Back in January of 2016, the North Shore studio welcomed a new volunteer who’d recently moved to Illinois from her home state of Delaware. She discovered Arts of Life online while hunting for volunteer opportunities to build relationships in her new community. A few months into her time with us, artist Quinn Zenner interviewed fresh-faced volunteer Grace Guillebeau for a “Volunteer Spotlight” blog post. Little did we know she would quickly become our beloved Volunteer Coordinator. Here’s an except from Quinn’s interview w/ Grace:
Quinn: So this is my first time interviewing someone.
Grace: Me too, so don’t worry.
Grace: Hello, I’m Grace.
Quinn: What do you like most about Arts of Life so far?
Grace: Everyone goes through the same creative process. You get an idea, you get excited about the idea, maybe mid way though it’s kinda tough and you want to quit, but all of a sudden everything kinda falls together. Then you end up with something you are really proud of: your artwork and the process that you went through to make it. I think that is what connects everyone here.
Quinn: What do you like most about being in the studio environment?
Grace: Everyone has a passion for making art and you can feel it. You can feel it as soon as you walk in. A passion for painting, drawing, or whatever your medium of choice is. I think that creates a certain kind of environment.
Quinn: Do you think that a majority of the artists are born with their talent and passion?
Grace: If you have an interest in art, it is in you from the start and then someone or something around you enhances it. That’s what the studio does. It makes you want to create more and to create better. The best way to get better at something is to surround yourself with an environment and people who share your passion or interest.
Quinn: Are you an artist? What kind of art to do you do?
Grace: I like to draw people. I do a lot of figurative drawing. I have been kinda battling that question, “Are you an artist?” Part of me wants to say yes and the other part of me wants to say no. It is a whole other conversation I guess.
Looking back at this exchange, it’s no surprise that Grace quickly became an indispensable part of the Arts of Life team. She immediately understood value of the studio from both an art and community perspective. By March of 2016, she was already working as a 1:1 assistant to one of our artists. Shortly after that, she stepped into the role of Volunteer Coordinator, where she thrived.
May 18th, 2018, will mark Grace’s last day at Arts of Life and we are so very sad to see her go. In June, she returns to Delaware, where she can spend time with her family and friends while pursuing a new vocation. Grace has made in indelible mark on the culture at the North Shore studio and her contributions will not be forgotten. Here are a few of the things that make Grace special to us:
- Grace’s intuitive understanding of our Core Values and deep curiosity about human nature has made her exceptionally good at supporting both studio artists and volunteer facilitators. She is able to meet each person in the studio community with an open heart and a desire to understand what makes them tick.
- Grace’s active creative practice (click here for her website!) means she advises and critiques our studio artists as a peer and fellow maker. Her ability to draw almost anything makes her very fun to parallel with!
- Grace’s background in health and fitness makes is possible for her to infuse the studio environment with wellness opportunities. For many of the last 125 Thursdays, she could be found leading exercise group or Health Matters wellness program.
Grace, your humility, vulnerability and kindness make you a wonderful facilitator, colleague and friend. You are smart, capable, special lady and we can’t wait to see what you tackle next in your new life in Delaware! We miss you already!