Dolores Strebel, who started 16 years ago at the Garrison Art Center as an administrative assistant, is retiring this month as its associate director.
How did you hear about the job?
From a family member. Although my background was in psychology, I knew [then-director] Libby Turnock, and the job seemed like the perfect opportunity to meet artists, teachers, students and community members. I had taken some time off from working because of family obligations, so it was a great “beginning-again” job. My first day is still crystal clear to me: I started on a Monday, so the life-drawing class was going on.
How has the technology changed since 2005?
We had a basic database that we’re still using, but, of course, we weren’t using Instagram or Facebook. The impact of social media has been tremendous. We’ve been able to do artist talks through Instagram live, which reach a much larger audience, and get the word out so easily. It’s allowed artists to partner with us in sending out information, inviting their constituents. During the pandemic, we were able to do so many things virtually, such as Art in a Box, which gave kids a way to create at home. We’ve been inventive in keeping the momentum going.
What’s it like spending your working days on Garrison’s Landing?
It’s wonderful. Because our office is on the train side and we get so busy, sometimes we have to remind ourselves to get outside and look at the scenery. Every season brings something to marvel at.
What are you going to miss?
I love the teamwork, pulling everything together, making events. The people I’ve worked with closely, we all wear many adaptable hats. Things change but we just make it happen. Even when it looks like it can’t happen, we know that it can happen. My responsibility was to put all the puzzle pieces together. I’ll miss interacting with the families, the kids who have grown up here, and all the community members I’ve come to know. I’ll miss the day-to-day energy, how we go from a gallery show to an event to a program in the space of a week. The Riverside Crafts Fair [on Aug. 21 and 22] is the perfect example. On Friday, the landing in the morning is clear, pristine, but by Friday evening, all the vendors have arrived, with all the action and energy. Come Sunday evening, the landing is back to its quiet self.
What are your plans?
Along with spending more time with my five grandchildren — all under the age of 3 — and adopting and training a dog, I’d like to take a class or two at the art center!