Idyllwild Arts Academy Marketing Director Wendy Winks is the next speaker at the Associates of Idyllwild Arts Foundation’s Spotlight on Leadership Series.
Photo by Marshall Smith

Wendy Winks, newly hired marketing director at Idyllwild Arts, is focused on “telling the story” of what makes the Idyllwild Arts Academy unique in high school arts education.

Prior to moving to Idyllwild in October of last year, Winks had lived and worked in the Los Angeles and Pasadena areas. But she has been coming to Idyllwild for more than 18 years.

Winks is the next speaker at the school’s Spotlight on Leadership series — an Associates of Idyllwild Arts Foundation series designed to acquaint Hill residents with the academic, arts and administrative leadership at the school. The free series was envisioned to bring the school and community closer together and to “de-mystify” the work being done at this internationally recognized educational institution.

She titles her talk, “Marketing the Magic.” Part of that magic is Idyllwild itself, something principal founders Max and Bee Krone recognized in 1946 when acquiring the land for what became the Idyllwild School of Music and the Arts. The Krones dreamed of an idyllic mountain retreat for teaching the arts every summer. Forty years later, the summer workshop campus would evolve into the only residential arts high school west of the Mississippi.

“Part of what makes Idyllwild Arts special is definitely the location,” said Winks. “There’s something about the healing nature of being on this Hill; the quiet and beauty that provides inspiration for all of us.”

Winks has an extensive background in arts education and entertainment. As a literary manager, writer and producer, Winks lodged credits in developing projects for television and in helping client writers sell screenplays to major companies.

Winks administered after-school music programs for five music schools in Southern California and in 2010, founded a 501(c)(3) nonprofit, Ovation Music Fund, to provide scholarships to low-income children who wanted to attend any qualified music program in the United States. Said Winks, “The charity was the first of its kind, partnering with existing music schools in 127 communities in 28 states to enable financially struggling families to provide their musically passionate offspring the same quality music education experience as their more affluent neighbors.

“Ovation Music Fund fulfilled my desire to help young artists. My job with Idyllwild Arts is the same times 1,000, because of the increased and ongoing interaction with students.”

In addition to her background in music education, Winks has extensive marketing experience in various business services, including in entertainment for Universal Studios, financial services for Visa and renewable energy resources for the U.S. Department of Energy’s Solar Decathlon.

The package of first-rate marketing skills with a career commitment to arts education will help Winks tell Idyllwild Arts’ story. “The only way to be competitive and break through with our message is to have authentic people telling their authentic stories,” said Winks. She plans an expanded school profile on social media, touting the “magic” of receiving an arts education in the peace, beauty and serenity of the Idyllwild Arts campus and the village of Idyllwild. “We’ll have current students, alumni and parents share their stories,” she said

“They’re discovering us online,” said Winks, of how prospective students have discovered the school on their own, drawn to its mountain setting and stellar faculty.

At her Spotlight talk, Winks will outline how she intends to give her department the heft it needs to elevate IAA marketing to the next level. Her staff includes Mark Biley as lead creative, Nick Ryan as webmaster and designer, Don Stoll as copywriter and Amanda Johnson for social media. Winks holds a bachelor’s degree in Business Administration with an emphasis in Marketing from the University of North Texas and a master’s degree in Business Administration with an emphasis in Marketing from Notre Dame de Namur University.

“Marketing the Magic,” Winks’ Spotlight on Leadership presentation, will be at 10 a.m. Monday, Oct. 8, in the Fireside Room in Nelson Dining Hall on the Idyllwild Arts campus. All are welcome and there is no charge for admission.