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Briefs: Artlink leader leaving for job at Lincoln Financial Foundation

Thursday, July 17, 2014 - 12:01 am

Artlink leader leaving

After nine years as Artlink gallery executive director, Deb Washler has announced she has accepted a job as program officer for Lincoln Financial Foundation. Her last day at Artlink will be July 31.

The gallery will begin the search for a new executive director immediately, an Artlink news release said.

Lincoln Financial Foundation was formed in 1962 by what is now Lincoln Financial Group to make grants in the areas of arts, education, human services and economic/workforce development, the news release said. Since 2006, the foundation has donated nearly $25.1 million to Fort Wayne nonprofits.

At the foundation, Washler will oversee partnerships with local organizations, the news release said.

In recent years, Washler led Artlink’s move to new space in the ground level of the Auer Center for Arts and Culture, 300 E. Main St. Artlink formerly operated in space at the Hall Center for the Arts, 437 E. Berry St.

The move gave Artlink 50 percent more gallery space and allowed it to display three exhibitions at the same time, the news release said. Washler also coordinated offering new children’s art classes and special weekend programs for member artists.

In addition, she helped make Artlink the first organization in Indiana to host Co-Starters, a small business start-up program for aspiring arts entrepreneurs, the news release said.

“I’m proud of what we’ve accomplished at Artlink during my time at the helm,” Washler said in the news release. “I’ve loved being around art and artists every day and working with Artlink staff and volunteers. But I’m looking forward to a new challenge at Lincoln.”

To learn more about the Artlink executive director position, go to the Fort Wayne Arts Incubator homepage at For more about Artlink, call 424-7195 or go to

Artists receive grants

The Indiana Arts Commission (IAC) announced four Fort Wayne-area artists are among the 38 artists statewide selected to receive Individual Artist Program grants for fiscal year 2015, a news release said.

The area artists, category and amount are: Ericka Markley, Access-Photography, $2,000; Andrea Kruse, Access-Visual Arts, $1,892; Lydia Gerbig-Fast, Crafts, $2,000; and Terra Fuller, Visual Arts, $2,000.

The IAC received 135 applications for Individual Artist Program grants, the news release said.