An appreciation of the arts at Riderwood

By Almeda Girod
Resident Writer

Why is Sylvia Reed looking so happy? It’s because she is the chairman of the Arts Council of Riderwood and is very pleased with the revolving exhibits now gracing the community buildings of Riderwood. These are the result not only of her vision, but that of Paul Forbes and Fiona Divecha, who almost two years ago had the vision of an arts council that would provide a way to display the outstanding beauty of the art created by residents and staff. Joined by eight other residents with outstanding art backgrounds, the ACR was born.

Sylvia is often asked if she is an artist, and she responds with a clear “No. But I appreciate art.” Though she took several art appreciation courses while studying for degrees in philosophy and linguistics at universities in Missouri, Iowa, and Nebraska, she credits her love of art to her husband, Roland Reed, who has been an artist for much of his adult life. All one has to do is look at their apartment shelf at Hampton Square or glance at the walls of their apartment to see evidence of their combined talents. He creates the art and she displays it.

While being reared in St. Louis by parents who taught in Lutheran schools, Sylvia learned to also appreciate music. She studied piano and voice, playing in recitals and concerts until her marriage in Stuttgart, Germany, where Roland was serving in the Army. That union resulted in four children, followed by thirteen grandchildren.

Though raised and trained in the arts, Sylvia’s most meaningful work was as the administrator of the Fulbright Teacher Exchange Program, where for twelve years she administered the exchange of teachers from K through community college as they traded classrooms for the entire year with like-teachers from 36 different countries. Sylvia comments “This opened up a world of diplomacy and work with thousands of educators to understand each other and to ensure that there never be a war…as William Fulbright persuaded the Senate shortly after WWII”.

Sylvia, thank you for all that you have contributed throughout your life as well as what you continue to do in the Riderwood community.


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