Hi! My name is Jean; I am from Southeast Michigan and the Director of Education here at A2AC. I plan and organize classes, youth art camps, family drop-ins and facilitate community partnerships and events with other local organizations. Additionally, I help support the ArtBox program and all educational programs at the Art Center.
Some fun facts about me: I am solar-powered. My favorite place besides the Art Center is lying in a hammock on a sunny day, reading a good book, in 90-degree heat and humidity. Also, I have a small “rainforest” of houseplants in my living room, which I have so far managed to maintain.
Before landing my job at A2AC, I initially looked for a meaningful job teaching art to youth during the summer. It evolved into a life-changing opportunity for year-round involvement as the Youth Programs Manager at A2AC, and now I look forward to what my new position as the Education Director will bring.
What I love about working at A2AC is finding ways to excite and inspire students and to do it in a way that helps promote art within our community.
My greatest joy is seeing the incredibly cool and innovative things the students in our summer art camp program come up with- whether it’s a giant animal balloon installation, letting the children paint my car in elaborate ways, or seeing the spectacular blacklight glow room they created featuring a detailed outer space scene!
Part of the change at A2AC is my promotion to Director of Education. Currently, I have been in this position for one month. Before this, I was the Youth Programs Manager for seven years. It’s been rewarding to be a part of growing the education programs over the years and branch out to form community partnerships with other organizations, such as collaborating with AAPS Youth Art Month, WonderFools Inc., and offering free drawing classes in collaboration with the Ann Arbor District Library.
It was exciting to be part of the initial launch of the A2AC ArtBox outreach program which serves youth, teens, and adults in need of access to art supplies in Southeast Michigan. I’m also proud of the progress we’ve made expanding the Teen Volunteer Program with our Summer Art Camps, where teens have an opportunity to develop leadership and group management skills in addition to a variety of life skills that will serve them well into adulthood. As the A2AC’s expansion nears its completion, I’m excited to explore all of the new possibilities for education programming that present themselves with having access to more studio space and the potential to build off the thriving A2AC Gallery and Art in Public programs.
Looking back at the beginning pandemic, it was genuinely challenging for businesses and individuals alike. It was certainly daunting for a non-profit like the A2AC.
However, I think we rose to the occasion and hustled to think outside the box and respond to the community’s needs.
We launched our ArtBox Outreach program, facilitated 14 murals via the Art in Public Program, extended virtual art education and art camp opportunities to the community, and more.
We’re a scrappy bunch, and I think it’s left us hungry for what we can do and where we can go with things now that there is some sign that conditions may ease ahead. If we can do some of our best work during a pandemic, imagine what we can do with this expansion!