July 24, 2012

James Gaertner and Anne Marks-Gaertner Fine Arts Scholarship

When Jim and Anne married in 2007, they created The Gaertner Fine Arts Scholarship and encouraged guests to contribute to the scholarship fund for students at Nouvel Catholic Central High School where Jim taught theatre and hosted annual New York City theatre trips.

Jim began his life-long love of live theater at age 12 at Saginaw’s Pit & Balcony Theater. He went on to participate in Michigan summer stock, both on and off stage, at Sister Lakes Playhouse in Sister Lakes, MI. Jim created lighting designs for several productions and also performed at Pit & Balcony. He received his BA in Fine Arts in Theater from Saginaw Valley State College (now Saginaw Valley State University) in 1973 and later directed two musicals at Pit: “The Fantastics” and “Annie.” Jim also managed and directed musical productions at Frankenmuth’s Fischer Hall. He began his teaching career at Nouvel in 1998 and directed his first musical production there in 2000. Jim retired from Nouvel in June, 2010 and has since ‘returned to his roots’ by directing several musical productions at Pit and Balcony.

Anne Marks-Gaertner grew up in a musical family and choral music has always been an important part of her life. Her first ‘on-stage’ performance was at age 7 singing ‘Somewhere Over the Rainbow’ and she went on to be a featured soloist in school and church choirs. During her college years she was lead vocalist in the jazz quartet ‘Sounds Three + One’ that played professionally at venues in the Saginaw area. Her first community theater performance was in “Fiddler on the Roof” at Pit & Balcony where she played Tzeitel, the oldest daughter. She went on to perform featured roles in the musicals “Gypsy,” “Guys and Dolls” and “Cabaret.”

Jim and Anne first met in 1975 – on stage – at Pit & Balcony! Nearly 30 years later they reconnected at the funeral of a mutual theater friend and, eventually, married in 2007. To honor their marriage they created the Fine Arts Scholarship to recognize the talents of students at Nouvel Catholic Central High School.

Their shared love of theater, music and the arts continues to enrich their lives as they hope they will enrich the lives of students who benefit from their Fine Arts scholarship.


  • Minimum 2.8 cumulative GPA
  • Graduating senior at Nouvel Catholic Central High School
  • Fine Arts participation at Nouvel Catholic Central High School (plays, concerts, art exhibits, etc.)
  • Enroll full-time in pursuit of an undergraduate degree
  • Pursuing at least 6 credit hours of Fine Arts classes in the first year of post-high school education.

Evaluation Criteria

  • Essay (50)
  • Special skills/interests related to Fine Arts (vocal, instrumental, theatre, painting, etc.) (30)
  • Community service (20)

Special Attachment Required

Please refer to the online scholarship application for more information.

Note: Applicants are not required to pursue a Fine Arts Degree, but must include Fine Arts classes in their first year of post-high school education, as stipulated in the scholarship qualifications.