Marilynne Roland was a force at our organization, giving much of her time and passion for many years to make it a great success.
At the same time she was also pursuing her own art career.
Marilynne was born on April 10, 1922, in Jersey City, New Jersey. She passed away at age 94 on January 18,
2017 in New Smyrna Beach, Florida.
Marilynne is an Honorary Member, and was President 1978-1980 and again 1981-1982. We will dedicate a gallery and studio space at the Artists' Workshop to her memory and name during our gala/reception on Saturday, March 3 (5-8pm).
Following is an interview with Marilynne Roland in 2008. It was printed in a commemorative book for the 50th anniversary of the Artists Workshop, and her daughter Marylee Voegele graciously provided me with the information and photos.
Left: Marilynne in the 1970s.
Here is what Marilynne remembered of her AWI days in the 2008 interview:
"We met down at Riverfront Park, in a small community building, and the city let us hold classes there. The workshop was downtown across from our current location. This was around 1973. This was in the same building as the senior activities center.
I think I was drawn to the Artists' Workshop because artists are usually fun and wonderful people. You find people there who have always had an interest in art and therefore I'd say it was that mutual interest. I have had a love affair with the AWI over the years. It gave me my start and therefore I always felt that we owe the AWI for that by volunteering. It comes back to you. The more exposure you get by volunteering, the more it comes back to you.
Between 1973 and 1975, I had taken some classes sponsored by Daytona Beach Community College held at our little facility and had a growing interest in art after I retired from the newspaper business. I started simply as a member and a new artist. I always had an interest in art and drawing. I then volunteered to run the newsletter under President Vos' tenure when he needed volunteers. That led to my election to the board as a director, first as 2nd VP, then 1st VP and later President in 1977. I ran for and became President again in 1981 and thus served a second non-consecutive term.
In 1981, as President, I talked the City and the Chamber of Commerce into giving us gallery space on Canal Street, where it is currently located. At the time, they used that space as storage space and it was a mess. We agreed that they would give us half the space in exchange for our coming in and cleaning out and painting. We had by then acquired the studio space on the second floor above the Chamber of Commerce, but not the gallery. We worked very hard to get the approval of the City and the Chamber to do all this.
As President and 1st VP, I got our first outside judge. Around 1977 or 1978, we got Gary Libby, the curator at the Museum of Arts & Sciences, to come in and formally judge our annual members' show. That tradition has continued to this time.
When I was President at our installation dinner, I recall a particularly funny event. At this particular dinner, some male members and friends play-acted the roles of the Andrew Sisters, complete with wigs, dresses, etc. and they lip-synced the music. One of the men was 6'5" and another was about five feet tall. Their appearance was just so radically different and they were comical when made up as women.
Although I am losing my eyesight due to macular degeneration, I am in love with the Artists' Workshop. Thanks to AWI, I ultimately became an artist in the Arts on Douglas stable of artists. I must continue to paint to remain there and must restock my work every three months. I have received many awards and have more than ninety ribbons. I have the AWI to thank for this.
Another fond memory was at our April 2002 meeting at the Artists' Workshop, in honor of my 80th birthday, the members came up with a big birthday cake to celebrate. James Vandergriff, the Mayor, was there and read a Proclamation honoring me with Marilynne Roland Day. I was completely surprised and overwhelmed. As I said, you give a little and receive a huge return.
I also fondly recall being one of many artists applying for entry in "Modern Maturity" magazine artists show. I was one of 40 winners selected out of 10,000 entries. Another fond memory includes my daughter Marilee calling and advising that she received her signature membership in the Florida Watercolor Society. It was good to see my daughter and companion now become my artistic companion.
I also remember becoming a guest artist for Walt Disney [see poster designed by Marilynne at left]. I was given this opportunity and participated for more than eight years, thanks to the Artists' Workshop. It was wonderful and we were treated like movie stars.
I applaud members who listen to suggestions, break out and change. Now our board had new members with new ideas and our leadership gets better all the time. The more communication we have amongst ourselves, the stronger our art organization will become.
As for words of wisdom, when I was keynote speaker at the Florida Watercolor Society this past year, I said that 50% of success is showing up. My advice to the AWI members is to show up. When you are asked to volunteer, do it; show up for classes, if you are enrolled; and show up for board meetings if you are on the board."
Words of wisdom from a great artist and volunteer who is sorely missed. We should all heed these words and participate as much as we can. These words were true in 2008, and are even more so, now in 2018!
Thanks for all you did, Marilynne!
The AWI Blog is written by Ruth Squitieri, Publicity Chair, AWI. You may contact Ruth with comments, questions or suggestions at: firstname.lastname@example.org. Otherwise, feel free to comment to each individual blog post directly.