New collaboration honors Marion High School’s artistic legacy

Patricia GibsonMCS News, MHSAA News

The Marion High School Alumni Association recently announced a new collaboration that will provide great opportunities for young Marion artists now and long into the future. 

Nearly 20 years ago, in 2002, a group of community leaders and arts supporters including Dave Rees, Jeff Thorne, Delaine Highley, Sheila Todd, and others came together to create a local endowment for the arts, in honor of innovative music educator F. Ritchie Walton, who put Marion High School on the map with excellent music and theater programs. Walton’s legacy lives on in the performing arts center named for him at Marion High School, and the group of community leaders wanted to help preserve this legacy by creating an endowment to provide scholarships for young Marion artists.

In 2015, with an amazing $40,000 donation from alumna Ferne Gregg, the MHSAA itself created the Giant Arts Endowment, as part of their Giant Dreams Endowment, which benefits Marion Community Schools’ academics, arts, and athletics programs.  

Now, with the 20th anniversary of the F. Ritchie Walton endowment coming up, a new collaboration will bring the two funds together to provide even more Giant opportunities!

The MHSAA’s Giant Arts Endowment will be renamed the MHSAA F. Ritchie Walton Endowment for the Arts. The two funds combined will total more than $106,000. Through this new combined endowment, the MHSAA will continue to offer grants to support the Marion Community Schools arts program, and the F. Ritchie Walton annual scholarship will continue to be awarded. The Community Foundation of Grant County will continue to administer this endowment, and donations will of course continue to be welcomed! (You can give online here.)

Dave Rees will be joining the Marion High School Alumni Association Board, to help lead this new collaboration. All involved agree that this collaboration honors Walton’s love for the arts, and we are excited to see what the future brings for arts in Marion, with the support of this endowment.