Meet Sue, an Art in the Community Hero
Art in the Community Program
Volunteer since 2013
What do you like most about Richmond Art Center?
“The people. I just love the Education Department. I attended the Upcycle event last year and was just so impressed by how friendly everyone is and how thoughtful they are about the types of activities they set up for the kids to do. I really look forward to the events here.”
Sue Collins found the Richmond Art Center by chance. A former Bay Area resident, Sue eventually moved to Massachusetts where she raised a family and maintained careers as a teacher and graphic designer. Recently, Sue and her husband decided to move back to the East Bay. Once settled, she attended a class at Richmond Art Center taught by Alan Tarbell that “really got me motivated again on my own path as an artist.”
Soon, Sue found herself volunteering through Richmond Art Center’s Art in the Community traveling after school program, where her unique skills and perspective are invaluable. The mother of two grown sons, Sue has pursued careers as an elementary art teacher and graphic designer, and most recently as an Integration Technology Specialist, training teachers on the use of technology in the classroom. “I used to wonder how I got from art teacher to computers, but actually it was the result of volunteering at my children’s school, and doing the newsletter, and having to learn the computer to be able to do the kinds of things I’d previously done manually as a graphic artist. And then I started using the computer more and more to draw, with programs that allowed you to do that.” She found herself showing other teachers how to facilitate creative projects with their students. “I really enjoyed that work,” Sue recalls, “it was constantly challenging, I was solving problems every day.”
Now Richmond Art Center is the beneficiary of Sue’s ingenuity. “The first time I went out with the Art in the Community program, I didn’t really know what to expect! I found myself making cheerleader skirts for a group of little girls. How did they know I could sew? But I just figured it out and did it. Each project is different. Next up I will be volunteering at Shields-Reid Community Center, assisting instructor Daud Abdullah in a class on mosaics.”
In addition to the time she spends volunteering at the Center, Sue finds time to paint en plein air with a couple of different groups, including one led by Alan Tarbell, her former painting teacher at Richmond Art Center.
This profile was written by our volunteer Susan Arick — thank you Susan!