Around the MAG


marilyn-merrigan-2-webMarilyn Merrigan, Gallery Council President

“Art and music are so important to people’s balance in life,” says Marilyn Merrigan, new president of the Gallery Council. And indeed her own life is a case in point. At MAG, she’s been a docent since 1988 and helped organize major fundraisers ranging from Just Jazz in the 1990s to last year’s “A Night in Paris, 1913.” But MAG is not Merrigan’s only “home.” She recently retired after 16 years as RPO manager of volunteers and special events. Read the whole story

2014-15 Gallery Council BoardAssisting Merrigan are the members of the 2014-15 Gallery Council Board. Pictured are: Front row: Mary Sue Jack (nominating chair/past president), Barbara O’Hare (communications chair), Pat Rahn (membership co-chair), Rose Swiskey (co-historian), Merrigan, Bonnie Seaburn (recording secretary), Peg McNamara (art tours co-chair), Carol Spagnola (hospitality co-chair). Second row: Joanna Grosodonia (membership co-chair), Lois Sumberg (administrative treasurer/finance chair), Heidi Friederich (program co-chair), Peg Rachfal (docent chair), Rody Krugh (2nd vice president/future planning chair), Nancy Curnutt (program co-chair), Alyson Grossman (hospitality co-chair).

Not pictured: Mary Clare Hamlin (1st vice president/project chair), Bev Pickering (co-treasurer, projects), Bonnie Voll (co-treasurer, projects), Nancy Heppard (corresponding secretary), Michelle Turner (art tours co-chair), Helena Spring (co-historian).

MAG Board president Mary KoegelMary M. Koegel, President,
MAG Board of Managers

The Memorial Art Gallery begins its second century not only with a new director, but also with a new president of its Board of Managers. But where Jonathan Binstock is new to Rochester as well as to MAG, Board president Mary M. Koegel is a familiar face with more than two decades of service. Read the whole story

pegPeg Rachfal, docent chair

Every year, MAG docents (a word derived from the Latin “to teach”) introduce thousands of schoolchildren and adults to the collection and exhibitions.

As a docent, Peg Rachfal knows firsthand the transformative power of art. She tells the story of a particularly prickly group of middle schoolers that she took on a tour of the collections. One child in particular did not seem engaged. So imagine Rachfal’s surprise and satisfaction when later the same day the same child came back to the Gallery to show her aunt what she had seen. “There is such joy in feeling you’ve helped a child make a connection,” she says.  Read the whole story

docent-committee-2014-web Helping Rachfal and her fellow docents stay abreat of what’s new at MAG are the members of the 2014–15 Docent Committee. Front row: Ellie Kozel (vice chair), Gail Reeves (travel), Rosemarie Burke (nominating). Second row: Carol Redden (hospitality), Peg Rachfal (chair). Third row: Sue Tkach (travel), Marguerite Quinn (treasurer). Not pictured: Natalie Ciccone (past chair), Sandy Koon (hospitality), Dorothy Petrie (secretary).

A “Win-Win” for the Gallery

susie-webOn January 1, 2014, Susan Daiss left her longtime position as director of education to accept a joint appointment between MAG and UR’s School of Medicine and Dentistry. As a senior associate at the medical school, Daiss’s academic responsibilities will include teaching, scholarship and administrative oversight of the visual arts courses in a new master’s program in medical humanities. At the Gallery, she will administer the program, along with other community health and wellness initiatives. Among them: Meet Me at the MAG, an ongoing collaboration with the Alzheimer’s Association. “This is not a goodbye, but a new chapter for both Susie and the Gallery—a  perfect “win-win” on all fronts,” says director Grant Holcomb. In Daiss’s previous position as director of education, welcome another familiar face—Marlene Hamann-Whitmore, formerly curator of education for interpretation.

High Honors for Retired Curator

margie-award2Marjorie B. Searl, who retired December 31, 2013 as the Gallery’s chief curator, has been honored by the University of Rochester with one of the year’s Witmer Awards for Distinguished Service. The awards, presented on April 21, recognize “outstanding and sustained contributions to the University.” Last year when he announced her retirement, director Grant Holcomb called Searl “one of the Gallery’s guiding lights for more than 25 years” and cited her recent role as a driving force behind Centennial Sculpture Park. Fittingly, she has also been recognized by longtime MAG friends Thomas and Marianne Kroon, who established the Marjorie B. Searl Endowment to support the acquisition and conservation of artworks in the park, as well as outdoor community programming. Curator of American art Jessica Marten has been named acting chief curator. Above: Holcomb and Searl at the awards ceremony.


The Memorial Art Gallery was happy to be a part of Shawn Dunwoody’s #HappyRochester video. Watch it here – we think you’ll get happy, too.

Related Articles

People Archives