Statement verbatim, as issued Wednesday by Artlink:
Fort Wayne, IN, JULY 16, 2014 - Artlink, Inc. announced the resignation of Deb Washler, Artlink Executive Director, effective July 31, 2014. Washler will be accepting the position of Program Officer for the Lincoln Financial Foundation. Washler has been Executive Director of Artlink since 2005 following the retirement of Betty Fishman. A search for a new Executive Director will take place immediately.
During her 9-year tenure, Washler oversaw Artlink’s move to the new Auer Center for Arts and Culture on Main Street. The move increased the gallery size by 50% and allowed Artlink to hang three exhibitions simultaneously. The move to Fort Wayne’s Cultural Center also helps account for a 65% increase in gallery attendance since 2005. With the goal of growing the next generation of Artlink members, Washler also oversaw the introduction of innovative children’s art classes (e.g., home schooling programs, summer/winter art camps, Legos-Creative Construction, printmaking and narrative illustration offered in two Fort Wayne middle schools), and weekend programs for artist members, including medium-specific workshops, an artist Critique program, and Costume Figure Drawing sessions. Under Washler’s guidance, Artlink also became the first entity in Indiana to host Co-Starters, a small business start-up program for entrepreneurs run through the Fort Wayne Arts incubator.
“I’m proud of what we’ve accomplished at Artlink during my time at the helm,” said Washler. “I’ve loved being around art and artists every day and working with Artlink staff and volunteers. But I’m looking forward to a new challenge at Lincoln. I hope the new Artlink director continues to offer exciting programming and exhibitions for our deserving membership. I’ll be around at Artlink openings to watch the progress and visit with old friends.”
Quoting Nancy Rogers, senior vice president of Corporate Responsibility and president of the Lincoln Financial Foundation, Lincoln Financial’s philanthropic arm, from their news release: “We are delighted that Deb has joined our Foundation to oversee our community partnerships in Fort Wayne. Lincoln Financial has a long and storied history in Fort Wayne, and Deb’s leadership in the nonprofit sector and experience in guiding long-term strategic direction will enable us to continue to support the programs in the community.”