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July 22, 2016

Meet a Community Art Star: Stella Qian

Meet a Community Art Star

"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.

Stella Qian is an English and Psychology student who has been volunteering at ArtStarts for three years as a Gallery Assistant, Special Events Assistant and Exhibition Assistant. Not only does she have a contagious smile, and wicked style, Stella is passionate about fashion, volunteering and animals. We are lucky to have such a committed volunteer like Stella!

When did art start for you?

Art started for me when I was around four or five years old. I had a Sailor Moon backpack that I loved and I would run to my room every day after school, plop my backpack down and start drawing the little picture on my backpack. It always frustrated me because I couldn’t get the hands right. I just kept drawing it over and over again.

Other than school and volunteering your time at ArtStarts, what else do you like to do?

I like to read. There’s a book that I borrowed from the ArtStarts Resource Hub, called Quiet by Susan Cain that is quite good. Another interesting read is The Art of Thinking Clearly, by Rolf Dobelli. It outlines 99 logical fallacies that people make. I also like to write, I am the editor-in-chief of the menswear fashion blog, A Modern Standard.

We see that you have a passion for fashion. How do you think creativity and fashion are connected?

I think fashion is really personal. Even though two people may be wearing the same piece, the message they convey may not necessarily be the same. Fashion is a reflection of your current mindset and your current attitude.

If you're feeling down, you can put something on that makes you feel happier, more stylish and professional.  

Like creavitity, fashion is flexible since you can get as crazy as you want and nobody will judge you since it's your personal taste. In one of my blog posts on A Modern Standard, I talk about the psychology of colours in clothing. Browns and reds create warmth and friendliness, whereas navy and greys convey professionalism.

What draws you to volunteering?

I started volunteering in school. I was part of the International Baccalaureate program at CAS (Creativity, Action and Service) where you were required to have a set number of volunteer hours to graduate. I volunteered at the Vancouver Aquarium, a veterinarian clinic and the SPCA. After that, volunteering became integral in my life and it became an easy way to explore and open my mind to new experiences.

Through volunteering, you can explore all these different paths. You see different aspects of society and can develop skills in areas that you never thought you could have.

What has your experience been like volunteering at ArtStarts for the last three years?

I went through a bad breakup and started volunteering at ArtStarts. It was cathartic for me because it pushed me to try different experiences and find ways that I can contribute back to society. ArtStarts is the organization I have volunteered with the longest and it has been a really rewarding since I get to try so many things, from tintype photography to printmaking. I have learned many diffrent art forms and learned that there are many resources available. I also enjoy volunteering at the annual Showcase Conference because I get to see so many artists doing what they love. It's great to be surrounded by so much passion and positivity.

Tell us about your experience at school.

School was very academically focused however I was able to explore creativity with extracurricular activites since my parents were great at putting me in art, piano, and singing lessons.

Do you have memory of an experience in school that has impacted you?

I remember one particular experience in school all the time. In my Psychology class at Sir Winston Churchill Secondary School, we were asked "what is one thing you want to accomplish?" and told to take a baby step in that direction. In my report, I wrote that I wanted to own a pet. My teacher Mrs. Nicolson read my report and asked me if I wanted to take care of her cats since she was going away for vacation in the winter for two weeks. She put trust and responsibility in me to look after her cats and I thought it was so cool and such a creative solution for both of us. 

Thank you, Stella!

If you are interested in volunteering with ArtStarts, please visit

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