Spotlight on April Sullivan - Coordinator for the City of Austin, TX
April Sullivan is currently the Artworks Director for VSA Texas, an organization that focuses on bringing forward the artwork of people with disabilities. April immediately saw the connection between our two organizations and was the first branch of VSA to join the National Arts Program® nine years ago. Since then, the NAP has been striving to find additional opportunities to partner with other VSA organizations across the country.
Caption photo right: NAP Coordinator April Sullivan (RT) with Laura Esparza, the Director of History, Arts & Nature Division, presenting Gabriella D’Angelo with her Youth 12 & Under Scholarship Award at the opening reception.
This year, April made a point to personally visit different city departments and speak to the employees about the opportunity to participate in the NAP, something she mentioned she had gotten away from the last few years. Not only does this provide a local face to the program, but it raises awareness among employees. The end result, a 50% increase in participation from their 2010 exhibition! The spectacular exhibition, which is displayed in the Emma S. Barrientos Mexican American Cultural Center (MACC), featured 218 pieces from 123 different artists.
A. I feel that displaying employee artwork is important to show the city that these employees do so much more than just their jobs. They are well rounded people with artistic talent and they deserve so much credit for the job they do as well as the beauty they create.
A. All of the participating artists are so grateful for being able to display their artwork at the MACC. For many this is their first time visiting the MACC. Others have seen outstanding art exhibited in the space and are awed by the fact that they get to be one of these artists. It is definitely an impressive resume builder.
A. I am proud of the fact that we have a professional gallery like the MACC partnering with us on this exhibit. I think it is important because the artists, especially the amateurs and the kids, can feel empowered by their art being on display in such a setting. We are able to make their artwork look important and remind them that art is an important part of life. It may inspire them to pursue a career in the arts.
A. My favorite aspect of the National Arts Program® is the cash awards. It is rare that exhibitions offer such generous awards. And it is nice to see the winners feel so proud of their work and the recognition they receive from it.
A. Visitors to the MACC like to see the ribbons up and find out who won. Especially the school groups that come through.
A. The online registration has made the preparation for the exhibit go very smoothly. I also like that it saves paper.
A. Art is an important part of my life. As an artist, as an arts administrator, and as a viewer of art, I find that I like to be around art all the time.
A. I have been an artist all my life. I studied art history in college and started working at galleries and museum and arts organizations after college. I also create my own art in my free time.