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Meet Janet Rundquist Quinn

Written by Ruth Morehouse on .

Janet Rundquist Quinn is gentle, feminine, and often soft-spoken and contemplative in her interactions and responses to others. She can work quietly and diligently and has no need to draw attention to herself or toot her own horn. But don’t let her exquisitely thoughtful and calm nature mislead you. Beyond that easy-going, mellow exterior is a woman full of passionate, powerful energy, commitment and steadfastness when directing her efforts toward one of her favorite causes, the Center for the Arts Evergreen.

Janet is halfway through her year as president of the Center’s volunteer board of directors and all of the other board members are grateful and amazed at the enormous amount of problem-solving skills and attention to detail that she has already devoted to the organization.

Janet was actually scheduled to be the vice president in 2012, but when the president-elect had to bow out even before the term started due to unexpected family responsibilities, Janet cheerfully agreed to forego her scheduled year of preparation and jumped right into the intense, demanding, whirlwind of activity that greets each new head of this busy non-profit board of directors. The president has a particularly challenging set of responsibilities.

Janet had already shown her value to the Center in her first years as a board member when she took on the task of an exhaustive, in-depth research into alternative and previously unknown potential sources of grants. In her subsequent year, while still researching grants, she also served as secretary of the board and always provided accurate, consistently thorough records of meetings and other official activities of the overall board and also the Executive Board of the Center.

Janet has a propensity for pitching in and making a difference when needed and this is not her first time directing her energy toward promoting artistic, community endeavors. Janet and her husband Tom Quinn, .a successful Denver lawyer, fell in love with the Nicaraguan people in the early 2000’s and ended up buying and renovating an old, dilapidated building in San Juan Del Sur, Nicaragua. In conjunction with the Jean Breggers Educational Foundation they then offered the use of the building to a community of local artisans, crafters and performance artists as a center for indigenous artistic expression.

For many of these artists it was exhilarating to be making income from their artistic efforts for the very first time.

Tom and Janet spent many years traveling to the country and offering their support and expertise. Eventually, the new dance troupe developed at the center had become successful enough in their own right that they were able to purchase the building from the Quinns. This is when Janet was able to turn more of her attention to the Center for the Arts Evergreen and became active on the board.

Prior to that endeavor in Central America, Janet had spent a number of years teaching art in both elementary and junior high schools in the Denver area. Although they both enjoyed their early married years in Denver, Janet and Tom decided to follow their deep yearning for a more rural, nature-focused lifestyle and moved to Evergreen. They raised two children who are now both in their early twenties.

Janet initially relished the opportunity to relax and just enjoy being a full time mother and homemaker but she is a Doer by nature. It was not long before she was volunteering at Marshdale where her children attended elementary school. When she gets involved, she goes the extra mile. Janet was instrumental in providing substantive improvements in the art programs at that school by creating a sophisticated, enhanced art program, computer accessible to all the teachers and volunteers at the school. She developed a multi-leveled system that was tied to the curriculum of each class and that system is still in use today.

Janet is an amazing, multi-faceted individual who seems equally at home with developing a computer program, creating an organizational chart, spearheading a retreat to determine year-long goals, encouraging a new board member, or preparing the appetizers for an art opening.

On top of all that she is also is an extremely talented artist. She describes her work as “abstract oil painting with an emphasis on natural surroundings.” Her artistic renderings are simultaneously beautifully intense and eerily powerful while also being peaceful, evocative, and inspiring at the same time. I am not quite sure how she pulls it off so successfully, but I believe it is the sign of a really gifted artist. She recently had a show at the prestigious Osmosis Art Gallery. She has also donated her art to the Center for fund raisers and you can find her work in several of the center’s juried shows throughout the year.

Thanks Janet for your devotion to artistic expression and learning in our mountain community.