ST. CHARLES – Alison Bastian doesn’t grow tense when discussing her background in painting and drawing. Shifting tenses, however, is another story.
“I shouldn’t say ‘was,’” Bastian said. “I’m still trying, but being a stay-at-home mom, you know, it’s hard to get it all done.”
Bastian is the mother of a 14-month-old daughter, Vera, but her new role as inaugural director of the St. Charles Arts Council figures to help accommodate the family, as Bastian can complete much of her work from home. A volunteer organization since its fall 2010 inception, the growing arts council made Bastian its first non-volunteer employee this month.
“It has come to the point where the amount of work that needs to be done, we have to have somebody who’s going to be stable and consistent and be able to do it with regularity that a lot of volunteers aren’t able to stick in that time,” council President Peggy Sue Seehafer said. “So, Alison was a fabulous pick. We are thrilled with the applications we got, and she was first choice.”
Bastian lives in St. Charles with her husband, Jonathan, and the couple’s daughter. She originally hails from Connecticut and began her studies in the northeast, earning a Bachelor’s of Fine Arts from Suffolk University in Boston with a minor in art history.
From there, she moved to the Chicago region – her husband is from Yorkville – and worked as an artist and studio assistant. When the Bastians lived in Batavia for a time, she served as a resident artist and volunteer at nearby Water Street Studios while pursuing a master's in art history and a museum studies certificate from Northern Illinois University in DeKalb.
Bastian boasts further experience as the anthropology collections manager at The Field Museum in Chicago and as lead educator at the Downers Grove Museum.
“This seemed to be a really good fit in terms of wanting to be involved in the arts and also wanting to kind of set down some roots in the community,” Bastian said.
The arts council welcomes all types of art forms – including graphic, plastic, decorative, architecture, crafts, literature, poetry, music, theater and dance – from practitioners of all ability levels.
For more information, visit www.stcharlesartscouncil.org.
The organization is hopeful to advance its pursuit of creating a municipal arts center. Whether objectives fall in the long- or short-term, Bastian beams at the opportunity to work in art again.
“I’m really excited to come on board and hope that we can do some great things for the community this year, and the artists in the community,” she said.