Marilyn Stocker

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Marilyn Stocker
   When you talk with Marilyn Stocker about her past and present you are struck by the passion and energy given to a life in the arts.

   Born in Berlin, Wisconsin, her early childhood was somewhat transient as the family moved every few years due to her father’s work in the lumber business. During her youth, Marilyn admired and emulated her grandmother, a woman ahead of her time, who was active in theater and fine art. In her teen years, the family settled in Milwaukee, Wisconsin where she attended high school.

   Combining her blossoming passion for theater and art, she received a full scholarship to the American Academy of Art in Chicago. She majored in dress and costume design. After graduation, she worked in the clothing design industry. After a few years, she became disillusioned with the industry and decided on a career change. She quit working, went back to school and got a degree in Art Education from University of Wisconsin.

   After graduating, Marilyn married a young minister and they moved to Baldwin, Wisconsin. Recalling this time of her life, Marilyn laughs and says, “Can you believe it? I was a minister’s wife for over 25 years!” Life in the ministry had the young couple on the move every few years as her husband moved from one parish to another. In 1962, they settled in Newark, Ohio as her husband left the ministry and took a job with the Social Security Administration. During these years, her two children, Dana and Kent, were born. She spent time as a young mother at home and taught art occasionally, including classes in her home. As her children got older, she began teaching art full-time. She taught at various schools in the Newark/Zanesville area. She was named Teacher of the Year while teaching in Zanesville. Eventually, she became arts coordinator for Newark City Schools and held that position for 13 years before retiring early.

Marilyn has continued to teach workshops and classes to this day. Along with her passion for art education she has devoted her life to the theater. Her credits are long and celebrated. In 1967, she founded the Licking County Players which thrives to this day. She also created a theatrical form called Suitcase Theatre. These were simple, improvisations that allowed the actors to perform without the rigors of a long, rehearsal schedule and elaborate staging and traditional theater structure. These shows were taken on the road, and she and her troupe have performed them all over the state including on the State House steps.

   In addition to performing, Marilyn also writes for the theater, specializing in mystery scripts. She has completed over 35 original plays. One of her productions is called “Save Me a Place in Forest Lawn”.   She jokes that she has done this play for so many years

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that she no longer needs to spend time on the “old lady character” makeup. Along with performing, she has put her training in costume design to good use and has designed costumes and sets for countless productions.

   Beginning more than fifty years ago with a small business in her home doing pastel portraits, she has continued to create an impressive body of work. Her paintings are about mystery, surprise, patterns, texture, symbolism and metaphysics. The late Dr. Charles Dietz, the longtime Director of the Zanesville Art Center once described Marilyn’s work, saying “She likes to surprise us and mystify us and her work is a play on words.”  Marilyn loves coming up with clever and thought provoking titles for her paintings as well as helping her friends title their own paintings.

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   Marilyn’s involvement with OWS began when Marilyn Hughey Phillis asked her to direct the Hacker-Hodnett Scholarship. She successfully served on the board of trustees and organized the scholarship fund for over 35 years. She often went to the school of the winning student and presented the scholarship during their official awards programs. Noticing that many schools failed to teach watercolor, she prompted the inclusion of monies for materials and taught countless workshops thru the YOWS-Youth Ohio Watercolor Society program. Thru her involvement with the scholarship program, she became the voice and face of OWS and its mission of art education.

   Besides being a signature member of the Ohio Watercolor Society, Marilyn is a signature member of the Layerists in Multi Media, member of Central Ohio Watercolor Society, Southeastern Ohio Watercolor Society, Lancaster Art League, Bexley Art League and Licking County Arts.

   The Ohio Watercolor Society is proud to honor Marilyn B. Stocker as the recipient of the Ohio Watercolor Society Jim Brower Lifetime Achievement Award.