About Us

/About Us
About Us 2019-04-08T13:21:48+00:00


Organization Information

Respecting History & Fostering Creativity is what the Lyric Center for the Arts is all about!

Since our formation in 1998 the vision of the Laurention Arts and Cultural Alliance, dba, The Lyric Center for the Arts, has been to create a supportive environment and space for the Arts in our Community while also recognising and preserving the rich History of the 1912 Lyric Opera House, now known as The Lyric Center for the Arts.

There is always something happening at the Lyric! Artwork by local and regional Artists is featured as well as Film Screenings, Music and Theater Performances. The Lyric’s Current Programs include:

  • Small Parts Players This popular, long running, after school Children’s Theater Company inspires creativity and confidence while building reading and speaking skills through performance.
  • Northern Stage Worksa talented group of Adults with a Love for Theater; best known for their very entertaining Dinner Theater Performances.
  • The First Stage Art GalleryShowcases art work by local and regional Artists; each month features new work and includes an Artist’s Reception.
  • Lyric Art Colonya weekly gathering of Artists, of all abilities, come together to Sit, Paint and Share.
  • Words & Lyrics with an Appreciation for the Written and Spoken Word, meets for book signings, special readings and is now connecting with Friends of the Library.
  • Lyric’s House Concert Series each year Musical Performers from across Minnesota are featured at the Lyric Annex to delight and entertain.
  • Classes check out our Calendar for current and upcoming events focused on fine arts and creativity with opportunities to grow, to learn and to teach!

Value Statement

Values ~ Our organization affirms, the arts are crucial to a healthy, prosperous community and that, access to arts and cultural experiences lifts up the quality of life for both residents and visitors of Virginia and surrounding communities. The Lyric Center for the Arts strives to provide and promote programs and opportunities that uphold these values:

    • Arts education is central to the development of all children and to the ongoing creative engagement for people of all ages.
    • The breadth, depth, and diversity of artistic and cultural life are critical measures of the vitality of the community we serve.
    • The arts foster civic engagement, stimulate economic activity, and increase cultural empathy; thus play a crucial role in sustaining thriving communities.
    • Every resident deserves access to a variety of arts and cultural experiences, in their community.
    • Artists and arts organizations require a social environment that values and supports their contributions, encourages excellence, enhances entrepreneurship, and fosters a substantive network.

    • Mary McReynolds, Executive Director

      “I believe a vibrant sustainable community needs a place for artists to present their creative work and for audiences to gather to share the experiences of enjoying it.  I also believe strong communities value, and learn from, their past and historic buildings,” says Mary McReynolds, Executive Director of The Lyric Center for the Arts.

      McReynolds has overseen the operations of the First Stage Gallery, arranging for the exhibition and sale of works by local, regional and national artists since 2006. She has organized monthly sessions for writers, poets and storytellers, as well as a group of painters who meet weekly in the gallery.  She has held the various officer positions as a member of the Lyric Board of directors and written several program, operating and bricks and mortar grants for the Lyric.  As Executive Director, she plans to expand the programs and events at the Lyric Center while working on donor development and the historic Lyric building renovation.

      McReynolds is committed to the community and held a seat on the Virginia City Council until 2017. She chaired the City’s Comprehensive Plan Steering Committee, is a member of ReVive Virginia (the downtown revitalization committee), chairs the Virginia Planning and Zoning Commission, and has served on governing boards for several other nonprofit corporations.

      She was honored to receive the Arrowhead Regional Arts Council Maddie Simons Arts Advocate Award is named for Madeline Simons, the first volunteer chair of the Arrowhead Regional Arts Council Board. In addition to her position with as Executive Director of the Lyric Center for the Arts, she chairs the IRRR Recharge the Range Creative Communities Focus Group and is facilitating the Virginia Creative Placemaking Cohort participating in development training through a grant from ArtsLab.

      Mary has always enjoyed the arts; she recently said, “I have a strong background in choral music. I also love finding time to paint and chat with the Lyric Art Colony, touring historic architectural properties and salvage shops, writing poetry and graphic design.”

    Board of Directors



  • Amber Johnson, President

    Passion for dance is part of who Amber is!  Having only been  in her early teens when she first became involved in choreography, her love of the arts continues today. Johnson, a dance instructor and theatre choreographer on the Iron Range for 14 years said, “The arts have opened up so many opportunities for me; I want to see those same opportunities for all the theatre and dance kids I have met. So many are just bursting at the seams for more shows and events to be a part of.”  From the economic impact the arts have on communities to the artist’s personal fulfillment, “It is so important for our future generations to keep the arts alive!”



  • Lorrie Janatopoulos, Vice-President

  • “I am interested in the Lyric because I believe creativity enrichs people’s lives and that the arts help build a diverse and vibrant community,” said Lorrie.  A lifelong resident of Northeastern Minnesota, Janatopoulos is a 2016 Bush Foundation Leadership Fellow  working with the Minnesota State Department of Iron Range Resources and Rehabilitation in the areas of community, workforce and economic development.  Lorrie has dedicated her life to the betterment of fellow Minnesotans. She is also currently a member of the Governor’s Workforce Development Board, (GWDB), as the Women’s Economic Security Act, (WESA), appointee and serves on its Racial Equity and Operations Committees.


  • Brian Holzer, Treasurer

    With 33 years of state and city public safety service behind him, retired Virginia Fire Chief, Brian Holzer, has always found time for giving to the community by serving on the boards of many organizations. Having been actively involved in the preservation of the Historic Lyric Opera House building since coming on board in 2004, Brian’s commitment to the Laurentian Arts and Cultural Alliance’s remains unwavering. Brian recently stated, “I believe preserving historical buildings, supporting live theatrical performances and the development of children’s theatrical skills is very important for our region.”  Brian also enjoys historical research and writing, classical music, golf and sailing.



    Arlene Jershe

    Arlene has made her home in Virginia for almost forty years.  Having been a social worker for St. Louis County for many of those years Arlene has always found time for the arts.  She has been a judge for the high school speech department for twenty years while also being actively involved with the Northern Lights Players & Theatre at Mesabi Range College. Though Jershe enjoys reading, walking and yoga her passion is with the arts; theatre in particular! For the enrichment of the community, Arlene is devoted to the preservation of the Lyric building so that its theatre programs can continue to grow and thrive.


  • Bhupesh Pattni

    After attending law school, Bhupesh returned to his home town of Virginia to raise his young family and to practice law.   Recently joining the Lyric’s Board of Directors, Pattni said, “I believe a thriving art community is an invaluable asset to our area and am impressed with the work the Lyric and the people involved are doing to grow and encourage arts.”    He believes the Iron Range has a rich history and culture that should be celebrated and places like The Lyric Center for the Arts are essential to ensuring there is always a place where the arts can be embraced.




  • Mika Wudinich

    Art has always been an integral part of Mika’s home and is the main reason he is excited by the Lyric’s possibilities.  He believes the Lyric Center for the Arts can, “do great things in the community.”  As a student he looks forward to the experience of working with the Board of Directors  for such a worthy cause and is eager to bring forth ideas from a young person’s perspective.


     Interested in becoming a member of our Board of Directors?

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