The RRCA raises over $65,000 to support the 18-19 season!

The Ramsdell Regional Center for the Arts (RRCA) held a reception yesterday in Hardy Hall to announce the results of their year-end campaign. In their first attempt to launch an extraordinary matching challenge campaign, the RRCA proudly raised over $40,000! An anonymous donor will meet the $25,000 matching grant that was promised, bringing the total to over $65,000!

The RRCA campaigned to raise funds to support their 2018-2019 season to continue offering diverse and high-quality programming for its community. “It is a great start to the new year! We knew it would be hard work to launch a campaign like this, but I knew we could do it!” said the executive director, Xavier Verna. “Gifts like these are what help our mission and vision thrive in this community. Heartfelt thanks to all of our donors for having so much faith in the RRCA.”

The community came together to the special reception to celebrate the news including board members, volunteers, and donors. “Contributors have sent a clear message as to how important the Ramsdell is in people’s lives here in our community. The board is committed to using these funds wisely and will continue to guarantee quality programming, entertainment, and educational opportunities.” Added Sarah Helge, the President of the Center’s board. A portion of the donations will go toward supporting the RRCA’s endowment at the Manistee County Community Foundation. The endowment supports future interior and restoration maintenance for the historic Ramsdell Theatre. The board will decide what percentage of those funds will be by the end of the fiscal year.

Verna noted that upcoming events include the MET Opera series on Saturday, January 27 at 1 pm, with “Tosca” by Giacomo Puccini and with refreshments sponsored by the Yellow Dog Café in Onekama. He added that “Tosca” promises to be an outstanding opera. The MET Opera returns on Saturday, February 10 at 1 pm (“L’elisir D’Amore” by Gaetano Donizetti) and Saturday, February 24 at 1 pm (“La Boheme” by Giacomo Puccini).

On Friday, March 16, Irish Night returns to the Ramsdell, which Verna noted was exceptionally successful in 2017. Plans for the evening include food by Iron Works Café starting at 5:30 pm featuring Celtic music starting at 7 pm. Verna said over 125 attended the premiere event last year and he’s predicting another festive time this year to celebrate the Irish holiday.

RRCA Welcomes Laura Ortiz!

I come to you with a passion for the arts
and community collaboration.

I look forward to seeing you  at
The Ramsdell Regional Center for the Arts!”
– Laura Ortiz, Administrative Assistant

“We are thrilled to have Laura on our team! She comes with a strong background in business and community relations.
I look forward to strengthening our community partnerships!”

– Xavier Verna, Executive Director

Laura Ortiz has joined the staff at the  Ramsdell Regional Center for the Arts as Administrative Assistant. Laura graduated from Maranatha University in Watertown Wisconsin with a Bachelor of Science in Education.  After teaching Special Education and 7th grade Science for many years, Laura left to pursue a position in retail management for several companies the last being Operational Manager for Old Navy.

In 2005, Laura joined the team at Hastings Public Library.  In the 12 years of Laura’s tenure, she served in many capacities, one being Theatre Coach for the “tween” Royal Readers Theatre.  Students ranged from grades 3rd -8th and would perform every year in the Spring.  Most students continued their theatre studies with the Thornapple Arts Players Children’s theatre.

Laura’s last 2 years at the library she served as Library Director while working on her Masters at Wayne State University. As Director, Laura pursued community partnerships.  Serving on the Hastings Downtown Business Team as Partnership Chair, Rotary Club, Co-Chair of the Rotary Christmas Parade and Partnered with the Hastings Jingle & Mingle Committee.  Using the training she had received through the Harwood Institute on Community development Laura hosted a series of community engagement roundtable talks which provided feedback on what the community wanted, expected and were willing to do for their community.

Laura and her partner Tom have purchased a home in Manistee and are excited about their new community.  Laura loves to read, create beautiful handmade gifts and explore.

Miss Michigan to Perform on the Ramsdell Stage!

We are honored to be graced with Miss Michigan’s presence during this year’s Sleighbell parade! In addition, Miss Michigan, Heather Kendrick, will also perform her winning talent tribute to Lady Gaga’s ‘Bad Romance’ on Saturday, December 2 at 7:30pm. A Tuneful Christmas Carol will open on Thursday, November 30, at 7:30pm. At the top of each show, the Ramsdell Regional Center for the Arts (RRCA) will feature short acts on the Ramsdell stage. We are excited to welcome Miss Michigan for her premier performance on our stage!

“As Miss Michigan, I’m so grateful for the opportunity to spend a December weekend in Manistee and especially, to collaborate with the RRCA at the historic Ramsdell theatre, which has been over a century-long pillar for the arts in northern Michigan. I’ll be bringing my Miss America talent to the stage, an electro-pop violin tribute to Lady Gaga’s ‘Bad Romance,’ and look forward to meeting, speaking with and taking many photos with this great community!” said Heather Kendrick, Miss Michigan.

Tickets to A tuneful Christmas Carol are on sale now! Tickets can be purchased at or by calling 1-800-836-0717. Concessions will be sold one hour before
each show.

Outreach at the Ramsdell

2 days and 500 reached!!

We invited the Akropolis Reed Quintet to visit schools in Traverse City, Ludington, and welcomed students from Bear Lake, Onekama, and Manistee to the Ramsdell!

Challenge Grant of $25,000


A $25,000 challenge grant has been offered to the Ramsdell Regional Center for the Arts to be used as part of its year-end contribution requests. If the RRCA can raise $25,000 through individual contributions and business sponsorships, then a grant offered by individual supporters of the Ramsdell will match the amount, totaling $50,000. This grant will allow the RRCA to continue the momentum that 2017 has seen in booking high-quality live-music, dance, and theater shows, continuing the free summer Tuesday Talks, Tunes, and Tours, being able to offer more workshops, classes, and lectures, and in attracting visual artists for more exhibits in Hardy Hall.

If you wish to be part of this important endeavor, go to the RRCA website and click “make a donation,” or mail a contribution to the RRCA, 101 Maple Street, Manistee, MI 49660, or call Xavier 231 398-9770.

Fiber Arts Exhibit

The Lakeside Club of Manistee and the Ramsdell Regional Center for the Arts will present a Fiber Arts Exhibition in the Assembly Hall (ballroom) of the Ramsdell Regional Center for the Arts on Saturday, November 18, from 10:00 am until 12:30 pm and on Sunday, November 19th, from 1:00 until
4:00 pm. A Fall Tea will take place on Saturday afternoon at 2:00 also in the ballroom, with a viewing of the exhibit to begin at 1:00. Both exhibit and tea are open to the public.

This one-time exhibit will include spinning, weaving, rug-hooking, quilting, sewing, knitting and needle arts, along with other fiber arts. The Lakeside Club is currently looking for exhibitors. Anyone interested in exhibiting can do so by downloading the application at and click on “Fiber Arts Exhibitor App.” You may also pick one up at the Ramsdell during office hours. Mon, Tue, Thur, Fri from 10am – 5pm. Closed on Wednesdays and weekends.

There is a $10 cost for a table to the exhibitors, with set-up on Friday and tear-down on Sunday. During Sunday’s exhibit hours, exhibitors are also able to do hands-on demonstrations of their art or hold small classes for attendees to learn how to make their particular craft or art. The Fiber Artists also have the opportunity to sell their art at this event.

Tickets for the exhibit ($5) are available at the door during open times of the exhibit. Reservations and tickets for the tea ($15) on Saturday are available by calling 723- 4395. A delicious three-course tea will be served, and each table will be decorated by members of the Lakeside Club and others displaying their own artistic talents. Proceeds from this event will be added to the 2018 Lakeside Club Hometour and then granted to area nonprofits.

Honoring our WWI Veterans

Honoring our WWI Veterans

This Veterans Day, come to the Ramsdell Theatre and honor our veterans. The Ramsdell Regional Center for the Arts (RRCA) presents “Honoring our WWI Veterans,” a live concert by the River Raisin Ragtime Revue (R4), Michigan’s premier ragtime orchestra. In partnership with the Arts & Culture Alliance of Manistee County, the event will coincide with a WWI exhibit that reflects this period. The event is on Saturday, November 11 and starts at 4pm with the exhibit, and 7pm with live music.

Thanks to our local museums, we have items, memorabilia, even uniforms that were collected and are being showcased at the Ramsdell. “The launch of this show is significant to our community. I’m so grateful for the arts & cultural alliance group for making this a reality,” said Xavier Verna, executive director of the RRCA. “The River Raisin Ragtime Revue, with a premiere at the Ramsdell Theatre, will play wonderful music for our veterans.”

R4 is a professional theater orchestra dedicated to educating and entertaining via the performance, preservation, and restoration of significant American music. R4 highlights the development of our country’s original popular musical style – ragtime. R4 Co-Founder and Executive Director William Pemberton says “the concert is a tribute to all of our veterans on Veterans Day, and will include a special Armed Forces Salute, where veterans in attendance will be recognized for their service. The program also commemorates the 100th year anniversary of America’s entry into WWI, with ragtime and patriotic songs of that period.”

Tickets are on sale now through Call 1-800-836-0717. Merchandise by the River Raisin Ragtime Revue will be sold at the event. Concessions will also be sold at 6pm and during intermission.

R4 is represented by Great Lakes Performing Artist Associates, Ann Arbor, MI.

Art Exhibit at the Ramsdell – Jamey Barnard

The Work of Play – An Exhibit by Jamey Barnard

Jamey Barnard returns to Manistee to present an exuberant exhibit titled “The Work of Play.” The Ramsdell Regional Center for the Arts (RRCA) is proud to host Barnard’s exhibit, which launched Saturday, October 21 from 12pm – 4pm, and continues on to Thursday, November 9. Admission is free. A special reception open to the public is being held on Friday, October 27 from 6pm – 8pm, with Jamey Barnard.

Barnard makes bright, loose paintings, which are composed with improvisation, creative confidence, and a willingness to experiment. He is a fan of flat, bold color and strong lines. “Improvisation is based on being free and confident, which is how I feel when I paint. There are no boundaries,” says Barnard. Barnard is represented by Roan & Black Contemporary in Saugatuck, MI.

He has no formal art training but has always painted and made things. He lives in Michigan with his wife Susan, also an artist, who introduced him to the West Michigan Coast. “This exhibit is special because it appeals to art lovers from the very young to the wise connoisseur,” said William Hattendorf, RRCA board member. Regionally, Barnard has previously held shows at the Oliver Art Center in Frankfort, West Shore Medical Center in Manistee, Artdeck in Onekama, Center Gallery in Glen Arbor,  and the Old Art Building in Leland, MI.

Admission is free for the exhibit and it is held in Hardy Hall. Artwork will be available for purchase. The entrance to Hardy Hall is off of Maple St. The schedule is below. We also are listing some concurrent events for your convenience.


  • Oct 21 | 12pm – 4pm (MET Opera: Magic Flute) – with Jamey Barnard


    • Oct 23 |  6pm – 8pm (State of the Ramsdell Presentation – open to public)
    • Oct 26 | 12pm – 4pm


  • Oct 27 | Reception from 6 – 8pm with Jamey Barnard


    • Oct 30 & 31 | 12 – 4pm
    • Nov 2, 3, 6 | 12pm – 4pm


  • Nov 7 | 12pm – 4pm and open again at 6pm – 9pm during the Jeff Daniels show


  • Nov 9 | 12pm – 4pm


The exhibit is closed on the following dates:

Oct 22, 24, 25, 28, 29

Nov 1, 4, 5, 8


Job Title:                     Administrative Assistant (PT)

Department:               Office

Reports To:                 Executive Director



 The Ramsdell Regional Center for the Arts seeks a highly-motivated individual with a business and marketing background to promote programs and to seek and book event and rental business with a focus on weddings. This employee must have previous experience in public relations and/or sales and possess excellent communication skills. This person will also be responsible for day-to-day administrative duties. The expectation for office hours would be 20 hours per week at $12.50 an hour. Some evening and weekend hours may be required. Send resume, cover letter, and job application to by Friday, November 3. For questions, call 231-398-9770.




 Provide administrative assistance to ED

  • Scheduling calendar and update website
  • Accept and make phone calls
  • Sending memos
  • Accepting visitors
  • Setting business meeting agendas
  • Coordinate volunteer needs


  • Build and manage a rich content/editorial calendar that draws audiences to our programs
  • Grow new wedding and rental leads, by converting site traffic through calls-to-action, landing pages, and lead generation content (including offers)
  • Optimize our marketing automation and lead nurturing processes through email, content, and social channels
  • Understand marketing trends and how that activity turns into customers, and continually refine our process to convert customers
  • Work with our area business partners and local newspapers to increase our reach


  • Work as contact for renters
    • Clear all date requests with Executive Director (ED)
  • Create contracts for agreed upon facility uses
    • Clear rental/use costs and present final charges for creation of invoices to ED
  • Plan, coordinate & provide oversight of facility setups
  • Oversee rentals and ensure everything is in order
  • Provide assistance as needed



If you have ever entertained the idea of joining a production at the Ramsdell, now is your chance. The cherished family classic, A Christmas Carol, will be presented at the Ramsdell Theatre this December as part of the “Sleighbell at the Ramsdell” celebration.   After adapting the story for the stage and adding original music along with traditional Christmas Carols, director, Dr. Rick Plummer rechristened the show – A Tuneful Christmas Carol.   He promises a production heartily infused with the Christmas Spirit which will deliver holiday fun for the whole family.

 A Tuneful Christmas Carol includes all of the beloved and delightful Dickens characters from Scrooge to Tiny Tim; Fezziwigs to Cratchits; and Christmas Spirits galore.  Designers are already hard at work to fully produce this classic tale in a style that is both beautiful and visually captivating along with more than a little magic.  Actors of all ages are needed to fill the many character parts as well as dancers, and singers for the a cappella choir of Carolers. The character of Charles Dickens himself appears as a Narrator who, in both song and in spoken word, stitches together the magical threads of the beloved family Christmas classic.  Auditions are scheduled for Sunday, October 8th from 2 to 5pm and on Monday, October 9th from 7 to 9pm in Hardy Hall at the Ramsdell Regional Center for the Arts.  Actors do not need to prepare an audition piece – simply be ready to read from the script, sing a Christmas Carol that will be provided at auditions, and dance a bit.  All levels of experience are welcome.