The gallery director for the Ottawa Community Arts Council announced Monday her plans to resign from the position by the end of the year.
Debra Dunlap, Ottawa, who has volunteered or worked with the council for about 10 years, said while she’s enjoyed her time working on behalf of Ottawa’s art community, it’s time to delve into a new adventure.
“There have been many memorable events and exhibits over the years that I have been fortunate to have a hand in [with the Ottawa Community Arts Council],” Dunlap wrote in an email. “Our community is certainly blessed to have an arts council that has been around for over 35 years providing the community with cultural activities, programs and support for artists of all fields.”
Stephanie Williamson, the council’s director of education, is set to succeed Dunlap. Williamson’s educational experience, Dunlap said, is what will help her excel as the new gallery director for the council.
“Stephanie is well qualified with a Bachelor’s of Science in art education and minor in art history,” Dunlap said of her successor. “She has 7 years teaching experience, including working with at-risk youth. Over the last two years Stephanie has done a phenomenal job with our [Ottawa Youth Artists Alliance club], increasing membership to about 40 youth.”
During her 10 years with the council, Dunlap said, she’s experienced many memorable events and programs, including working with Elizabeth “Grandma” Layton’s artwork, the “Southern California Collection” and the Inter-Tribal Native American Art exhibit.
Dunlap, who took her position as director of the council in 2010, also has had positions with the Ottawa Art Guild as a historian, vice president and president, she said.
Along with continuing her artwork, Dunlap said, she plans to spend more time with her business as an independent forensic document examiner.
As her duties wind down with the council, Dunlap said she’s seen Ottawa’s and Kansas’ art culture change through the years, and expressed her pleasure to have been a leader in the art community.
“The arts council has been through some rough years, losing a significant portion of federal funding, but with the help of a few core people committed to keep it going and private and corporate donations, it has survived,” Dunlap said. “However, it will take more community support and individual citizens’ involvement for [the council] to really thrive and progress. The opportunities are there to become part of [the Ottawa Community Arts Council] by joining as an arts council member, attending board meetings, volunteering as a gallery host to expand our operating hours or help with special events.”