Dutchess County Executive's Arts Awards 2022

Full Deck Design


Molly Ahearn has spent her life enmeshed in the arts, and her love of visual storytelling led her to a career as a graphic designer.

Receiving a camera for a birthday gift sparked a passion for photography, which inspired Ahearn to study photojournalism at the International Center of Photography. She apprenticed with Magnum photographer Bruce Davidson, who is well known for his street-style photography in New York City; and iconic images from the historic, 1965 civil rights march in Selma, Alabama.

Ahearn’s long-term personal photo essays have focused on the Dutchess County Fair, Rodeo Cowgirls and Disappearing Farms of Westchester County. Ahearn’s photographs of the Dutchess County Fair were published as a book in 2007.

A resident of Clinton Corners, Ahearn founded the graphic design firm Full Deck Design, which specializes in branding and web development. Full Deck Design has played a pivotal role in the regional arts community through the creation of memorable brands for arts organizations that include Art Studio Views and Barrett Art Center. Full Deck Design also created the original brand for Arts Mid-Hudson. Ahearn has also volunteered as a member of the Marketing Advisory Committee for Arts Mid-Hudson, and the Development Committee for Opus 40, the historic sculpture park in Saugerties.

Her photographs have been published in The New York Times, Bioscience, Inside Out, Poughkeepsie Journal and Taconic Weekend. And professional assignments have revolved around documentary work for St. Francis Hospital in Poughkeepsie and the Institute of Ecosystem Studies in Millbrook.

She has served as a judge for the amateur photography competition at the Dutchess County Fair; and has been a member of the Rhinebeck Arts & Culture Commission.

Ahearn’s work has also been the subject of multiple exhibits. 

“The arts have formed the basis of my business and personal interest,” she said.

So with such a history at the intersection of the arts and commerce, it is no wonder that Full Deck Design has received the 2022 Dutchess County Executive’s Arts Award for a Business.

“I was humbled and honored,” Ahearn said.

She was drawn to the arts by parents who instilled a love of the arts in her at an early age, by bringing her to art exhibits, operas, dance performances and plays.    

“The arts are crucial to creating thoughtful dialogue around issues that are important and often sensitive,” Ahearn said. “For the Hudson Valley area, they are also a key component in attracting tourists, a major revenue stream.”

Ahearn said the best thing about the Dutchess County arts community is that, “Everyone is extremely supportive of one another.”

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