The summer wind brings change to Chagrin Falls art scene: Valley Views

The summer wind brings change to Chagrin Falls art scene: Valley Views

CHAGRIN FALLS, Ohio — Valley Art Center’s helmswoman, Mary Ann Breisch, will retire June 30 from her role as the organization’s executive director, a role she has held since 2013. Breisch drew upon her 20-year career in arts education, nonprofit leadership and experience in forming community partnerships for her work at the VAC.

Breisch worked to improve the art center’s visibility to the community and in the region. She oversaw the first sanctioned outdoor mural in Chagrin Falls on the side of the VAC building, as well as other physical enhancements to the facility.

She broadened community partnerships with businesses and encouraged outreach programs with other arts organizations and service companies.

During the pandemic, Breisch worked with art instructors to offer distance learning, an online gallery and gift shop, along with replacing the traditional outdoor art festival, Art by the Falls, with a series of exhibits and pop-up events to provide safe, smaller venues for artists and the public to interact.

She also sought creative ways to promote and celebrate VAC’s 50th anniversary in a time of restricted gatherings and facility access.

Rebecca Gruss, former owner of the Chagrin Falls retail art shop, replaces Breisch.

Prior to launching the start-up gallery, Gruss worked in public accounting with a large “big four” firm for 20 years, rising to the level of partner, a position she held for seven years.

Her experience with not-for-profit groups includes serving as finance chair for the Federated Church of Chagrin Falls and on the boards of The Gathering Place, the Cleveland Chapter of the American Heart Association and Commercial Real Estate Women of Cleveland.

Pop-up art displays: Valley Art Center is hosting pop-up art displays with Art by the Falls (ABF) artists Saturday, July 10, at the Geauga Fresh Farm Market and Sunday, July 11, at the Chagrin Falls farm market.

Several artists will display and sell their wares. VAC canceled its 37th annual outdoor June juried show of more than 100 artists this year due to Covid-19 concerns and invited the artists to participate in the pop-up events, which will be held the second weekend of the month through October.

Make-and-take bags for young artists will also be available at the pop-ups.

In addition, VAC is hosting two exhibits at its 155 Bell St. gallery featuring the work of ABF artists. The first exhibit closes Wednesday, July 7. The next one opens Friday, July 23, and will be on display through Sept. 1.

All artwork in the exhibits is for sale onsite, as well as in the VAC online gallery store. Contact

Play ball fundraiser: The Temple Emanu El Brotherhood is holding a baseball-themed fundraiser. Purchase fundraiser tickets now through Thursday, July 1, and follow five weekends of Major League Baseball games beginning Friday, July 2.

Each ticket covers three different teams each week. If the three teams on your ticket score the most or the least runs that week, you will win a cash prize of either $20, $30 or $50. The group plans to give away a total of $500 during the five-week fundraiser.

Proceeds will support future events, including the group’s annual sports night with a featured guest speaker. Tickets are $10 each or three for $20. Contact Len Gold at

Library donation days: With COVID-19 restrictions lifted, the Geauga County Public Library will again accept donations of gently used books for its upcoming book sales on designated days.

The Chardon branch at 110 East Park St. will accept donations the weekend of Thursday, July 15, through Saturday, July 17. Donations will be accepted at the Bainbridge branch, 17222 Snyder Road, the weekend of Thursday, July 29, through Saturday, July 31. The Geauga West branch at 13455 Chillicothe Road will welcome donations the weekend of Thursday, July 22, through Saturday, July 24. Drop-off hours are 1 to 8 p.m. Thursdays, 9:30 to 4 p.m. Fridays and 9:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturdays.

Acceptable items include hardcover and paperback fiction and nonfiction books, cookbooks, dictionaries and reference books, children’s books, audiobooks on CD, DVDs, travel and computer books less than three years old, and textbooks less than 10 years old.

Donations help support the Geauga County Library Foundation.

Residents are advised to recycle encyclopedias, magazines, journals and newspapers, VHS tapes, CDs and audio cassettes, as well as any dirty or damaged books.

If you have more than a trunk load of materials to donate, call 440-286-6359.

To post your news and events contact Rusek at

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