Meet the North Shore’s Newest Team Member
In early October, Kelly Wood (pictured above as seen through the lens of Laura McManus’ camera) joined the North Shore team as Volunteer Coordinator. We’re so happy to have her! She arrived with a strong art making background and experience in the field of disability services… A perfect combination for The Arts of Life! Check out the gallery below for some images of Kelly in action!Artist Hector Jones sat down w/ Kelly last week to learn more about her and her experience of The Arts of Life thus far. Here’s what she had to say… Hector Jones: How did you hear about The Arts of Life?Kelly Wood: I first heard about The Arts of Life when I was working with one of the artists from the Chicago studio. I came to pick her up from the studio one day and walked in and was like “What is this?! This is super cool!” Later one of my friends recommended I apply for a job [at the North Shore studio].HJ: What do you like about The Arts of Life?KW: The sense of community was really apparent the first day I came in. It’s a very unusual community and I really like the way we value equality and promoting self-respect. It’s not a structure I’ve seen anywhere else and I’ve worked with individuals with disabilities for a long time. I really like the way we do this here.HJ: What kind of work do you do here?KW: I’m new, so I’m still figuring out my job. My primary role is supporting volunteers and interns. Currently I’m still getting to know the artists — collaborating on work, supporting them if they need help or just offering feedback. Eventually I’ll also help recruit new volunteers.HJ: What’s your larger goal for your life?KW: I’m not sure. I think this job could be a good stepping-stone. I’d like to go to grad school and become a licensed family and marriage counselor and art therapist. I really like what I’m doing here and would be open to modifying my goals based on what I find interesting at The Arts of Life. I definitely want to continue my own art practice and to be in this kind of environment even if my role changes.HJ: What do you like most about the studio?KW: I don’t think I ever go home in a bad mood, even if we have a super crazy day. I can’t say that for any other job I’ve had. The artists here inspire me to continue my own work and creative practice. It’s a good feeling being in the studio — doing art and bouncing ideas off people and just the way people treat each other here.HJ: How are you as an artist?KW: Anything I can pick up and turn into something else, I do that! The two areas I‘ve spent a lot of time on are ceramics and oil painting. I like how both mediums are very forgiving. I can continue to work and rework pieces until they do what I want them to do or say what I want them to say. I like the process. It’s just as important as the finished product. HJ: Who are your favorite artists?KW: Norman Rockwell. He’s cheesy, but I love the real life he captures in his work. You feel like you’re part of the artwork, looking in on a real scene of real people w/ real emotions. I love him.HJ: What do you do when you’re not at The Arts of Life?KW: I currently do a lot of dancing — I’m a ballroom dance instructor. I spend a lot of time in Chicago dancing myself or teaching for weddings or short classes. I also sing and do open mics in the area, Chicago and the suburbs. I like to sing and I can pretend to play instruments. I have some really cool people I do that with.HJ: Are there any artist here you’d hook up with creatively to do an open mic? KW: Absolutely. I still haven’t really gotten to see Van Go Go perform, but I’m hoping to get involved with them. When you’re not in a band, you’re willing to collaborate with anybody! I’m definitely open to it! Welcome to The Arts of Life community, Kelly! Gallery — Image 1: Kelly and Montell collaborating on a Pollack-style piece. Images 2 & 3: Kelly through the lens of Laura McManus.