Pictured, left to right, Lewiston Council on the Arts staff members Irene Rykaszewski, Timothy Henderson, Kathryn Serianni and Eva Nicklas. (photo sent)

Fri, October 14, 2022 10:55 a.m.

The Lewiston Council on the Arts announced on Wednesday that after 30 years of working together, staff are retiring at the end of 2022 – and a leadership transition process begins immediately.

Although Executive Director Irene Rykaszewski and Artistic Director Eva Nicklas are the organization’s most visible representatives, Kathryn Serianni and Tim Henderson have been integral to the team’s success. All four came on board around the same time and planned, coordinated and promoted all programs together, with the help of a volunteer Board of Directors.

“It’s been an incredible privilege to work with such creative friends and colleagues, and I’m so proud of the role we’ve played in creating a community that residents and visitors love,” said Rykaszewski.

“Eva, Irene, Tim and Kathryn left an incredible legacy for Lewiston, Niagara County and the entire region,” said LCA Board Chairman Tod Kniazuk. “Their retirement is well deserved, and we can’t thank them enough for all they’ve done – and for being so willing to help transition into the ACL’s next leadership.”

The organization began as an informal group of local artists and their friends, who volunteered to present Lewiston’s annual arts festival. Under the leadership of Rykaszewski and Nicklas, the LCA has grown into a 501(c)(3) non-profit community arts council featuring a diverse range of cultural programs, as well as festivals, events, concerts, classes , historical events. and ghost walks, lecture series, literary events and children’s programs.

Additionally, staff opened a cooperative art gallery, a Native American art gallery, and oversaw the placement of numerous public artworks and parks throughout the community.

A search committee will oversee the selection process for Rykaszewski’s successor. He will then work with the board to build a new team. Both directors will assist during the process to ensure a smooth transition.

Visit www.artcouncil.org for a job description and application guidelines.

The local leaders said it will not be an easy task to replace the LCA team.

Niagara River Region Chamber of Commerce President Jennifer Pauly said, “Talk about big shoes to fill – more like an entire shoe department! The staff of the Lewiston Council on the Arts is unlike any other. They really love what they do and have all invested 200% in developing the arts council and providing rich programming to our community. We are so lucky they led the charge to make sure the arts are a priority here. We will miss them!”

Mayor of the Village of Lewiston, Anne Welch, said: “Eva, Irene, Tim and Kathryn, I am very sad to hear of your retirement, but I know it is well deserved. It is difficult to express in words how grateful this community is to have such a wonderful Arts Council under your leadership. Thank you for your incredible talent, dedication, passion and hard work in creating one of the best (if not the best) art festivals in Western New York, and the amazing Marble Orchard . All of your many efforts have been a success and have been appreciated by thousands of residents and visitors. But above all, thank you for your cherished friendship over the years. I know you will find qualified replacements to carry on your legacy, but no one will ever come close to replacing you.