Sunday With The Arts


Margaret Bria has returned to lead the Hanover Area Arts Guild as president.

Ironically, after spending 50 years in the courtroom as a district judge, Bria now will help the Arts Guild celebrate its 50th year in 2018.

She was elected as a board member during the Annual All-Member Meeting in June. Also elected at that time were returning board members Jennifer Riggs, Rebecca Yates Shorb and Sue Stonesifer, all of Hanover, who will serve for new three-year terms.

Sharon Benner, of Hanover, was elected to a three-year term on the Board of Trustees. She has served in that capacity in the past.

South Hills west No 5 by Margaret BriaIn July, Bria was elected president of the Trustees. Officers serving with her will be Sara Little of Hanover, as vice president; Julie Miller of Hanover, as secretary; and Kim Asper of New Oxford, as treasurer. Little, Miller and Asper have previously served in their positions with the Arts Guild.

Bria, too, was president in previous years. In fact, she expected to leave the Board of Trustees, which is a working board, often spending hours at the downtown Hanover facility as well as serving on various committees and organizing events.

Bria’s journey to the Arts Guild began when she retired in 1997 as a magisterial district judge. Bria had served in Penn and West Manheim townships and in the Borough of Jefferson. She started her judicial career, she explained, as a 26-year-old.Outdoor Beauty by Margaret Bria

“I was a Justice of the Peace,” she said, adding she was appointed and took numerous certifications and training courses over the years for her position. Eventually it became an elected post and she successfully ran for election.

After her official retirement in 1997, she took senior status, allowing her to work at various locations, for as short or as long as needed.

Ruger - Margaret Bria_edited-1Then, in 2016, when her daughter decided to seek office, Bria retired for good.

But it was the 1997 “retirement” that sent her to the Arts Guild. That year sent her to oil painting classes with Steve Stroup in Hanover. He saw her art potential and also steered toward the Arts Guild.

“It’s just a hobby,” she explained, adding Stroup also made sure to get her involved on the Arts Guild Board of Trustees.

Bennet by Margaret BriaBria served for a long time as the board’s Property Treasurer, handling rental income and expenses.

The coming year will be an exciting one, she said, with the 50th anniversary.

“I’m always up for an improvement,” she said, adding she loved to help people learn about the Arts Guild.

Bria, married to husband Pat, has four children and four grandchildren.

Teresa M. Pirkey is manager of the Art Downtown gallery of the Hanover Area Arts Guild. She can be reached at or 717-632-2521.


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