Marion Garmel | Arts reporter, critic, Indianapolis-based mentor

Marion Garmel | Arts reporter, critic, Indianapolis-based mentor

Marion Garmel

We are sad to note the passing of longtime ATCA member Marion Garmel, a retired critic who spent more than 50 years as an arts reporter and critic for The National Observer, Indianapolis News, and the Indianapolis Star.

Her family reported on Facebook that Marion died at her home on Oct. 20.

“We know that she adored her friends and family who were able to keep in touch with her through this Facebook page and she would thank all of you for being part of her life,” the family wrote. She will be buried in her hometown of El Paso, Texas.

Marion attended several ATCA conferences and events over the years, most recently, our online conference in 2021. She always came with a warm, friendly and supportive attitude, and a sharp and critical mind. During a few of those conferences, ATCA offered a mentorship program for college students in the cities where we held our conferences, and she regularly signed up to be a mentor to offer encouragement to the next generation.

She retired in 2002, but she wasn’t idle, serving as president of Hadassah of Greater Indianapolis, and staying active in the Woman’s Press Club of Indiana. And she continued to inspire younger writers.

On Facebook, former ATCA member Wei-Huan Chen described Marion as his “champion and supporter” during his own time at the Indianapolis Star. “I was new to the city but she was immediately and always in my corner – she really cared and paid attention when it seemed like most other people were too busy with their lives.”

Lou Harry, a former ATCA Executive Committee member recalled knowing her first as a critic “who seemed to get to and write about everything,” he wrote in a comments to the Indianapolis Star. “We had some lively discussions about the challenges of writing arts commentary in a market like Indy and she always seemed to lean into positivity – something it took me a while to respect, even if not fully agree with.” He said it was Marion who introduced him to ATCA and told him he needed to join. “Thanks to her making that connection, I was able to bring a conference to Indy about a decade ago, allowing critics from around the country to see the work presented by Indy companies. I owe her a lot.”

 Submitted by Jay Handelman

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