Warstler new head of Arts Center

ESCANABA – A familiar face at the William Bonifas Fine Arts Center has taken on a new role within the center.

As of Jan. 7, Pasqua Warstler, who formerly served as the Bonifas gallery and education director, has been named the gallery and executive director.

According to Warstler, the executive director’s main duties include working with fundraising, membership, sponsors and marketing strategies.

“These are all things that I have done over the years, but it’s the way we’re going to do them that’s going to be different,” she said.

One of the biggest changes at the center moving forward is that Warstler will work with a new business manager who has deep roots and experience with financial reporting and budgeting.

She believes this new addition will provide the center with a fuller set of skills.

“I think the board (of trustees) has done a really good job in identifying the needs of the arts center and the best way to go about it,” she said. “They’ve worked really hard in doing some restructuring in that sense.”

The center’s primary goal now is its focus on building membership.

“We’ve reinstated the membership campaign and we’re building membership locally,” Warstler said. “We’re trying to get families involved, so we have some new programs to do that and let them know that everybody’s membership counts – from the individual and family all the way to corporate.”

The center will also extend an invitation to area businesses for corporate membership and sponsorship. Warstler noted one of the effective means of securing members and getting the community involved is making the center about them.

“I think the more we can do to accentuate the community…and bring in people to say, ‘help us raise the awareness on this,’ or ‘help us celebrate this,’ then I think we can bring in the traffic, the people, and the membership,” she added.

Warstler has been with the Bonifas Arts Center for approximately 20 years and has an extensive background in fine arts having graduated with a bachelor of fine arts with an emphasis in education from Aquinas College in Grand Rapids.

She continued on with education and library research in many capacities such as working with arts programs in schools as an administrator, teacher and volunteer, as well as working in interdisciplinary education and art.

She has also worked with the arts as a vehicle for therapy and expression, either through her work at the arts center or in various arts councils and schools.

“I’ve also worked in state commissions and grant review panels and that has been very helpful in understanding, financially, the bigger picture with the state and opening the door to learning more about what’s going on in other communities,” she said.

Warstler also calls herself an experimental artist who enjoys all kinds of art – whether it be drawing, painting, or working with clay and metal – in her spare time.

The one aspect of the arts center Warstler enjoys most is its interaction with the multi-faceted community, noting the uniqueness of Escanaba, its history, and its people.

The arts center board and staff have been dedicated and are working hard together, she said, which the public can see when they visit the center.

“We have gallery exhibits opening and we remind people that because of the patronage from the city, there’s no admission fee so people can come in and stop by,” she said, urging people to come see the positive things happening at the arts center.

“I have such a good time and there are so many fascinating people – performers, musicians, artists, service organizations, community workers – that come through here, so there’s always something vital and significant that’s going on,” said Warstler. “It’s a great place to work and it’s a great place to visit.”