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September 20, 2015

Meet a Community Art Star: Jill Plant

"Meet a Community Art Star" is a regular feature showcasing ArtStarts' amazing group of volunteers who are passionate, enthusiastic arts champions. Read more posts in this series.

Jill Plant can put a smile on your face instantly. She moved to Vancouver from Australia and has been volunteering at ArtStarts as a Gallery Assistant for almost a year now, sharing her creativity and warmth. Jill is an art teacher who has been developing learning techniques and experiences to engage students in deeper critical and contextual understanding. Through her travels and studies, she has fostered a love for working with children and a passion for the arts in education.

Where did art start for you?

Art started for me when I was really young — in fact I can't really remember I time when art wasn't around. I would be outside collecting, drawing, painting whatever I could find and constructing (real and imaginary) fantastical things. Art has always been around me — in my family, my environment — and I feel really lucky for that.

What do you do in Vancouver?

Ah, so many things. I moved here with my husband Ash just about a year ago. I am a visual arts teacher by trade, and work through Arts Umbrella, Vancouver School Board, Richmond Arts Centre and anyone who will have me, really. I also write for the Gazette and sell shoes for Gravity Pope. I was drawn to ArtStarts straight away — the people and their passion for inspiring creativity in the community — and have been volunteering as a Gallery Assistant since I arrived in the city.

Why do you work in the arts?

Because I love it — it's refreshing to always be looking for new ideas, ways of expressing and communicating and learning all the time. I especially love working with young people, who are filled with imagination and in awe of the world around them.

Is there a piece of art that you have made that you are particularly proud of? Why?

I have been learning to throw pottery on the wheel for the first time, so anything I can make (however squonky and misshapen) is a big accomplishment for me. I'm also proud of a version of the Rocky Mountains (near Jasper) that I painted not long after arriving, to adorn the walls of our very sparse new bedroom.

Where do you want to see yourself and your art practice in five years?

Hopefully I will be learning and growing still in my art practice and creating things that I am proud of — whether it be objects, methods of teaching or relationships. I never want to stagnate.

What do you do everyday to connect yourself to creativity?

I try to tune in to the small things — interactions, objects, sounds, images around me that make me think more deeply. I think it's really important to be aware of the little things that can often go by unnoticed. It's so easy not to register when something small, yet special is happening that can strike up a conversation or a question.

Big thanks to Jill for sharing your story with us today, and for bringing your talent and enthusiasm to ArtStarts every week!

If you are interested in volunteering with ArtStarts, please visit

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