This month's Spotlight features Board Member, Susi Bains! Susi joined the MAC Board of Directors in October 2021. She is an integral part of our organization as a board member and as an artist!
1. What is your connection to the arts? Are you an artist yourself or do you have a particular interest in the arts?
I grew up in a family of artists - painters, woodworkers, textile artists, and more. Art was always supported and encouraged. I have fond memories of my Mom’s easel with a canvas propped on it as always being a permanent fixture in our home. My Dad made our dining table (which I now have and cherish) and other pieces of furniture. Creating and designing were just a natural part of life.
Until recently, I was always uncomfortable with calling myself an artist. I always felt like an art degree was required, or that I needed to reach certain milestones before I could fully claim the title. But with age comes wisdom, and I realized that if I am creating art, then yes, I am an artist!
2. What is your favorite art medium and why is it your favorite?
As a child, I remember being captivated by the beauty of stained glass windows. The intensity of colors with light shining through always attracted me. In my late 20s, I took a community workshop to learn the basics of building leaded glass windows. I instantly fell in love with the process and have been committed to the craft ever since.
Glass is the ultimate dichotomy between strength and fragility. It is strong enough to withstand years of severe weather and abuse yet, can shatter in an instant if tapped in just the wrong way. Building stained glass windows is choosing individual pieces of intense color and pattern, and then joining all of the pieces together, much like a puzzle, to create a unified scene. For me, it is painting with glass instead of oils or watercolors.
3. If you could learn any arts medium, what would it be? Why?
I am fascinated with the idea of metal sculpting; heating metal until it is liquid and then pouring it into a mold. Much like glass, metal can be worked in a cold state or a hot state and can be formed into just about any shape imaginable.
4. What is your favorite part of your role as a MAC Board Member?
It’s hard to choose just one, but I love the idea that I am part of an organization focused on ensuring that the community, and in particular children and youth, are exposed to the arts and arts education. Mapping out the future of MAC and how it will continue to grow and serve the community is an exciting prospect, and I am honored to be part of this vision.
5. Why do you think the arts are so important right now?
I spent well over a decade serving survivors of domestic violence and sexual assault. Through this work I know without a doubt that art is healing. Art helps people process trauma, express difficult feelings and emotions, and aids in working through trying times. And for youth, participating in art activities has been proven to improve academic performance.
Life can often be messy and complicated. If engaging in art of any form, whether creating or observing, has the power to help combat stress or pain, and bring a sense of fulfillment, then perhaps the world becomes a little less messy, and there is more joy to share.