again.

“Nancy was a key member of the search committee for our new executive director,” said Jennifer Wolfe Webb, ArtWeek chair, “Her can-do attitude and dedication to the MAC are inspiring, and we are more than lucky to have her as part of our MAC family.”

Ross, too is grateful. 

“I believe in giving back. But it’s been more than giving back in this case,” she said.

Gingras grew up in Mattapoisett, graduated from Old Rochester Regional High School, attended the Fashion Institute of Technology and later moved around the country.

Two years ago she returned to the area for what she thought was just a summer visit. She’s now a resident.

Gingras already had one new connection when she returned to the tri-town: Wolfe Webb, who she had met during a brief stint in the Great Lakes area.

Once she decided to stay, Gingras asked Wolfe Webb if she could support the MAC. Since then “it appears I have become their de facto design guru for a variety of programs and upcoming events,” Gingras said.

Wolfe Webb is impressed with Gingras’ speed and dedication. 

“Whether it’s a new brochure, a poster for ArtWeek, or a post card for an upcoming exhibit, Marianne’s work is exceptional, and she makes time to get it done quickly for us,” the chair said.