Lakeside Chautauqua Hires New Rhein Center Director

Posted on January 24, 2014

MaryAnn Kelmer is thrilled to celebrate her 21st year at Lakeside Chautauqua as the new C. Kirk Rhein, Jr., Center for the Living Arts Director. She has been serving as the position’s Administrative Assistant for the past two seasons under Richard and Shirley Witteborg.

Kelmer first came to Lakeside Chautauqua with her family in 1993. She, her husband and daughter fell in love with the atmosphere and soon went from cottage renters to homeowners.

“It didn’t take long to know that we’d found ‘the place’ to return to every year,” Kelmer said. “I love the feeling of home we’ve come to know: our cottage, our neighbors, our friends and relatives who visit us every summer.”

Before coming to Lakeside Chautauqua, Kelmer spent time traveling with her business, Fabric Rescue, which teaches people how to up-cycle used fabric for quilt making.

Passionate about lecturing, teaching and quilt design, she instructed a Fabric Rescue class at the Rhein Center. The class resulted in Kelmer taking on the Administrative Assistant position for the Rhein Center’s Co-Directors.

During her time as the Administrative Assistant, she became a clear asset to the Lakeside Chautauqua team. 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 explained. “My responsibility is to do everything I can to foster that environment.”

Kelmer plans to bring some exciting changes to the art center this spring, including an online registration system.

“For the first time ever, registering and paying for classes can be done remotely via the Internet or a mobile device,” said Kelmer.

She will balance this system with the challenge of adding new classes to accommodate more students with diverse interests.

Additionally, she will be spending the summer turning her Lakeside cottage into a year round home where she and her husband plan to retire.

The C. Kirk Rhein, Jr., Center for the Living Arts continues to grow as we look forward to the upcoming Chautauqua season. The Rhein Center will be enriching students with exciting classes this year and the years to come.