WHO was arlene?

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Arlene (Lister) Nielsen was the mother of theater-owner Clay Nielsen and responsible for growing the love of the arts in the Ashtabula County area.


The daughter of a piano teacher,  she performed in bands during her high school years and left the area for Seattle in the 1950s. She returned to the area with a husband, Eric, and a continuing love for the arts. She encouraged both of her children to pursue the arts, son in theater and daughter, Jaye,  in dance. 


She was known as the “flower lady” in Geneva, had a home surrounded by acres of various blooms and was a fixture in the winners circle of area flowers arranging competitions for years. Some of the flowers in front of ABOB are from her gardens.


She also manned the Ashtabula Arts Center desk for many years and  ran the Geneva Grape JAMboree art show for decades.


She would have loved ABOB.