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Meet Advisory Council Member Sue Coon

Arkansas Arts Council - Monday, June 10, 2019

Sue CoonThe Advisory Council of the Arkansas Arts Council is a vital component of helping us keep the arts healthy and alive statewide. Seventeen members are chosen to represent eight Arkansas districts. 

Council member Sue Coon, a longtime painter and teacher, recently took time to answer a few questions about herself and her role on the Advisory Council. Sue is among 16 active Advisory Council members who help the Arts Council. She lives in Melbourne and represents arts, arts supporters and artists in Northeast Arkansas, from Lawrence County to the Mississippi River.

Q. How would you describe yourself?

A. I would describe myself as a retired art teacher who is still painting at the age of 81.

I have always been an artist. My mother said I had a paintbrush in my hand when I was 3 years old. As a teenager, I would stand in front of my mirror and draw myself and ponytail. My school had no art classes, but I wrote my senior paper on "my future career" on Commercial Art. I hold a master's degree in Art Education with an emphasis on Gifted & Talented Studies. I taught art in the Little Rock School System for 22 years. Now, I teach friends and conduct a few art workshops for the Art Guild here in Mountain View. Recently, one of my student-friends and I sat and drew a scene in my front yard. Then, we went to my studio and painted it. We stopped and ate lunch and painted some more. She left, and I called her later in the day to come back. We cropped our watercolor paintings to our satisfaction. She left happy and so was I. It was a good day for painters.

Q. What is your connection with the arts in Arkansas?

A. Besides teaching and painting in my community, my connection to the arts is through my appointment to help make decisions and become more abreast of what is going on with the acquisition and disbursement of funds via the Arkansas Arts Council.

Q. Why is it important to be on the Advisory Council of the Arkansas Arts Council?

A. It is important to me to be on the Arkansas Advisory Council to learn what is happening in our state as far as how the Arkansas Arts Council functions. I had no idea before how it worked, I can take a broader perspective and help locally through my new knowledge.

Q. When were you appointed or how long have you been on the advisory board?

A. I was appointed by Gov. Asa Hutchinson on May 2, 2018, and will serve until June 30, 2020.

Q. What are your biggest accomplishments as an artist or arts supporter?

A. My biggest accomplishments to me are the many people I have influenced and helped through the years. I have won some local awards. I have driven the miles and placed my art work in some big cities but that wore out quickly. I have served as judge for several art shows. I have taught art workshops all over the state through this organization and understand how it works. I have donated several large paintings to my local hospital, local college and other places in town. I taught art workshops for the local art guild for seven years. I am recognized as a good painter and artist and that pleases me.

Q. What would you like to see the advisory board or the Arts Council accomplish this year?

A. Accomplishments for the year could include a broader perspective of the arts in general. We still have schools who cut out arts programs on a regular basis. Art still has a low image on the rung of personal satisfaction for many people. I would love to do what it takes to raise our level of appreciation for what makes our soul sing and shout with joy!