A Lexington arts group similar to the Kendall Center for the Arts has tapped a Belmont resident to serve as its new director.
Like the Kendall Center, Arts/Lexington is renting an old school building without a lease, Vansuch said. She joined the organization at the end of April as part of a new team at the arts organization -- which includes a new board of directors -- working to keep the arts school in its current location.
The appointment combines Vansuch's administrative skills with a lifelong love of art, she said Thursday. Vansuch, a singer, composer and writer who has performed with Bonnie Raitt and Leon Redbone, and has played at coffeehouses throughout New England and the Midwest, said that the arts have always been important to her.
"I am a person who has learning disabilities," Vansuch said. "Arts really pulled me out."
She, in turn, wants to use the arts, which she described as a "therapeutic process," to pull other people out. Through Art/Reach, a newly created arts outreach program, Vansuch wants to bring Arts/Lexington to people who can't get them on their own. It'll bring arts to after school day care, and the same for senior centers or even nursing homes," she said.
The outreach plan is part Vansuch's overall goal of diversifying the Lexington arts group.
The flip side to making the organization more available to everyone in Lexington and even surrounding communities, she said, was to make the group a real resource for area artists. Through Arts/Link, a program linking Arts/Lexington with other arts organizations such as the Kendall Center, Emerson Umbrella and Creative Arts in Reading, artists can keep each other updated on available work and help each other put together portfolios. "It's a natural evolution of what artists do anyway," she said. "We'll just do it in a formal way."
She added that she wanted to see her organization go on-line to link up with other arts organizations via computer and to give artists even more resources.
Given that her new programs could end should the town of Lexington decide to evict Arts/Lexington in favor of another tenant, Vansuch is relatively laid back about the possibility of seeing her hard work get lost in a shifting lease. "The board hasn't made a decision on whether to disband or not," she said.
No matter. "The artists have said they'll go where I go," she said. Indeed, the point of Arts/Reach is to bring the arts off site, anyway.
While the tenuousness of Vansuch's position would drive many people mad -- or at least to the Help Wanted pages -- Vansuch said she's very happy.
"A number of people have said I'm crazy to work with kids and crazy to work in the arts," she said. "But kids are the most honest people around and the arts keep the kid in you alive. It's a natural blend for me."