For the Love of Art Member Profile: Paige Mathew

Pharmacology student, UW
Student member / gift membership since 2013

You’re in the sciences?
I’m a pharmacy student right now.

Do you like it?
Yes! I do.

Why do you like going to art museums?
Being a part of the science world, there’s not a lot of ways to express yourself—everything is black and white. So it’s fun to get out of my box and go explore different museums. And then it’s nice because SAM has a lot of events like Remix.

Paige Mathew, SAM Student Member

Do you think of art as a way to learn about the city you’re in?
Art is definitely a way to learn about the city. In the sciences things are more rigid, with art the rules are more free and free flowing. Exploring helps me express my creativity and have fun, seeing the things in the city. Being a SAM member is a way to get around and learn more about Seattle and what art can do.

No matter what you’re studying, student memberships are discounted to create increased access to art for anyone with a student ID. Consider how art impacts your life  join SAM as a Student Member today!

Photo: Scott Areman.

For the Love of Art Member Profile: Stephanie Daud

STEPHANIE DAUD (+ husband John, kids Iris and Jonah)
Stay-at-home mom
Family member since 2012

What’s your occupation? What are your hobbies or passions?
SAHM (stay-at-home mom). Going places, reading novels, sewing, and gardening.

What’s your favorite SAM location? Do you have a special spot to visit?
My 3-year-old daughter’s favorite spot was the giant rat sculpture, Mann Und Maus, at the Seattle Art Museum. I love visiting the Italian Room—thinking of the families that once used the room gives me an unparalleled sense of history (for the PNW); it calms me and reminds me of what is important in life.

For the Love of Art

What do you love about being a SAM member?
I grew up 100 miles away from any fine art museum, so visiting one was always a special and unique event.

I love that I can now visit what I consider “my” museum in a much more casual way. I don’t have to plan ahead and if I miss something one day, I feel like I can easily return. The museum and its exhibitions are still special, but I have a very comfortable relationship with them now.

I love this story! It’s good to hear about that change in your life. Can you explain more about why you value art as a family?
I think it is important. It’s good to appreciate the beautiful things that people make. I consider John an artist and I am not an artist at all, but I like to look at art.

We want to raise the kids in a place where they are comfortable appreciating art—and not just saying something is pretty, but being able to talk about it on a deeper level. Even if some of the art is weird—that’s ok. It’s really fun to talk about weird art with a three-year-old. It really distills what is going on.

In the 2015 Pop art exhibition, Pop Departures, we saw the inflating water bottle [Ice Bag–Scale B by Claes Oldenburg]. Iris perceives it as a robot because it moves. We talked about why it is moving and that’s what we figured out about it.

I want to raise the children in a way where we can take it for granted that we are going to see these things. To the point where it’s not a special privilege, even though it is. I think frequent exposure can help them understand that art can always be a part of their normal life.

SAM camp is a great way for your little ones to roll up their sleeves and get creative. Camp begins July 11 and SAM members always receive discounted registration. Spots are going fast—sign up your artists in training today!

For the Love of Art Member Profile: Libby Hughes

11th grader
TAG student member

Libby, you’re part of SAM’s Teen Arts Group. Why did you join?
Yes. Because it’s a volunteer service and also because I really, really like art and it sounded really cool to get involved in it.

What do you like about art?
Well, I really like doing art and I like looking at how other people do art and seeing what they think of. What I really like is how people decide to do art, like imagination and stuff like that…

Art is so personal. We have had people sit here and say, “Well, I didn’t like art for a long time and then I realized…”
Well, I used to draw and then became interested in looking at it.

What is your favorite part of TAG?
I really like meeting the people and I really enjoy just interacting with art and doing all these cool things. We did tours for Teen Night Out and just this semester we recorded audio tours which was really cool.

Do you think art is important for society?
Yes, I do. I think it’s a way to express yourself and it triggers emotions. It’s how you portray the world—you’re showing how you see the world to other people.

Do you have a favorite piece of artwork here?
I really like the Italian Room just because I did the audio tour for it. So I learned about it. Yes, I thought it was really interesting. Art-wise, I really like—it’s not out right now but it’s a mouse—looks like a black rat on the bed. That one is my favorite.

Why do you like it?
I don’t know. It’s kind of creepy and I don’t want to be like, “Oh, I like creepy art work,” but I really like artwork where it invokes a lot of emotion. And the first thing you think is, “Oh, that’s creepy” and you think about it a lot and why it’s there. I really like artwork that makes you think.

I like Mann und Mouse. A lot of people like it, actually, which I think is interesting. A lot of kids like it—really little kids. I could see that maybe they think it’s a cute mouse. It’s funny because it is a little bit scary—but little kids are often drawn to scarier things than we give them credit for.
Yes, I think people think kids should be too sheltered but I think people should, even when they are little, know what sadness is and stuff. And artwork can do it.

What role do you think artwork plays in that?
Well, for me it was always a part of it and I always loved to draw and my dad was really into painting, too. He was always showing artwork. I always thought it was a way for people to express themselves. Even things like sadness or dangerous things. I remember when I was little my dad brought home this magazine and it was called High Fructose and all the pictures in it were really creepy, but I thought it was super cool.

Do you know what you want to do when you “grow up”?
I really want to be a character designer for games and stuff.

Do you think being in a museum now relates to that? Is it helping you think about that?
Well, it is definitely a kind of artwork. It’s not exactly the type I was looking at but I do really like looking how other people do it. What kind of artwork other people do and seeing what’s popular and what people like and what’s interesting…

How long have you been part of TAG?
I started last semester and this is my second semester, so about a year now.

Are you going to keep doing it?
Yes, I’m probably going to keep doing it until I graduate. I really like it.

Calling all high-school aged teens—take over the museum during Teen Night Out this Friday, May 6! Get loud with incredible DJs, teen art tours, and art making workshops led by Seattle’s coolest contemporary artists. Free—RSVP on Facebook.

For the Love of Art Member Profile: Kristin Yamada

Fashion trend forecaster, Nordstrom
Member since 2013

What’s your occupation? What are your hobbies or passions?
I am a Fashion Trend Forecaster for the Nordstrom Fashion Office. My greatest passion is travel and my most dedicated hobby is catching live music as often as possible.

What does being a Fashion Trend Forecaster mean?
I work to support various other teams in Nordstrom’s company. My team constantly keeps our eyes on everything that’s going on in culture and the world of fashion so that we can work to help predict—for our buying offices, the right product to buy; for our product group, the right product to develop and design; and then for our marketing group, the right product and trends to tie together in marketing campaigns and catalogs.

Eventually, for the Nordstrom customer, when they are shopping, it’s all cohesive. They’re seeing the same themes in our Nordstrom stores, product lines, and marketing that are important and trending at the moment. It’s a lot of in-depth research, collaboration, and intuition.

What does your day-to-day look like?
Day-to-day is very busy. We are constantly keeping track of all things on the rise. We follow runway, street style, blogs, forecasting agencies, and culture at large. We incessantly travel and shop the markets, whether it’s trade shows and fashion weeks or just hitting retail to see what’s currently on the floor.

We come back to the office, discuss everything we’ve all seen, and connect the dots to align on what we believe in. We answer the question: “What trends are right for our Nordstrom customer?”

It sounds fun.
Lots of fun! It is hard work, but it’s a great team so we have a ton of fun doing it.

SAM Member Kristin Yamada2

That sounds fairly creative. Do you see ties between what you do and the art world?
Absolutely! I think that’s half of why I love SAM so much—just going to the museum. Half the inspiration I take for myself, my own creative projects at home and just being inspired, and of course the other half is it helps me with my work.

I love going to SAM and coming back inspired by either a piece or the mood in the museum. It wasn’t too long ago that you had Future Beauty, with all the amazing Japanese designers. There’s never a time when I come out of SAM that I don’t feel inspired either personally or for my work.

Do you think things like art and fashion are essential to society?
Yes. I think fashion is a part of art—in general the bigger picture of art—and I think art is…it makes life fun, right? We need to eat and sleep, but it’s all the other colorful things between that make everything exciting and worthwhile.

That’s definitely a yes for me.

What do you love about being a SAM member?
What I love most about being a SAM member is not only the unlimited access to such wonderful and endless inspiration for work and personal life alike, but also all the joys of the SAM community.

SAM Remix is always marked on my calendar! It brings such a creative group of people together to collaborate and celebrate the beauty of art. And who doesn’t love a reason to costume and dance?!

What’s your favorite SAM location? Do you have a special spot to visit?
It’s hard to choose one location over another. SAM downtown is at the core of my earliest museum memories and the beautiful walk through Volunteer Park to get to the Asian Art Museum is half the fun in visiting. However, if I have to pick I’d select the sculpture park. In the summer, doing crafts while overlooking sailboats in the sunset, with live music at your back…it’s hard to beat.

Remix is very social—is art a social activity for you?
Yes, I love Remix and I go to pretty much every single one of them, not just because it’s the fun party, the great art, the crafts, the dancing, but also for the SAM community, the arts community, which is strong here.

I think it would be a very rare occasion to go to a SAM event and not walk away having met some very interesting people—and quite often people that I keep in touch with. I think the community is a huge part of why a lot of us come to the events.

So what prompted you to join SAM?
I joined…I believe…My earliest memory of SAM is from when I was very little. The King Tut exhibition was traveling and I visited with the family years and years ago.

And I was around growing up but then I moved away to New York so I would pop in when I came to visit. It was in the past couple of years, when I moved back to Seattle permanently, that I had the opportunity to join SAM as a member because I had the opportunity to visit more often.

And of course when there is something you enjoy so much, it’s great to be able to support that cause. You feel like you are doing your piece to make sure that it lives long.

Join Kristin as a SAM member today and don’t miss our upcoming SAM Remix on March 11—members save on tickets and enjoy a special members-only bar at the event.

For the Love of Art Member Profile: Laurie Strong

Retired psychotherapist
Individual member, first joined 1996, lapsed then rejoined 2014

Why do you come to SAM?
I come to SAM to be reminded and inspired. After retiring I turned toward my first love: art. Making, seeing, thinking, dreaming art of any and all sorts. Easily visiting SAM more frequently is the inspiration for my current move closer to Seattle. Until you asked, I didn’t realize what an influence SAM is in my life, even though I haven’t visited that often (but soon will!).

I want to ask more generally about what role you think art plays in society. Do we need art?
We absolutely need art. I was a child psychotherapist for many years, studied at UW, what-have-you, and art therapy was at the very beginning. It’s kind of out of favor now, but you know, to communicate with an incommunicative child through art is a wonderful thing. As a young woman working there I would sit on a little bench like this, and he would draw and I draw.

Art is communication to me, absolutely, always. And it communicates how you feel, it communicates how you see. Going through the art museum you don’t see a lot of angry stuff, but there is a lot of anger in art, it just explodes and sometimes you just absolutely know what the artist was feeling, even if you are totally wrong—so yes, to me art is ultimately communication.

And then, depending on who you are, if you are attuned to pattern or you’re attuned to color—and some people are and some people aren’t—then the patterns in a piece of art, and how they play…it can be calming or exciting.

The patterns in art and the colors in art really connect to our emotions because of what’s in us, not so much because of what’s in the artist. Because we intrinsically see and put things together in a way that is specific to us as individuals.

Laurie Strong
Do you make art?
I do! I actually made these earrings.

When you get old you can’t wear heavy earrings and I always, because I was so tall, wore big, bulky earrings and had to give them up. So I just started making these and I do a variety of things. You can look at my website. On my blog you will see what I do.

I started out in life being very attracted to the arts and doing art in grade school and what-have-you and then you know, because of when I was born and real life, you had to do something to support yourself. I had children and we didn’t have that much money and my art just went by-the-by and took second place. Then as I got older, when I was the director of the mental health center in Port Townsend…if you threw a rock up there you would hit an artist or a gallery. And so we had art therapy for the adults there.

We had a whole program and a lot of the schizophrenic patients and other people like that did art. We would put on art shows periodically and then various staff who wanted to would put on another show. If you look at my blog you’ll see that way at the bottom is a book art that it’s obviously an Indian image. It’s bright red. That was the first thing I did when I was at that center and we started doing art. Then I just totally got back into it again. That’s me and art.

That’s great! That’s really fun. Did you raise your family around art?
Yes. I did and I didn’t. One of my sons thinks he’s doing art. He unfortunately suffers from mental illness so sometimes he does these things. But my daughter makes her living doing art in Monterey and the Peninsula with all those rich people down there. She does decorative household art. Some people flew her to France to make the steps in their villa look older and be decorated. Nice life indeed! She really works hard and I think on her website you can see her doing art in a rotunda—she’s an artist. That’s actually a very old-fashioned way to earn a living as an artist. Like Michelangelo used to do. House decorator.

And her son is a photographer and he lives here. And my other son has no artistic talent whatsoever. There’s always one. My daughter and her son are practicing artists so she makes her living doing art and her son has had photography shows and what-have-you, I’m not sure he’s doing a lot of it right now.

Do you have a favorite piece of art here? Do you have a favorite in general? Do you like a genre?
Here? No. Things change for me. I like art as color and pattern and decorating so there is something I would like in that, that I might not like someplace else. I am pretty broad, actually. You know, I’m not all that impressed by Rembrandt, because the subject matter is boring to me. I like more splash.

It all depends, you know. I just love lots of different things.

Join Laurie as a SAM member today.

For the Love of Art Member Profile: Brian Nova

Jazz musician
Friend member since 2004

Brian Nova has been a member of SAM for over a decade. His membership—like all memberships—supports programs at the museum, including tours and workshops for students, talks by visiting artists from across the world, and the preservation of more than 24,000 objects in our collection.

When we sat down to talk on a sunny day at the Asian Art Museum in Volunteer Park, Brian had just flown in from Napa Valley. He’s a jazz musician, and travels all over the country playing music. His enthusiasm for the arts was catching, and we all felt lucky when he picked up his guitar and played for a little bit as his picture was being taken.

What role does art play in society?
As a touring jazz artist, for me art plays one of the most important roles in society. It unites people of all races, religions, and cultures by giving us a deeper, more meaningful connection. Art forces all who look, feel, or listen, to look, feel, or listen a little deeper. Art helps us to look within ourselves as well as each other.

Art is the fiber that allows connections between those who dwell there. When we look back upon past cultures, past societies, it is the art of that culture, the art of that society, that is remembered, admired, and built upon.

You’re a jazz musician! What do you play?
I play guitar and sing.

You do this professionally?
I do. I tour all over the world doing this. It’s my job. I tour with a lot of different people. I just moved back to Seattle; I was living in the South for a while. I grew up in Seattle. I spent a lot of time on Capitol Hill and in Volunteer Park.

The Asian Art Museum was always a place I would hang out, write music, and just become one with the place.


Do you have memories of the Seattle Art Museum?
Oh, absolutely. I remember coming in the ’60s and early ’70s when I was a kid. My parents dragged us through—as kids we didn’t want to come.

Since then I have brought my niece and nephew both to the Seattle Art Museum and the Asian Art Museum—twice this past year. Getting them used to the world of museums and world of history and getting a bit of art and culture in their lives. It’s getting harder and harder to find and I travel all over the world. So when we have a place like SAM here, I say, “You kids are coming with me.”

Why do you think that’s so important for them?
Well, I am an artist. This is my world. So without art…you know, it’s the lack of art in our culture that has given us no back-up. For me, when I travel around the world, what stands out from all the old civilizations is their culture and that’s all it is. No one cares about their commerce; no one cares about anything else. Maybe a little bit of architecture and science, which is still art. That is what holds true in every society. We are looking for: “What is your culture?”

To be able to look back at other cultures and get an eye into what they were thinking and going through—I think that’s invaluable. I think the arts, coming from the music side—they’re essential for growth in kids.

I think that at any age you are never too old to pick up an instrument; you are never too old or young to come into the museum and learn about the world, art, and culture. To me that’s why places like SAM are so important.

How long have you been a member of SAM?
Since the late ’90s. I have belonged to the de Young Museum in San Francisco from about the same time.

Do you remember what prompted you to join?
Yes, actually, it was through jazz. They had just started doing the Art of Jazz program at SAM. I got called to do it. I was blown away at how gorgeous it was.

Also, I lived in a building not too far away and my neighbor worked at SAM. She said if I wanted to go she could get me a pass. I went with a friend and I couldn’t believe Seattle has a place like this. With the Hammering Man and all…

I thought wow, this is really different than I remember. SAM was around when I was young but not as prolific as it is today—and with the park…! It’s pretty cool with all the events they are doing and everything.

SAM has really grown up and I am just so happy to be here.

Join Brian as a SAM member today.

For the Love of Art

When we think about what SAM is—What makes us stand out? Why do people want to spend time here?—the first thing that came to mind is you.

Without all the people walking through our doors every day, bringing great energy, insight, and passion to the art, SAM wouldn’t be the same. Without your voices and active eyes and ears, our events wouldn’t be anything at all.

And when we drilled a little deeper, to ask why you come here, we decided that instead of guessing, we should go straight to the source, and ask our members.

Everyone had fascinating things to say. Everyone has a story to tell.

We were overwhelmed with great responses about how people feel about museums, about SAM in general, with memories of people’s creative childhoods, and explanations of what their favorite piece of art is and why.

There was a common thread—when you get right down to it, people come to SAM because they love art. They live creative lives because they love art. They come to events and connect with others because they love art.

Everything we do, too—the exhibitions we bring, the events and programs we organize, the efforts we make to bring Seattle together as a community—it’s all for the love of art.


We had such an amazing time talking to our members! Your feedback fuels our work, and makes us want to do even more to connect art to life.

Keep an eye out for these member stories over the coming year. We’ll feature the interviews on the blog once a month. (Pssst: Sign up for our enewsletter so you know when the interviews go up!) You’ll also start to see “For the Love of Art” pop up in the museum and in SAM magazine, our print newsletter for members that goes out three times a year.

And—we’re going to want to hear your story, too. Keep an eye out—we’ll be asking you why you love art and what you do to show that love.

Want in on the fun? A great way to start building your art community is to join SAM as a member and get to know all these other amazing people.

Photos: Scott Areman.