A community asset moves on
New Visions Gallery Director Betsy Tanenbaum discusses her time in Marshfield and her next opportunity
By Adam Hocking
MARSHFIELD — Betsy Tanenbaum has been with New Visions Gallery for the past five years and has been motivated by her passion for the arts throughout her life. She will soon take that passion into the educational ranks as an instructor at the University of Oregon, where she previously completed her master’s degree in arts administration.
In her new role, Tanenbaum will teach in the arts administration program as well as advise students. She went into her current field because of the impact a professor had on her life in her first arts administration class.
“My first class I was like, ‘Oh my gosh, this is it.’ This connected the dots for me on what I want to do, and so I’m hoping that I can do that for someone else,” Tanenbaum said. In her new position, one of Tanenbaum’s courses will focus on teaching students to handle a role very similar to what she has done at New Visions.
Tanenbaum met her husband Tyler in Oregon and is excited to be moving back to the area but said leaving Marshfield and New Visions would be a challenge. Her last day with the gallery will be May 27. News Visions, which was founded by volunteers in 1975, has a tremendous level of community support Tanenbaum said, and that is one of the main things she will miss about the position.
“There’s a lot of people in the community who have a very strong sense of pride about New Visions, and I’ve been grateful to be a part of that, and I’m really going to miss it and the people involved too,” Tanenbaum said. She added that the partnership with Marshfield Clinic has been something she has cherished.
“It is going to be very difficult to leave. I love New Visions. I love the mission of the organization, the work that is done in the clinic. It’s a really unique partnership that occurs here,” Tanenbaum said. She added that Marshfield Clinic provides the space for the gallery at no charge, which is a huge benefit for a nonprofit as the gallery is.
“Marshfield Clinic offering that allows us the opportunity to spend much more on programming than if we were paying a rent somewhere,” Tanenbaum said. New Visions is funded through its main annual fundraiser, Fun d’ Arts; corporate partners who contribute to the gallery; a percentage of the works sold at the gallery; earned income opportunities; and community donations.
Tanenbaum said the gallery’s location inside Marshfield Clinic is a benefit beyond the artistic enjoyment it brings to the community.
“The connection to arts and healing is something that’s been studied more and more often,” Tanenbaum said, adding that art can have a power to help people respond better to their medical treatments. “Really data-driven (research is) coming out about it.”
On April 26 New Visions will open an exhibit featuring the work of Marshfield Clinic Health System employees.
One of the things Tanenbaum is most proud of when she reflects on her time at New Visions is the flash galleries program, which showcases artwork in vacant storefronts on Central Avenue in Marshfield. Tanenbaum said the flash galleries help “extend our mission beyond the four walls of the gallery.”
Her day-to-day work at New Visions includes writing press releases, hanging artwork, designing marketing materials, exhibit planning, accounting, and much more. Tanenbaum’s replacement has not yet been selected. The application process is currently open, and interviews will begin in early May.
Brian Sauer, the founder and president of the Vox Concert Series, said Tanenbaum would be missed in the local art scene.
“Betsy brought a refreshing perspective to the New Visions Gallery and the Marshfield community through the various projects she cultivated. Her creative energy will be missed by the arts community of Marshfield,” he said.
Tanenbaum said she is looking forward to taking their 18-month-old son Eugene—who is named after the city of Eugene, Oregon, where Betsy and Tyler met and will now be moving back to—to the Oregon coast and letting him explore a new territory. Between her contributions to New Visions and Tyler’s work as a brewmaster at Blue Heron Brew Pub, it is certain that the Marshfield community will miss the Tanenbaums.
New Visions Gallery is located inside the main lobby of the Marshfield Clinic, 1000 N. Oak Ave. For more information about the gallery, upcoming events, and programs, visit newvisionsgallery.org.