Meet Beth Baker, a Member of SANCA’s Board of Directors
Beth Baker joined SANCA’s Board of Directors in June 2018. She is a Graphic Design and Marketing Specialist who works with clients on visual design and brand strategies for marketing and promotion. She has a bachelor’s degree of fine arts in graphic design from the Rochester Institute of Technology, in Rochester, New York. Beth flies in the SANCA Flying Trapeze Tent every week with the advanced adult flyers, and takes weekly static trapeze classes.
SANCA: How did you become involved with SANCA?
Beth: I moved to Seattle in 2005 from the East Coast (Upstate NY) and had a desire to get back into the performing arts. Back in high school, I used to dance, do musical theatre, and color guard. I had mentioned to my husband about wanting to get back into a creative activity like that. He came across a two-hour flying trapeze class on Living Social, and thought it might be the perfect fit for me.
SANCA: Was there a challenge or barrier that you faced?
Beth: I’m naturally an introvert. The first few classes I took at SANCA I brought friends with me to make taking fly classes more comfortable. Eventually, I wanted to come to SANCA more and more often, so I was forced to get comfortable talking to other students and attending classes alone, not knowing who might be in my class that day. As time went on and I became a regular flyer, I got to be friends with the other frequent flyers, and we established our own friend group, which always makes the SANCA experience more fun! SANCA helped me become more comfortable with meeting new people.
Flying Trapeze is really about getting out of your comfort zone, embracing the fear, and challenging yourself. Once you finally get comfortable with a trick or skill, you switch it up to learn something new, and go through the whole getting comfortable and confident process all over again. It’s a new experience every single class. I love the work out and mental and physical challenges of wanting to be better at something. The community we have in the fly tent is really encouraging. We push each other to do our best and to do the things that scare us when it comes to flying.
SANCA: How has SANCA impacted your life?
Beth: SANCA has given me so much. A place of common-minded community. A place to better my physical wellness. A place to volunteer to not only better SANCA, but to help better the greater Seattle community.
SANCA: Do you have a favorite circus discipline?
Beth: Flying trapeze! Getting out of safety lines on flying trapeze was a huge achievement for me, as was taking my first advanced trick, a pelicano, out of lines.Also performing in SASS last fall on the high static trapeze bar was a major accomplishment. It was really scary and took a lot of work to feel prepared to perform. Although I had performed in the past this felt different because I pushed myself in my act to try harder tricks, and to perform them higher in the air.
SANCA: What inspired you to serve SANCA’s community as a Board Member?
Beth: After being a student for several years, I became interested in how I could help give back to the community. I saw opportunities where SANCA could grow, and how I could be an advocate for that growth. I thought my skill set as a professional graphic designer in marketing could help expand SANCA’s reach in the broader Puget Sound area. Additionally, I thought I could offer a unique perspective from the view of a student and parent of students.
SANCA: We’re facing challenges now with the COVID-19 pandemic. How has your view of SANCA’s role as an arts organization in Seattle changed or been influenced by this challenge?
Beth: As much as this pandemic has been an extreme challenge for SANCA as an organization, I believe SANCA has made significant strategic moves to ensure SANCA’s survival and eventual re-emergence. I don’t think my view of SANCA has changed much. I think we have always been a shining example of inclusivity and ingenuity, and we continue to be. I also believe our organization has used this time wisely to re-evaluate organizational priorities, with the hope that we will come out the other side of this pandemic stronger financially, more equitable, and as a continued leader in the Seattle arts community.
SANCA: Given the recent incidents of injustice and racism, and long-standing inequities that are profoundly affecting black and brown people right now, do you have thoughts on how the arts in general, and SANCA in particular, can support efforts for justice and equity?
Beth: Education. Listen. Constructive Dialogue. SANCA is doing the work, but we do have a way to go, as do a lot of other organizations. This is not a problem that is going to be solved quickly. Support cannot be just temporary and for appearances. To have justice and equity be sustained long term, it’s how we as an organization respond to and grow from mistakes made by the larger global community, or internally within our own organization.
Interview by Jeff Deveaux, Development Director