As an ophthalmic photographer, Robyn Richards takes photos of eyes. And as she has an eye for art, she is the Community Theatre League's curator.
Richards grew up in Holland, N.Y., a small town south of Buffalo, and studied biomedical photographic communications at Rochester Institute of Technology. After graduating in 1997 and moving to Williamsport, she worked ten years as an ophthalmic photographer for the Retina Group of Pennsylvania.
Married to David Richards, she now enjoys being a stay-at-home mom to her children, Kate, 6, and Justin, 3.
Community Theatre League curator Robyn Richards is seen hanging artwork by Joanne Landis, a Pajama Factory tenant. Richards grew up in Holland, N.Y., and worked ten years as an ophthalmic photographer for the Retina Group of Pennsylvania.
Seeking a creative outlet and nurturing a love of theatre, Richards began volunteering in 2000 to photograph CTL's plays during dress rehearsals. Before the start of the 2003-04 season, executive director Pam Wright asked if she was interested in finding, organizing and hanging art for CTL's lobby space.
"Always having an affinity for the arts, my answer was an enthusiastic 'yes,' " Richards said. "As a curator, I enjoy meeting and working with artists. Listening to their sources of inspiration is always remarkable."
When asked how she locates artists whose works are displayed at the Community Theatre, she confirms that she views galleries, sometimes on First Fridays and often gets referrals by word-of-mouth. After initially contacting the artist, agreeing upon which pieces are to be exhibited and sorting out the logistics, the artist delivers the pieces to the 100 W. Third St. theater.
"Before hanging the work (paintings or photographs), I determine the best arrangement of each piece while making sure that the whole exhibit is cohesive and aesthetically pleasing," she said.
A new artist is showcased for each of CTL's six main stage productions, with the exhibit also viewed by those attending the concerts and children's shows scheduled in the intervening weeks between shows.
"I love the fact that upon entering the Community Theatre, the first thing that a patron sees is the art work of a local artist, so the lobby is transformed from an entrance to the box office and stage to a small scale gallery for local talent," Richards said.
The displayed work is primarily two dimensional as the lobby is very busy before and after shows, as well as during intermission, making it difficult to display sculpture.
"During 'Sprouts,' the theater shows for children, the lobby is alive with the energy of excited children waiting to see their first play or standing in line to get an autograph from one of the young actors," Richards said. "And right there in front of them is a display of art for the kids and their parents to experience as well."
Dealing with a broad realm of artists, Richards states that she has never had a negative experience as the people she works with are "very gracious to be extended an opportunity to showcase their work."
"I am honored to play a small part in such an admirable community organization," Richards said. But as she continues to both photograph most shows and curate its lobby, the Community Theatre League readily acknowledges that Robyn Richards is a dedicated volunteer, who plays not a small but a big part in making each show a distinctive success.