Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Volunteer Spotlight: Jacqueline Shay

Art Club Coordinator Jacqueline Shay, a.k.a. Jackie, is one of our most enthusiastic volunteers. Since coming to Cabrini Connections in 2005 she has expanded our Art Club to encompass more than just painting, but to include drawing, printmaking, sculpture and a variety of other media and techniques. She has also sought to engage the kids with more collaborative projects to encourage community and a spirit of togetherness in the club. A great example of this is last year's "Hand Mural" which currently graces the wall near the Art Club space. She is currently working with the kids on a new collaborative mural in a similar vein. Jackie has also been the driving force behind the yearly Cabrini Connections Art Festival, which has brought art connoisseurs together from around the city to local galleries to peruse and buy Cabrini Connections student’s art work. In the past, these have taken place in Wicker Park’s prestigious “Around the Coyote” gallery and gold coast art mecca Pallete and Chisel, where it will be held this year on April 4th. These Art Festivals are a great way for students to show off their artwork alongside professional artists and always earn students accolades from the attendees who are consistently impressed by the quality of their work. This event also serves as a fundraiser that helps support our year-round tutoring/mentoring programming.

Here at Cabrini Connections, we are lucky to have such a talented artist in our midst. Jackie grew up in a home full of artists, instilling in her a profound appreciation and passion for art which she pursued first at the City College of San Francisco and then at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago where she studied studio art, focusing on printmaking and drawing. In addition to her passion for art, Jackie has always enjoyed youth work and has worked at numerous after school programs. Therefore, when she found out about this opportunity here at Cabrini Connections, she jumped on it.

Jackie is constantly amazed at the maturity and talent of our kids. She has particularly enjoyed helping students such as Senior Angelene Hemphill, work to develop their art skills through the years. Jackie feels that the impact of art club goes beyond improving students art skills and also gives them something new where they can develop mastery and feel good about their success, hopefully giving the kids confidence to take on other challenges head-on and come out on top.

Though Jackie is satisfied with the program, she would love to see more kids getting involved. Since she has no trouble finding tons of volunteers who are eager to engage with the youth, it’s unfortunate we can’t bring even more youth into the Art Club fold and take advantage of Jackie’s talents and great ideas. Either way, we’re excited to grow together and make this year’s Art Club and Festival better than ever!

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