Heritage Heroes

Marianne Ryan by Margaret Kronenberg

Screen Shot 2016-08-23 at 10.16.06 AMMarianne Ryan was born and raised in the Midwest, then moved to California in 1960. She began the study of art at the University of California, Davis with Manuel Neri, Wayne Thiebaud and Robert Arnsen. Marianne is one of the early founders of The Stroll Through History who planned and organized the poster contest. She is also the original incorporating president of the Yolo Arts Council that started in 1981.

Marianne took four visits to Carrara Italy, the location of the Michelango white marble quarry. Manuel Neri served as her guide and advisor. On her 4th visit she shipped back 1.2 metric tons of hand selected white marble to Woodland. She then gave an art exhibit and talk at Sacramento State University titled: The Last Wedding Part One, where she utilized the Italian marble.

Marianne also gave a talk and exhibition at The Commonwealth Club in San Francisco, featuring work from CERN (the European Union for Nuclear Research).

Two subsequent visits to Geneva followed where she was able to observe the CERN experiment. She was invited to respond to the project with art. Upon doing so, she presented examples of her paintings and the physicists asked her permission to install her work permanently on their own website. She, of course, said “yes”. They did.
Regionally: Solo exhibition at the Mondavi Winery in Napa Valley, Nelson Gallery UCD, Yolo Arts Gallery 625, Woodland Carnegie Library, Natsoulas Gallery, Davis, County Fair and numerous group shows.

“In most of mankind, within a life span, there occurs a facet of time when the inner strengths , often unspoken, often unrecognized , are thrust unexpectedly into action causing a person to unwittingly accelerate physical and mental properties. The individual capacity to exceed the ordinary limitations of human endeavor is startling, stunning and without explanation: extra-ordinary. Within the spirit of some, there resides a force, an unyielding task master, compelling and relentless, beckoning, pushing, pulling at once, propelling to go beyond mediocrity, to extend capability, to reach farther and farther without regard. In recognition and love of this phenomena, I address my efforts and the use of my materials.” – Marianne Ryan

Heritage Heroes David Wilkinson by Al Smith

Screen Shot 2016-08-23 at 10.15.58 AMDavid Wilkinson has been an integral part of the Stroll since the first formal event in 1989. After graduate studies at UC Davis in 1985, David and his wife Diane Adams moved from Davis to Woodland. Within a year they purchased their ‘beloved’ Victorian house on First Street which “needed a lot of work.” But through their dedicated passion and renovation, the fixer-upper house became a home for raising twin daughters Rose and Emily, while solidifying David’s enthusiasm for the community.

During his eight years on the Historic Preservation Commission David seriously studied and wrote about Woodland’s history and exceptional architecture, which he finds “endlessly fascinating and rewarding.” He helped with the research and update of the Woodland Walking Tour booklet in 1989, and then served on the 1989 organizing committee for the freshly named event, Stroll Through History. Active in every Stroll since, he has organized walking tours, trained docents, and led both walking and bus tours. He and friend Roger Klemm are popular tour guides engaging guests with their expert knowledge with occasional injections of their own fun repartee.

David helped establish the Heritage Home Awards, which honors homeowners who have done exceptional jobs renovating and maintaining historic houses thus preserving Woodland’s architectural jewels. The Stroll is an annual showcase of such beauty. A man quick to give credit to others, David acknowledges learning much from the late Ron Pinegar, long time Woodland city planner, who was an outstanding contributor to preserving the city’s history and enthusiastic worker with the Stroll.

His wonderful 2003 book Crafting a Valley Jewel: Architects and Builders of Woodland grew from information gained from earlier research for the Walking Tour guides. David’s writing continues with How Woodland Became the City of Trees, to be published in 2017, an apt subject because David co-founded the Woodland Tree Foundation.

David Wilkinson sums up his dedication: “As we learn more about Woodland’s history, it deepens our appreciation for what we have and connects us more deeply in the community. It inspires us all to do our part to beautify the town and make the best of this place we call Woodland.”