Giese appointed as trustee to state cultural board

Mary Giese of Marshalltown has closed one chapter in her life and opened another.

Giese recently announced her retirement as executive director of the Marshall County Arts & Culture Alliance after six years in the position.

And on Thursday she attended her first meeting as a new trustee of the Iowa Cultural Trust Board, an organization under the direction of the Iowa Department of Cultural Affairs.

“It was time for me to move on,” Giese said of her resignation from the Alliance.

Giese will be missed.

“Mary’s dedication and passion to the Arts & Culture Alliance is second to none,” said Alliance President Chad Weir. “She directed that passion and dedication into a better quality of life for the people of Marshall County.”

Giese was also cited by the Alliance for her promotion, support and enrichment of arts and culture in the county and Central Iowa. Recent achievements included helping Marshalltown become an Iowa Great Places recipient and securing funding for the 13th Street and Roundhouse renovation projects.

Giese said she was very proud to have been involved with the Linn Creek Arts Festival, the Art Walk and Bach in a Day events.

The Alliance assumed responsibility for those events during Giese’s tenure and saw them grow in popularity.

“The Arts and Cultural Alliance has grown under Mary’s leadership and our community has discovered new depths of artistic expression because of her leadership,” said Karn Gregoire, executive director of the Martha Ellen Tye Foundation.

While Giese is retiring from the Alliance she will find the skill set which served her well at that organization to be of value in her role as trustee for the Iowa Cultural Trust Board. It was established by the legislature in 2002 to assist in bringing financial stability to Iowa for not for profit cultural organizations.

The trust has awarded more than $277,000 in grant support to nearly 40 Iowa arts and cultural organizations.

Additional grant awards for 2014 will be announced in July.

Giese was appointed by House Minority Leader Mark Smith of Marshalltown, and she joins eight other trustees and four ex-officio members from throughout the state.

Gov. Terry Branstad appointed five trustees, while the Speaker of the House, the Senate Majority Leader and Senate Minority Leader appointed one each.

“I appointed Mary because of her experience at the Alliance and excellent reputation,” said Smith. “She has been a strong promoter of the arts ever since she arrived in Marshalltown.”

Giese said had never met any of the trustees or ex-officio members prior to Thursday.

“I am excited about meeting new people, and also about learning some things from the state perspective,” said Giese. “I’ll be able to observe what other communities are doing and see how they do them. It is a nice opportunity and I am really grateful for the chance,” she said.