Eighteen years ago Brenna Lacey walked into The Drawing Studio as a student and since then, her relationship with the organization has only become more colorful. Now she is the president of the nonprofit organization bringing relaxation, community and an artistic outlet to everyone who enters its doors.
“The work of The Drawing Studio is to improve lives through the shared benefits of art-making and arts-related practices,” says Lacey. “We work with thousands of people in Tucson each year, most classes subsidized by private donations, and have students ranging from 9 to 92.” The Drawing Studio partners with various youth programs to give kids the opportunity to improve their visual literacy and ability to learn.
With no background in drawing, Lacey’s involvement began when her husband purchased her a gift certificate and she registered for a class. Since then, she’s been a loyal customer and dedicated leader. “There is an infectious and generous quality about The Drawing Studio, and it’s a happy place,” says Lacey. “The faculty is talented and kind, and there is so much to be learned from them as well as from other students. Quite the melting pot.”
Her volunteer work is not limited to The Drawing Studio. Lacey is a past president of the Jewish Community Foundation and is still a board member. Sustaining and supporting nonprofits has become a calling for her and connects her more to her Jewish values. “Tikkun olam (repairing the world) is a value held dearly in my family,” says Lacey. “There’s no one in my close orbit who doesn’t volunteer or consider it vital to give back.” She believes this tight circle of givers around her helps make her a better person. The Drawing Studio not only fights for the “greater good,” it gives her close friends and introduces her to some very talented people.
Volunteering gives Lacey so much more than a way to do good. “My life is richer for volunteering,” she says. “There is a lot to be learned through working with nonprofit organizations, and I certainly honed a lot of leadership skills by serving on boards. I’ve always said that the best way to feel better about yourself is to do something for somebody else.”