In the coastal city of Eureka, CA, Libby Maynard is the Executive Director of The Ink People for the Arts, a nonprofit organization dedicated to connecting the local community to arts and culture resources. Under her direction, The Ink People has advanced the arts and culture scene in Eureka for 40 years by providing resources for cultural development and peer support for artists, educating the community about the value of the arts, and using art to drive change.
It all started in 1979 when Libby and her classmate and fellow printmaker Brenda Tuxford co-founded the nonprofit shortly after graduating from the Humboldt State University MA program. As new graduates, they quickly realized that while art school taught them much about theory, color, and composition; it didn't teach them how to live as artists. Libby and Brenda decided to work together to find a shared studio and equipment for artists like themselves to create and see their passion to fruition. What followed were four decades of developing their local arts and culture community with resources for artists and creators alike.
In 1990, Libby and Brenda took their expertise in administration, grant writing and nonprofit management and began the DreamMaker Program, dedicated to advising self-directed projects created by people who have a dream of making their community a better place through art and cultural engagement. Co-founder of The Ink People Brenda Tuxford passed away in 2004, leaving behind a thriving arts center with dozens of programs led by creators of all ages and abilities. Today, there are currently over 100 active DreamMaker Projects around Humboldt and across California.
In their 40th year of connecting the community with arts and culture, The Ink People provides opportunities for cultural development in Eureka through their shared studio spaces, a gallery for community-driven exhibitions, educational opportunities for all ages, and the MARZ Project and DreamMaker Program. Libby’s mark on the Eureka community shines through in both these programs and her contributions beyond the walls of The Ink People.
The California Cultural District designation comes at a perfect time for Eureka. Libby is pleased to see the community embracing the increase of arts and cultural activities facilitated by the city, and hopes to see creative businesses flourish in Eureka in the coming years. When she and Brenda founded The Ink People in 1979, they specifically chose to locate in Eureka for the community’s lack of art and culture. Four decades later and not only has Eureka been designated by the state as a testament to California’s cultural legacy, but it has grown into a vibrant place to live and a hub for arts and culture.
After 20 years of printmaking, Libby now exercises her own creativity through mixed media and acrylic painting but sees her community as her palette. She serves on the board of directors for the Alliance for California Traditional Arts and several other Humboldt County organizations. She has also served as staff to the City of Eureka’s Art & Culture Commission since 2005 and sits on the Eureka Main Street Public Arts Committee.
When asked about her favorite piece of advice, Libby shared, "Be open, listen well. A lot of times we come with our own agendas and perspectives, but we just don’t know everything. It’s so important to be open, accepting, and a great listener.”