Dana Hanks took over as the Blaine Senior Center/Community Center coordinator last February after 31 years serving on the staff of the county-owned Roeder home. The 101-year-old house was given to Whatcom County parks and recreation in 1971 by Mrs. Donald Keyes as a community cultural arts and social center, and for the last three decades Hanks has been closely identified with its diverse program of performances, classes and events.
Hanks joined the Roeder Home staff as an intern while still an undergraduate at Western Washington University and rose to become the facility’s coordinator, a job she’s held for the past 20 years.
Last month Hanks was recognized for her work by being named a recipient of the Mayor’s Arts Award for 2009. “I really enjoyed the work. It puts you in the middle of the arts community, both visual and performance, and helps make the arts a regular part of people’s lives,” Hanks said.
A hallmark of her leadership were concerts sponsored by the folk-oriented Homemade Music Society that would often draw so many people that late comers had to listen from the front porch. She made sure that classes drew in young people, saying that “anyone age three and up is welcome.”
When her position was eliminated last year in a cost-saving move, she was happy to move over to the Blaine senior center. “I like it here because it’s an active, vital place,” she said. “While I hated to lose my job, moving over to one I like makes that a lot easier.”
She intends to increase the activity level at the center, especially bringing in performing groups of all kinds to entertain during mid-day meals. “Anyone is welcome to do this. If you have a group that wants to do a show, give me a call.”
Hanks is an artist herself. The Vashon Island native works in glass and also paints. She lives in Bellingham with her husband Dan and son Ryan.
The center is located at 763 G street and can be reached at 360/332-8040.