How does a man who worked for 20 years in operations and marketing in the bike and ski industry end up as executive director of an art center? Dance instruction for kids, fine art exhibits and jewelry classes are a far cry from working in the sports world.
Vin Quenneville says that his business experience and skill set were exactly what the Jansen Art Center was looking for. Vin knew from the very first time he stepped inside that he wanted to be part of the J. He loved the elegance, the welcoming aesthetic, the people, the big windows and gorgeous wood floors. He was ready for a work-life change. He was seeking something that he could bring deep passion to and he felt he could learn from the strong art community already thriving there. The J turned out to be exactly what he was looking for as well.
Vin is an avid mountain biker and outdoor enthusiast. He was hired as director of sales and operations with Canfield Brothers Bike in Bellingham in 2012. Ultimately though, it was what the region offered for their personal interests that brought he and his wife, Kristin, to the west from Vermont. Both are originally from Connecticut.
When not working or riding mountain bike trails, Vin expresses his creative side and builds unique rustic furniture. He loves to cook and he and his wife adore scenic road trips.
The Whatcom County arts community is tremendously vibrant, but nothing nearby is quite like the Jansen Art Center in Lynden. The J is a hub where people of all ages come to make and experience art. Six major studios offer comprehensive, hands-on instruction in ceramics, dance, fine art and painting, jewelry, music and textiles.
The gallery hosts four exhibitions that revolve around the theme of seasons. The popular juried exhibits elegantly fill the building with select art. Quarterly openings are a buzz of activity and combine musical performances (with local musical talent) and other artful events. The J also features a café and a gift shop. The facility is available to rent for special occasions. Even when it’s bustling with activity, the venue feels warm and intimate.
The founding ideals of the J’s mission statement, “to be a place for artists to create, teach, share and engage the community in an appreciation of the arts,” are threaded through every part of the center’s activities.
Heidi Jansen Doornenbal, the founder, is still at the core of the J, and an integral part of its non-profit center. She said, “I don’t think I’ve ever done anything in my life that I am this passionate about.”
Vin’s role as Executive Director is to support her vision and to sculpt the business and marketing side of things. He also works to inspire and nurture collaboration between all the studios, the gallery, the staff and volunteers.
I first met Vin when I was working my way into the art scene at the J. I felt very welcome at the center, and it was a pleasure to meet Vin as he integrated into his new position. With his accessible demeanor and bubbly personality, Vin made an immediate positive impression. He gave me his full attention and his follow through was impeccable. I felt really taken care of. Customer service is an important part of Vin’s work.
Café patron, Maria Risener says, “Vin is highly approachable and friendly. Talking with him, you immediately feel at ease. His passion for the J is clear and contagious. He’s always ready and available and more than willing to talk with patrons, and not only welcomes but solicits public opinion and interests. I’ve spoken to him at the Jansen on several occasions and he took my thoughts (and even my suggestion to serve local wines!) to heart. He’s a tremendous asset to the J and to our community.”
Judith Gauthier, lead instructor for the center’s Jewelry Studio says, “Experiencing Vin as our newest director has been a wonderful, exciting time. His enthusiasm is contagious and he makes everyone feel excited about all the possibilities and opportunities that we have available at the J.”
Exhibits Manager Karen Bacon says, “Vin brings a wonderful sense of enthusiasm to his role at the J, as well as valuable experience in management, which is helpful on all levels. It’s a pleasure working with him and having his support for exhibits.”
Heidi Doornenbal, founder of the Jansen Art Center says, “Vin brings a sense of unity and vibrancy to the J. He is held in high esteem by those he interacts with—studio leaders, staff, board and community. Vin is dedicated to fulfilling the Mission and Vision of the Jansen Art Center. We are most pleased to have Vin as our Executive Director.”
Experience Jansen Art Center for yourself and see how you can be involved as a student, artist, audience member or volunteer. When you see Vin, be sure to introduce yourself. He can’t wait to share the J with you.
Jansen Art Center
321 Front Street, Lynden, WA 98264
Hours: Open Tuesday-Saturday
Tuesday and Wednesday: 11:00 a.m. – 7:00 p.m.
Thursday: 11:00 a.m. – 9:00 p.m.
Friday and Saturday: 11:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m.
Closed Sunday And Monday