North Shore Volunteer Spotlight: Rita Hirami

November 16, 2018 By dflorian


“We’re so glad that Rita returned after her brief hiatus! She’s such a pleasure to have in the studio. She’s always positive, upbeat, and encouraging. She’s an excellent resource for her art skills.”

-Megan Harrigan


Rita Hirami joined Arts of Life as a volunteer in May of 2015. She left to attend college at Northwestern a few months later, but remained interested in our organization and returned in September of this year. On her first day back, Rita was conversing and facilitating as though she had never left! Artists definitely missed her positive attitude in the studio.


North shore artist David Jonaitis sat with Rita to learn more about her:


David Jonaitis: What do you like about Arts of Life?

Rita Hirami: Um, a lot of things. I think that Arts of Life is very positive. I think everyone is really kind and really into art and helping each other. It’s just a very warm, welcoming,  and positive environment.


DJ: Did you know any of the artists before starting?

RH: I didn’t before-but this is my second time volunteering. I volunteered 3 years ago? I think 2015- and so I met everyone then-including you-but if you don’t remember that’s okay, haha!  I went back to school, graduated,  and I was like, “You know what? I want to volunteer again.” So I came back and a lot of the people are the same! More people than I expected were the same from when I was here last time so I got to see some familiar faces.


DJ: How did you hear about Arts of Life?

RH: I went to Northwestern for college; they have a career website you can use to look for jobs, which is where I found an Arts of Life posting. So that was the first time I heard about it. I also stayed in touch with some of the people here after I left-so when I had this time off-I reached out to them again.


DJ: Are you an artist? If so, what kinds of art do you do?

RH: Yes, I am. Lately, I haven’t been doing as much art as I would like. I would like to take another class and start again because what I mostly did in the past was sculpture and ceramics. I did a lot of that in high school and then in college; I made sculptures out of metal and cardboard and all sorts of different things. I like 3-D art; I think it’s kind of fun to do something with your hands-I’ve always been drawn to that.


DJ: What do you do when you are not at Arts of Life?

RH: I used to work for a non-profit that helps students get into college and graduate from college. I ended my term of service there because it was a limited term position. So now I’m looking for a full-time job; I currently help one of my Northwestern professors with research and I’m a volleyball coach; I coach 11-14 year olds at a park district and at a volleyball club. I also play volleyball- it’s one of my favorite things to do…what else do I do?! I like to bake and cook and read –lots of different things.


DJ: What’s your favorite thing to do here?

RH: I like a lot of things, but I think I like when I’m helping an artist with something, and I can just tell that I helped them in the way that they best needed to be helped, and they’re really excited about it. I like feeling very helpful and feeling like we accomplished a goal; developing those relationships with everyone here-I think-is one of my favorite things.


DJ: Okay, that’s all I have!

RH: Great!


Thank you so much, Rita! Never leave!