North Shore Volunteer Spotlight: Ann Jonaitis
Welcome to the first ever North Shore Volunteer Spotlight, our new monthly blog feature! This month, the artists and staff from the North Shore studio are excited to introduce you to Ann Jonaitis, our trusty Monday volunteer (pictured above with artist David Lee).
In an interview with artist Russell Copenharve, Ann reminded us that she first started volunteering at The Arts of Life in January of 2012 after learning about the studio from friends who were tAofL artists or family members. Turns out she already knew quite a few of the artists when she joined the studio because she used to run a local work experience program for high school students. Now some of those students are artists at The Arts of Life and Ann enjoys watching them run the studio and make decisions together.
When she’s volunteering at the studio, Ann spends a lot of her time talking to artists about their artwork. Russell wondered what she likes most about helping out at the studio. “I like when the artists and I talk about an idea and then they put it in their artwork and I can SEE it!” Ann also likes helping with lunch and responsibilities and… “anything you ask me to do.” She’s especially good at hunting down items from our wish list. “I like to go to rummage sales and find bargains,” says Ann. A few weeks ago, we asked Ann to keep an eye out for a new sandwich grill for our kitchen and just a few days later, she showed up with exactly what we needed!
Ann doesn’t identify as an art maker herself, but her son David Jonaitis is an artist and joined the North Shore studio around the same time she did. We have them to thank for a grant we recently received from New Trier Township. The dynamic duo of Jonaitis and Jonaitis spoke to the grant committee about their diverse experiences at The Arts of Life (volunteer, parent, artist) and the committee was swayed!
When she’s not helping us win grants, furnish our kitchen or brainstorm for our artwork, Ann enjoys spending time with her family and reading. She’s a member of two local book clubs.
Artist Amanda Gantner shared that Ann “is nice and kind. She helps me get paint and colored pencils and work on my pictures.” Staff members report that Ann is reliable and levelheaded. We all appreciate her vast experience working with people with disabilities and her commitment to being a part of our growing community.
Are YOU interested in joining Ann in volunteering at The Arts of Life? Check out our volunteer page and get started on that application! WE NEED YOU, especially if you’re anything like Ann!
Thanks for all you do, Ann!