After eight years leading the Tamaqua Community Arts Center, Leona Rega resigned from her position as director to tackle new challenges in Gettysburg.
Rega joined the center in 2012 and helped transform the facility from an all-volunteer upstart center to a state-of-the-art regional center for the performing and fine arts.
“Leona took the reins and built one of the finest community arts centers you’ll find anywhere,” said Micah Gursky, director of the Tamaqua Area Community Partnership, the parent organization of the center. “Her leadership made the center what it is today and she will be missed.”
Leona will continue her work promoting the arts as she moves to her new position as executive director of the Adams County Arts Council in Gettysburg.
“It’s hard to leave the Tamaqua community, my hometown and the arts center,” Rega said, “but there is such a strong spirit and support for the arts, I’m certain the center will continue to be a special place for the community.”
Rega helped the center become a nationally recognized leader in creative placemaking with unique community engagement projects such as Dear Tamaqua, Tamaqua Has Heart, Tamaqua Raw Aspirations, Tamaqua Escape Room and the Choose Happiness Mural.
She also led the Tamaqua Safety Initiative that helped make the center of Tamaqua a safer place with initiatives like Tamaqua’s first National Night Out and the transformation of the former Tiki Bar into the Tiki Rehearsal Studio.
She served as a facilitator for Strengthening Families, a program to help families develop communication and decision-making skills to help parents and children resist negative peer pressures. At the arts center, she helped organize more than 1,000 classes, shows, lessons and events each year.
Rega oversaw the changes at the facility.
“Transforming the former Methodist Church on Pine Street into a state-of-the-art performance and teaching center took years,” she said. “So many generous donors helped to create the Art Gallery, The Stitch Performance Hall and the ClayWorks Studio.”
During the COVID-19 shutdown this spring, she hosted online art auctions that kept artists and art-lovers engaged in the center.
Gursky recalled the beginnings.
“There was a public meeting in 2012 to talk about what the center could be and most people thought it could never happen. Leona made those dreams come true,” he said. “For many people, the arts center was the first place they painted, threw clay, performed on stage or exhibited their art. Tamaqua’s now known as a community that loves and appreciates the arts.”
“There are children and teenagers who don’t remember Tamaqua without an arts center,” Rega said. “I’ll always be happy knowing I was part of making that happen.”
For more information about the center, visit tamaquaarts.com.
To a leave a message or donation in honor of Rega, visit tacp.networkforgood.com/projects/112149-donate-to-honor-the-work-of-leona-rega.