After doing volunteer work at Maquoketa’s Ohnward Fine Arts Center for six months, Liz Lechtenberg moved into a director’s position for the volunteer-based, nonprofit organization and facility.

The center opened its doors in December of 2004 and reflects the Maquoketa community’s steadfast dedication to the arts and made possible through private donations, grants and countless volunteer hours.

Liz, who lives in Maquoketa with her husband Joe, has been director for a year. She is in charge of booking entertainment in the center’s Kopel Theater, a state-of-the-art facility that offers a 2,450-square-foot stage in an auditorium that seats 841 and boasts a 12,000-watt, 40-channel sound system and computer-controlled lighting spots.

The adjacent Drew Art Gallery provides 3,600 square feet for exhibitions of original artwork and doubles as a spacious venue for banquets, receptions and more. Nancy Toutsch handles lining up artists for the art gallery that changes exhibits every two months.

Since becoming director, Liz has also learned to write grant applications and says she has had pretty good success. She also puts out a newsletter two times a year.

Although Lechtenberg admits there is much to do at the center, she feels it is an exciting place to work. “It is a wonderful thing to be part of,” she says. “I feel like I am making a real contribution to the community.” Liz grew up in Galena, Ill. and moved to Maquoketa in 1999. Her husband is a dentist in Maquoketa. Prior to becoming director of the fine arts center, Liz was an Iowa Farm Bureau agent for seven years.

Liz and Joe have a daughter, Katie, a freshman at University of Northern Iowa, and a daughter, Ashley, and twin granddaughters.

Lechtenberg says she enjoys reading and tries to play tennis a couple of times a week.

The Ohnward Fine Arts Center is located off Highway 64 across from the Jackson County fairgrounds and is open Monday through Friday from 1 to 5 p.m.

Besides the artist exhibits, the center has three more entertainment events booked through this year.

Wizard of Oz, a local production, is Oct. 11 through 13 and Oct. 19 through 21, Vienna Boys Choir is Nov. 1 and Christmas Catechism is Dec. 8.

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