To AHB patrons and supporters, from now until January 2021 we will bring you a note from the Arts & Humanities Bainbridge staff & board about their work, the lessons they’ve learned this year, what they hope for in 2021, and their vision for a stronger future.
We’ll invite each board and staff member to share their thoughts with us . . .
What is your role at AHB, and what do you enjoy about it?
I serve as President of the Board of AHB. I find board membership, and leadership, allows me to engage in one of my favorite professional activities, helping organizations grow and remain agile enough to meet the challenges of changing circumstances.
How are you involved in the arts?
I am the daughter of a studio artist and grew up surrounded by art classes taking place in the basement of our suburban home into my early teens. My college was up the hill from the Rhode Island School of Design, and I managed to fit in some life drawing classes. I continued to dabble when possible over the years despite a busy medical career. Now that I am retired, I am loving taking watercolor classes at the Winslow Art Center. Additionally, my husband and I lived in Asia for 20 years and very much enjoy the art we have collected during that time, and have started to collect locally. We are avid readers in my household and loved attending Live at the Met to listen to opera at our local cinema before COVID. Music is always in the background at our home ranging from classical to jazz. Since moving to Bainbridge six years ago, I also have become a wood-worker, albeit still a novice, by taking classes at BARN.
What has 2020 taught you both personally and professionally?
As a child psychiatrist for 35 years, I have always been impressed by the resilience of individuals while at the same time appreciate those who are vulnerable. This was reinforced when I lived in Japan and helped with Psychological First Aid introduction to Japan in the wake of the 2011 Great Japan Earthquake, Tsunami, and Nuclear Reactor meltdowns. Actively listening to others allows us to respond appropriately and remain agile with regard to our thinking and actions. This has been true in my time as a psychiatrist and remained so after my Child Psychiatry practice shifted to telemedicine in March. This is why I have also become a team lead for the Psychological First Aid team of Bainbridge Prepares. The AHB staff and board understood that Arts & Humanities Bainbridge might be more important than ever this year in keeping the community connected to the creativity around us. Art transforms and during the pandemic has helped us all manage the stress of uncertainty and physical distancing necessary because of COVID. In addition to growing our online platform, Currents Online, we have had to also find alternates to fundraising, perhaps the most challenging task.
How will you carry those lessons into 2021?
AHB has been a best kept secret for many years. We collaborate with all of the arts and cultural institutions on the island. Our goal in 2021 is to expand the reach of arts and culture on the island to the entire community by growing Currents Online, and increasing awareness of AHB’s role in the Public Art program, and Arts in Education activities. Our direction is very much influenced by the conversations we have with artists, writers, musicians, and community members, listening to what they want and need. Our Art Marketplace and Bainbridge Talent Showcase are offshoots and will grow in 2021.
What excites you about what you’ve learned/the changes AHB has made or will make going forward? Currents Online has become a very powerful platform that will allow the community to learn about all that is going on culturally on Bainbridge. We hope to expand beyond Bainbridge to the rich artistic tradition in other parts of Kitsap County. Additionally, AHB is actively involved in making Bainbridge a Certified Creative District.
What is your vision for a stronger and more sustainable AHB?
It is my dream that every household will routinely look to AHB with its three pillars: Public Art, Arts in Education, and Currents to learn about what they can do to connect to the cultural community that surrounds us and to experience it. In addition, we hope to draw visitors to Bainbridge as a center of creativity in Washington State.
Linda Semlitz, MD Child Psychiatrist. Linda is a retired child psychiatrist who maintained a private practice in Child Psychiatry on Bainbridge Island. She lived and worked in Asia from 1995 – 2014. During that time she worked as a Medical Director and Director of Medical Affairs for Merck, Sharpe and Dohme, a pharmaceutical non-profit mental health organization in Tokyo that provided mental health treatment and disaster response after the 3/11 earthquake, tsunami and nuclear meltdown. She currently serves on the board of the Global Fund for Mental Health. She joined the AHB Board of Directors in 2017.