A Tribute to the Vision of Lisa Fitzhugh

Produced by Brian Quist in the spring of 2008, “A Tribute to the Vision of Lisa Fitzhugh” commemorates the Arts Corps founder and former executive director, painting a tender and lively portrait of the organization from its humble origins to its present legacy.

More about Arts Corps founder Lisa Fitzhugh:

Photo courtesy of Lisa Fitzhugh
Lisa Fitzhugh grew up in Baltimore the daughter of professional photographer, Susie Fitzhugh, whose photos now grace all of Arts Corps’ materials.

Lisa Fitzhugh grew up in Baltimore as the child of a professional artist who was able to do what few artists do and make a vibrant career out of photography. Watching such a journey up close, however, pushed her away from the journey of an artist and into public policy, something seemingly more analytical and stable. She spent the first 10 years of her career working for elected officials or political consulting firms with her last post as an environmental aide to former Seattle Mayor Paul Schell.

Yet life threw her one of its more challenging hard balls in 1998, and after a year battling breast cancer, she left politics for good and became reacquainted with her deeper artistic roots. With increasing certainty, she realized she wanted to work with art and kids and felt a calling towards arts education, a space and type of learning where children could discover and practice their creative capacities.

Photo © Susie Fitzhugh
Lisa visits an “Exploration in Art” class at St. Therese School.

After much research, she finalized a business plan with the help of her friend Heidi Lasher and started Arts Corps in 2000. The rest is history, as they say. During Lisa’s tenure as executive director, Arts Corps quickly grew into the largest nonprofit arts education organization in the region, connecting more than 10,000 young people with extraordinary teaching artists who modeled a creative journey through a variety of diverse art forms.

In 2008, Lisa Fitzhugh stepped down as executive director to pass the torch to the next generation of Arts Corps leadership. Many of its original founding members, major investors and teaching artists remain to help lead the way to Arts Corps’ next chapter.

Photo © Seattle Woman Magazine
The press and community recognized Lisa as a powerful voice in arts education regionally.

Bringing this organization into being has been the most exhilarating, creative and demanding chapter of my life,” says Lisa in reflection. “Through it, I have discovered my unwavering commitment to help transform education and bring powerful learning and discovery to all young people. All of the people I have connected with along the way have changed how I see the world in a very radical way.”

In addition to spearheading this revolutionary work, our founder Lisa Fitzhugh will long be remembered for her vision and passion, as well as her courage and unflinching insistence for a better world where everyone has the freedom to imagine and the courage to be.

To read deeper into Lisa’s history and the founding of Arts Corps, please click on the following articles links:

November 2006, Seattle Woman Magazine
“Art Becomes Her”

March 2006, Seattle Magazine
“Lisa Fitzhugh: The Art of Survival”

September 2005, Redbook Magazine
“Mothers & Shakers”

Lisa Today

Lisa is now working to facilitate creative practice in the public, private and nonprofit sectors through her consulting firm Creative Ground – www.creativegroundhq.com. She can be reached at lisa@creativegroundhq.com.