When West Virginian creative entrepreneurs are given the boost needed to build their businesses and access new markets, the results include increased national visibility, healthier communities, and a stronger economy reflecting our state’s proud heritage of art and craft. Creative innovation comprises a vital and growing piece of our economy.
The Tamarack Foundation for the Arts provides the means to accelerate this growth. Business training and education; financial assistance; and building bridges between creatives, consumers, government, the nonprofit sector and West Virginia communities are just a few of the strategies we employ.
In the wake of the declining dominance of the industries that have traditionally held up the state’s economy, West Virginians are searching to grow, revitalize and diversify sectors that have been traditionally overlooked. The Tamarack Foundation for the Arts is uniquely positioned to build West Virginia’s creative sector.
Business owners working in the creative sector make up a far larger piece of the economic pie than what has traditionally been considered by leading thinkers across the state. This sector includes not only commonly cited fine art and craft business owners, like woodworkers, metal-smiths, and sculptors, but also the literary sector including publishers and writers, performing artists like musicians and theater companies, as well as architects, graphic designers and creative agencies, filmmakers and TV producers, and many others.
The Tamarack Foundation for the Arts works to build the creative economy of West Virginia.
The challenges as we see them:
The solutions/metrics we are working towards:
The Tamarack Foundation for the Arts is in the first phase of its strategic plan, currently serving all visual, design and media artists in the state of West Virginia. The strategic growth plan for the organization will fold programming for artists in the literary and performing creative sectors in the future. The business needs of artists working in the visual, literary, and performing sectors vary significantly. Working in phases will allow our team to build programming that best serves each sector.
Partnership with the Department of Agriculture and the WV Food and Farm Coalition during this organizational expansion will help support agricultural makers in the state through various program collaborations.
Renée Margocee, Executive Director
Renée is responsible for the organization’s achievement of its mission and financial objectives. Renée provides leadership in the development of program, governance, communications, and financial plans and oversees their implementation with the Board of Directors and staff.
Renée is a graduate of Marshall University, studying English Literature and later studying ceramics at West Virginia University. She received additional arts education at the Arrowmont School of Arts and Craft in Tennessee and the Haystack School of Craft in Deer Isle, Maine. After completing her schooling, she established her first ceramics studio in Elkins, West Virginia and later established Clay Place in 1996, Charleston’s first open clay studio located at Taylor Books.
A native of the southern coalfields of West Virginia, Renée’s diverse work background includes museum restoration, long-term engagements as a teaching artist in public schools and working in community pottery in Helvetia, West Virginia. She was among the first artisans to make work for Tamarack: The Best of West Virginia. Renée has held multiple leadership positions in the arts industry including Director of the Arts at the West Virginia Division of Culture and History, as well as serving as a member of the Board of Directors at the Tamarack Foundation for the Arts, an ex-officio member of the West Virginia Commission on the Arts, a member the National Assembly of State Arts Agencies and as a State Arts Agency Representative for the National Endowment for the Arts.
Emma Pepper, Program Director
Emma oversees the coordination and administration of all aspects of ongoing and developing foundation programs including planning, staffing, executing, and assessing statewide programmatic activities.
Emma, a native of Charleston, WV, received her BA in Political Science from West Virginia University. She returned to her home state after building her career in Washington, DC and Berkeley, CA. Prior to her work with the foundation, Emma served in roles such as: arts-focused marketing and public relations professional; gallery director; creative consulting agency owner; design agency manager; freelance writer; and AmeriCorps VISTA. In addition to her work at the foundation, Emma serves on the marketing committee for Charleston Main Streets. She pursues her own art and is a published writer and essayist.
Amy Stout, Office Manager
Amy administrates the operations of the foundation business office, providing front office reception, bookkeeping, database management, and executive assistance.
Amy is a West Virginia native and graduated from Marshall University. She is currently in her final year of WVU’s Nonprofit Management Program and has completed WVSU EDC’s Lean Start Up 60x – Small Business Training. Amy is a juried Tamarack fine artist and is a member of Gallery Eleven in Charleston (West Virginia’s oldest artist cooperative).
Nikki Bowman, Board President, Owner, New South Media (Morgantown)
Ashley Pack, Esq., Board Vice President, Attorney, Dinsmore (Hurricane)
Debby Sizemore, Board Treasurer, Senior Vice President – Commercial Banking, Premier Bank (Oak Hill)
Joseph Elbert, Development Chair, Owner/Artist, Joseph Elbert Designs (Leon)
Cathy Smith, Owner/Artist, Unique Silks (Daniels)
Georgette George, President, Monarch Family Hotels (Charleston)
Christine Keller, Owner/Artist, Chrizart (Buckhannon)
Michael Mills, Program Chair, Principal, Mills Group (Morgantown)
Charles “Buddy” Butler, Marketing Chair, Senior Vice President, Stonewall Marketing (Williamstown)
Dr. William “Bill” Bissett, President & CEO, Huntington Regional Chamber of Commerce (Huntington)
Franki Parsons, Esq., Policy/Data Chair, Attorney, Dinsmore (Charleston)
Morgan Richards, Owner/Artist, Morgan Rhea (South Charleston)