Board of Directors Highlight: Lisa Miller
The Art in Action Board of Directors is comprised of a diverse group of dedicated, knowledgeable, and passionate leaders who feel strongly about the importance of empowering students through arts education. We are thankful for their ongoing commitment to our mission and unwavering support of all that we do.
Here, we highlight one of our Board Co-Chairs, Lisa Miller.
1) How did you first get involved with AiA?
“I became a docent when my oldest son, Padraic, was in kindergarten. That was 2008 :). I taught art lessons for all three of my children’s classes, eventually becoming the on-site coordinator for their elementary school. One year the school and PTA did an experiment where I taught all the Art in Action classes for all grades – that was a very fun, albeit very busy year!”
2) How have you been involved with AiA (past and present)
“Funny story. At the elementary school where I taught AiA, I would frequently cross paths with Mary Carbullido, (now AiA Executive Director), who at the time was on an AiA committee that planned a large fundraising event. During the course of a conversation, she invited me to join the committee. That was 5 years ago and I’ve played a role in the planning of the OBJECT:ART Gala every year since – whether as Chair, Co-Chair, or as part of the Arts Acquisition committee. A year after joining that committee, I was invited to join the Board of Directors and am currently Co-Chair.”
3) Why do you think arts education is important for kids?
“I think in its simplest form, it is a departure from everyday academic life. It allows all kids, regardless of age, gender, race, or socio-economic status to lose themselves in a medium – whether it’s paint, crayons, chalk pastels, clay, etc. I have always approached my lessons as a journey rather than a destination – in other words, I wanted the kids to just enjoy the purity of creating, to be inspired by a master, but then create whatever that sparked in them. I wanted them to completely immerse themselves for 45-60 minutes. One of my favorite moments is at the end of the year when the kids have amassed a portfolio of 12 of their ’masterpieces‘. I would spread all 12 of them out in front of the child and ask them to choose their favorite to be displayed in our art show. Almost every one of them, every year, would look at me incredulously, shrug their shoulders and exclaim ‘That’s so hard! Because they are all SO GOOD!'”
4) How do you think having art as a child impacted your life?
“I grew up in a very creative house. My parents were the original DIYers, refinishing things, painting, making curtains, wallpapering a hallway with covers of LIFE magazine, etc. It was part of everyday life for me. My mom in particular is an amazingly creative person and seems to reinvent her medium of choice every few years and then proceed to excel at it. She’s currently obsessed with all things fabric. I think having art as a child – whether in the way I described, or in more formal lessons in school, it helps you look at things, our world a bit differently. It helps you see beauty in everyday moments. Helps you find solutions in creative ways. It gives you confidence and a strong sense of self. It can provide an outlet for working through something. I think it also teaches us that what you may think of as a mistake can sometimes end up having the most fantastic, beautiful outcome.”
5) Tell us a little about your current art- medium, inspiration etc.
“About nine years ago I was asked to paint something on a wall at the elementary school where I was teaching Art in Action. It’s funny, because as I taught these art lessons, everyone had assumed that I was an artist. But in the beginning, I just thought of myself as a marketing professional and mother of three who was volunteering and doing something I loved, but it turns out I wasn’t seeing myself as clearly as everyone else. I took that challenge, recruited a couple of girlfriends to help and ended up discovering that I LOVE painting walls! Big walls, patios, fences, doors…I’ve lost track at this point of how many I’ve done. Elementary schools, parks, homes, libraries, even my parents’ boathouse!”
6) Anything else to add about your experiences with AiA?
“I’m so grateful to be a part of Art in Action and supporting its mission to bring an arts education to all children. For me, I can’t think of a more impactful way to help a child grow than to share and instill in them a love for creating.”