Sunday, July 8, 2012

Behind the Scenes at Shake Rag Alley

Megan O'Connell keeping the
Shake Rag office running

While brainstorming a topic for this blog post, we thought it would be nice to give our readers, guests, artists, and friends a little glimpse into some of the backstage workings of Shake Rag and introduce some of the amazing people who make it all happen.

2012 a year of transition:

As many of you may know, Karla Vogel recently stepped down from her position as managing director to explore a new career path. Karla started as an office assistant and quickly rose to Managing Director. Her bright smile and inviting personality made instructors, visitors, and students alike feel welcome.

Site Manager Rich Vogel retired after several years lugging heavy tables, pulling tons of jewelweed, and generally keeping our grounds tidy and our buildings in good repair. 

Karla and Rich will be greatly missed and their time and dedication to Shake Rag will not be forgotten.

Coleman, who started Alley Stage, also stepped down as Artistic Director at the end of 2011. Our deep gratitude goes out to Coleman for his years of service in a volunteer position to which he devoted incredible time, energy, and vision.

Honoring the founders of Shake Rag Alley:

Sandy Scott and Judy Sutcliffe at the picnic in their honor

Sandy Scott and Judy Sutcliffe, who single-handedly founded Shake Rag Alley and whose creativity, vision, and tireless hours of work have made Shake Rag what it is today, retired from the Board of Directors but have not in any way departed. Sandy is still organizing Woodlanders as she has for more than 10 years. Judy is still teaching cement and mosaic classes such as Mosaic Madness, and serving on the curriculum committee. 

A picnic was held in honor of Sandy and Judy on the Shake Rag Alley grounds on Sunday, July 1st. There is almost no way to properly recognize their contribution to Shake Rag Alley, but in a very moving tribute, many, many people got up and spoke to how Sandy and Judy had not only impacted Shake Rag, but their personal lives as well. Sandy and Judy will always be an inspiration to us all.

New faces and new energy:

So we have certainly had some mighty big shoes to fill, making the daily routine around here quite hectic in recent months! But we are finally starting to catch our breath and fall into a routine. We are very fortunate to have a terrific new crew filled with fresh energy and enthusiasm…and we’d like to introduce them to you.

We have a wonderful new groundskeeper, Jesse Meudt, who you can find somewhere around the grounds on any given day of the week. Jesse is sure to greet anyone with a smile and a helping hand.

Intern Joe Wand helps out with
making Fairy Houses
We also have three spectacular interns from UW-Platteville helping us out this summer. Joseph Wand, an art education major, is helping out Diane Sterba with the Youth Program. Megan O’Connell, a communication technologies major, is working in the office doing whatever is asked of her and working with our social media usage (be sure to "like" us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter!). Erin McDermott, a theatre major, is helping out with Alley Stage and the Mineral Point Opera House.

Alley Stage intern Erin McDermott
with Luke Tredinnick
Speaking of Alley Stage, things are going strong with an ambitious schedule of theater and musical productions put together by an enthusiastic committee led by Ainsley Anderson and Luke Tredinnick who is directing the upcoming production of Into the Woods with the Mineral Point High School.

Ainsley Anderson in last summer's
production of Poemsong

Thank you to our fantastic volunteers and staff:

And while we’re at it, we definitely need to give a shout out to all the dedicated volunteers who time and again willingly pitch in with everything from flyer distribution, to website management, to gardening, office reception, baking goodies for fundraisers, and a host of other indispensable tasks. Also to our continuing staff, Sarah Carpenter who keeps all our financial and student records straight, Di Sterba who puts together the most creative Youth Program ever, and housekeepers Pam Lindauer and Anna Gevelinger who make sure our lodgers have clean, comfortable rooms. Thanks to all - couldn't do it without you!

In spite of all the transition, we’re eagerly seizing new opportunities and moving forward with renewed energy. Stop by and see us any time…we’re always up to something new. Maybe you’ll even catch the Shake Rag bug and join us as a volunteer!

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