Richland Academy Hits 30, Bids Farewell To Founding Member & Local Icon

Richland Academy Ribbon Cutting 1992, Marianne Cooper

Join Richland Academy of the Arts on June 11, 2022 for a celebratory evening event honoring 30 years of arts education in Downtown Mansfield! Guests at this event can enjoy cocktails with a cash bar, dinner from Alana Gillson's Ooh La La Catering, decorations created by Mary Cox from Floral Gardens, and an original one-time production of “The Richland Academy Story in Music and Dance.”

“This event will truly bring the past to the present in a full-circle moment for the Academy,” says Marianne Cooper, Executive Director at the Academy. “This event will showcase many of the original Academy performers, students, and instructors in the same roles they took on 30 years ago in some of the very first productions that were held at the Academy. Their work made history at the Academy 30 years ago and they will make history in this event once more.” 

Cooper told WNCO's Matt Appleby "We've been able to do some lovely things to really refresh the Academy. All that kind of thing has been going on this year not only with strategic planning but also the rebranding of the academy"

Cooper, who put together “The Richland Academy Story in Music and Dance” agreed that in itself was a major undertaking and said she is thrilled to again be working with so many familiar faces including Dr. Larry Evans who has come back to direct this special program within the celebration. Cooper says it's been great fun to see Deb Logan who is the musical director for the program.

Cooper smiled and went on to say "we'll have some surprises that I'm not going to talk about"!

Performances and special guests at this event will also include, Adena King, Rachel Ballitch Fitzgerald, Eric Snyder, Alli Lange, Eric Stigall, Ken Barnett, Craig Green, Deb Akers, Mark Crumrine, Audrey Lee-Strohm, Bailey Maxfield, Rachel Madore, Zakari Ramos, Breckelle Miller, RAA Dance Companies, alumni, and instructors recreating performances from the past. More evening live entertainment will feature The South Street Jazz Co. from Cleveland, OH. 

The 30th Anniversary Celebration coincides with the retirement of Cooper, one of Richland Academy's founding members. She referred to this event as her "Last Hurrah". When told there will never be another you, Cooper replied "Well, who would want one". When asked about special memories of the last 30 years at Richland Academy, Cooper pointed to the difficulty of launching the academy "without any money" and the search for financial support, Cooper praised the tremendous community support through the years and singled out the late Dr.Tom Crogan whom she called "amazing" and who personally funded the academy's "very active" Jazz program.

This anniversary event is sponsored by Park National Bank (Presenting Sponsor), The Ohio Arts Council, Hamilton Insurance Group Inc., WOB Accountants and Advisors, and MG Energy. Special donors include Harvey McGowan, Judy Croghan (in honor of Dr. Tom Croghan), Jason and Jamie Metzger, Sue Guimaraes, and Joann Hipsher.

Guests at this historic event can also contribute a donation to the Special Campaign of 1000 persons for the 30th Celebration Year to move the Academy toward the next successful 30 years.

To make your reservation, call the Academy at 419-522-8224 or email Marianne Cooper at Tickets must be purchased by June 3, 2022. Tickets are $75 per person; table reservations of 8 are available by request.

For more information on things happening at the Academy, call (419) 522-8224 or visit “Richland Academy… where anyone can explore the artist within,” located at the corner of 4th and Walnut St. was founded in 1991 and is supported by the Ohio Arts Council. 

Here are some photos from he very beginning of Richland Acaddemy,

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