Chicago Studio Volunteer Spotlight: Alithea Tashey

August 17, 2015 By vincent-uribe

[[{“fid”:”8184″,”view_mode”:”default”,”fields”:{“format”:”default”,”field_file_image_alt_text[und][0][value]”:””,”field_file_image_title_text[und][0][value]”:””},”type”:”media”,”link_text”:null,”attributes”:{“height”:366,”width”:652,”class”:”media-element file-default”}}]]This month, we took time to catch up with a volunteer we hold near and dear at the studio-Alithea has been with us for the past 6 months and we really appreciate her energy and enthusiasm in the studio! How did you get involved with the Arts of Life? I wanted to get involved in an arts organization in Chicago that works with people with disabilities. I Google searched those keywords, and quickly discovered the Arts of Life at the top of my screen. I reached out to the Chicago studio and started volunteering there the next week. What is your background (School/practice)? I studied cultural studies and English language teaching at Franklin University Switzerland for two years, then spent a service year at the Camphill Special School in Pennsylvania, a residential K-12 learning community for children with developmental and intellectual disabilities. I enjoyed that work (and Camphill environments) so much, and when I moved back to Chicago I searched for opportunities to continue working with people with special needs. Most of my formal arts training came from my high school years at the Chicago Waldorf School, where some of my favorite classes were watercolor painting, bookbinding, figure drawing, fibers and textiles, and sculpture. In my personal practice I frequently work with papers and textiles; I like using repurposed and reclaimed materials. Right now I’m studying sign language and Deaf studies in Columbia College Chicago’s ASL-English interpretation program. How long have you been involved with the Arts of Life? Since February! It’s been a fun six months. What are some of your favorite aspects of volunteering at the Arts of Life? Being involved in a supportive, creative community of wonderful people. I feel so good every time I spend a few hours in the studio with everyone. I enjoy helping the artists develop various skills, and learning a lot from them as well. Who are some of the artists you have gotten close to at the Arts of Life during your time with us? There are so many opportunities to get close to artists while doing activities together. My friendship with Frances grew stronger after I visited her at one of her art showings at Tusk; I got to know Pablo better while working a booth at do-division fest; and I wore wooden shoe earrings to the studio one day and caused a hilarious uproar among many of the artists (wooden shoes: the inside joke that’s so inside, no one knows where it came from). I have favorite memories with all the artists — dancing with Walter, talking about tea and healthy food recipes with Tim, making beads with Josh, seeing the Arts of Life Band play at shows, gardening with Kelly, wolf-impersonating with Jean, drawing complex flowers out of simpler shapes with Steve, discussing current events with Lee, researching comics with Christina, joining art talk with Alex, meditating with Marianne, learning all about hot sauce from Kris, checking in with Sue to make sure things are “going good”, looking at pictures of my dog with Stephanie, doing yoga with Hubie and Tony and all the yoga gang… Just to name a few. I also really appreciate being Facebook friends with many of the artists, and seeing the photos they post of their finished pieces and works in progress. What do you like to do outside of volunteering? Practice sign language, find some nature, read a book, spend time with friends, and get caught up in adventures.