Staff Spotlight: Dani Guthrie, Gallery & Art Center Director

This month we are excited to feature the MAC Gallery & Art Center Director, Dani Guthrie.


1. When did you first realize you were an artist or wanted to be an artist?

When I was 10, my dad had a 35mm Canon camera and taught me how to use it. I used that camera for a few years until freshman year of high school, when he bought me my very own 35mm! I was in Photography classes and learned how to develop my own film, disassemble and reassemble the camera itself, and studied all sorts of techniques, styles, perspectives. I also began exploring how to use my own voice in my photography. My teacher saw a rawness and natural eye in me, so he stopped letting me do the boring homework assignments, and began giving me my own projects. That’s when I knew that being creative was in my bones, and I wanted to explore everything I could!


2. You have worked in a variety of art mediums, do you have a favorite? If so, why is it your favorite?

I really love photography, and it has served me well. I take jobs on occasion, and print photos and frame them for friends and family. But another medium I really enjoy is hand painting/printing cards. I find it really therapeutic, being able to put my creativity into something so tangible. And that someone will hold in their hand eventually, while reading the words I write. I find that whole process to be incredibly freeing.


3. If you could learn any other arts medium, what would it be? Why?

I am very drawn to more tactile mediums, like pottery, woodwork, pyrography, knitting, the list goes on! I’d LOVE to own a kiln one day and just spend all my time creating with my hands!

4. What is your favorite part of your job as Gallery & Art Center Director?

My favorite part of this job is actually seeing the engagement, excitement and growth in others when they find something here that clicks for them. Engaging the community on our programs and helping them feel welcome in our Art Center, stirring up excitement with folks on classes and art shows, and watching them grow, whether that’s as an artist, as a volunteer or as a person because of how art has impacted their lives. THAT is the best part of my job. It gives me incredible joy knowing I’m contributing to someone else’s growth. It’s worth every second.

5. Why do you think the arts are so important right now?

I am a pretty open person about my mental health. I battle PTSD, and one of the most impacting tools in the world for my own healing has been art, in so many different forms. Whatever the medium, art allows us to connect to a part of our minds that stress constricts. When you’re stressed, anxious or overwhelmed, it can sometimes feel like that part of your mind is stealing oxygen from the parts of your mind that help you process and heal. Right now, there’s a lot of healing needed, all around the world. We’ve been cooped up, beaten up, pushed to our breaking points and deprived of healthy emotional oxygen for so long. I think we’re going to see art become more powerful than ever in the next few years, while we all heal from this pandemic, this political climate and continue moving forward more mindfully. At least, that’s what I hope for.