Rebecca Ruth Wehr's work with museums and galleries very much mirrors her own approach to life. She is a collector — not just of art or antiques, but also of opportunities, experiences and, most of all, knowledge.
Rebecca Ruth Wehr
Since joining UA's arts administration program in 2008 to earn a master's degree, Wehr's opportunities have included interning or working at the Myers School of Art and Emily Davis Gallery and the Center for the History of Psychology (CHP) on campus, as well as the Cleveland Play House and Cleveland Clinic Art Department. Last summer, she was in Washington, D.C., as a participant in the Smithsonian Affiliations Intern Partnership Program, of which the CHP is a member.
"I'm very grateful for the amazing opportunities the University afforded me — I'm proud to be a student here," Wehr told members of the Board of Trustees at a recent meeting, where she gave a presentation about her Akron Experience.
The real-world experiences she's gained during her years at UA are matched by those she brought with her.
The native of Berlin Center, Ohio, earned a degree in art history and a minor in literature at the University of Cincinnati School of Design, Architecture, Art and Planning. Since graduating, Wehr has worked around the United States. In California, she cataloged the collection at the San Luis Obispo Historical Society. She also has served as an art consultant at Universal Color Slide Company and as a docent program assistant at Florida State University’s John and Mable Ringling Museum of Art.
On hand for Rebecca Ruth Wehr’s Board presentation were Rodrigo Miranda, left, a doctoral student from Brazil doing research at the Center for the History of Psychology; Courtney Cable, also in the arts administration program and director of UA’s Digi-Lit summer camp; and Dr. Durand Pope, one of Wehr’s professors in arts administration, who recently retired.
During her nearly three-month assignment at the Smithsonian, Wehr built a website for its Artists Research Fellowship Program, which is now a resource for nominators, adviser candidates and program fellows. She also attended focus group meetings on Digital Assets Management Plans for the Smithsonian's 19 museum units.
Wehr, who is working on her thesis and preparing to graduate in December, is now applying her classroom and work experiences as a volunteer at Hower House, the Victorian mansion on campus.
"Hower House is so appealing to me, not just as a setting for events, but for its historical significance and the importance of its collections," says Wehr. "There are opportunities for people of all ages to be involved and to learn."
As busy as Wehr is with her academic and volunteer work, she still finds time to meet what she calls her need for a "creative outlet." For her, that is painting, sculpting, writing poetry and making jewelry.
As she looks to the future, Wehr hopes the city of Akron remains home for her.
"My career plans are to remain focused on fine arts collections management," she says. "My passion lies in learning and creating learning opportunities for people of all ages."