Monday, April 4, 2011

Wellness Diva 1: Sarah (La Artista)

Introducing our FIRST Wellness Diva: Sarah Butler.

Sarah is one of my most dear friends. I met Sarah at St. Olaf College our sophomore year, when we were placed next door to each other on the 6th floor of Larson Hall. We soon found out that my Dad's best childhood friend (Also my Godfather) was a very close friend of Sarah's Dad during their medical training! Small world, indeed. During our Junior year, Sarah lived with me and my family in Seattle for our J-Term, where we both did academic internships (and celebrated my 21st birthday quite triumphantly). Senior Year, Sarah and I lived in the same pod (group living space) on campus. We had some wonderful memories (including Franzia, trips to Caribou Coffee, epic Wednesday nights at the bars in Northfield, MN, and my "special streak of fun" during Senior Week, and more). In May, we graduated from St. Olaf (Sarah as an Art Major) and parted ways :(.

A year or two after college, Sarah moved to New York City - where she always wanted to be. Sarah has truly lived her life to the full in NYC from day one, soaking up as much culture and fun as she can, whether it be great restaurants, her favorite gym (Equinox), time with friends, and the art scene. The latter interest - the art scene - is one of Sarah's greatest life passions (if not, THE greatest). Sarah works for Art in America and has an incredible knowledge of not only art, but the art scene in her city.

When I asked Sarah to be my first "Wellness Diva" I immediately thought of "Art" as her "wellness piece" that I wanted to feature in my Blog. While Sarah is truly a well-rounded, healthy, and beautiful women who practices wellness in so many areas of her life, the art factor was the most unique element I could think of. So here we go....

This just in - from Sarah in NYC:

1. When did you first develop your love/passion for art?

Art has been a big part of who I am for my entire life-- I won every coloring contest from the time I could hold a crayon. I grew up drawing and coloring and painting everything I could get my hands on! Then (and I realize that this sounds incredibly cheesy and cliche) when I was sixteen, I visited Musee D'Orsay in Paris and can honestly say that the experience changed my life. I remember standing in front of Manet's Déjeuner sur l’herbe and feeling an overwhelming amount of emotion for the painting before me and for everything that I had yet to learn about it and about the world that allowed it to hang there. I grew up in rural Nebraska where art was such a tiny niche subject taught in elementary schools-- it was while standing in front of that painting in Paris that it hit me that the Art World was much bigger than I even imagined and that I could be part of it someday.

2. Why did you decide to become an art major in college, and choose to enter into an art related profession?

As I said before, I grew up in Nebraska where art was this 'fun' subject taught in elementary schools but not much else. I knew that I wanted to take art courses in college, which is why I applied to St. Olaf College in Minnesota-- they had a beautiful new art building, MUCH grander and nicer than any other that I had visited. However, it wasn't until attending a year of college that I admitted that I wanted to major in Studio Art and Art History. I feared that I wouldn't be taken seriously, but apparently people take the art world very seriously! Who knew!?

The biggest turning point for me in college was an interim spent in New York City studying art and artists and galleries and museums and all that this city has to offer. I was shocked and awed into a stupor with each studio visit and knew that I HAD to be part of the contemporary art community. I luckily scored a position as an assistant in the ad department of a top contemporary art magazine in New York one year out of college, and have since been promoted to a Gallery Account Manager for the same publication. I work in media sales and get to travel the world attending art fairs and visiting galleries representing the publication.

3. How do you feel art contributes to your wellness?

Art keeps me inspired and excited, and therefore happy and balanced. I feel lucky to have something in my daily routine that so instantly challenges, inspires, and affirms my life. Art gives me a focus and a strong sense of gratitude for the life I live in a city that I love. I also feel that it keeps my mind sharp. When I worked in interior design (during my first year out of college) I continually felt that my mind was being wasted by debating fabric samples and paint chips when I could have been discussing philosophy, context, and conceptual ideas. The contemporary art world allows room for critical thinking and a never-ending education. I work my brain daily and feel undoubtedly challenged by this world.

4. Do you still practice art (as far as actually doing art work in your spare time at home or in a studio)? If yes, what are some projects you've been working on or completed recently)?

Every once in a while I pull out my watercolors or pencils to sit down and draw, although honestly I have found more inspiration in supporting other artists work than making my own these days. And when I do sit down to create something, its almost always as a gift or as a commission for someone else. Most of the time I find myself drawing city buildings or stores or brownstones. You'd think I would want to paint the ocean or trees or something different than what I see everyday, but even after living here for four years I am still chasing this passion for my surroundings and want to get this city down on paper.

5. For people who are not experienced artists but want to try something out, what are some recommendations you might have for them?

Go to an art opening (if you live in a city, I guarantee you can find one somewhere on a Friday night! They are free and usually serve wine :) Then afterward, go to dinner with friends and discuss what you saw. The energy created from talking about something critically with varying opinions will shock you in its complexities and give your mind a much needed boost of inspiration. If you don't live near galleries or museums, go to a bookstore and browse the contemporary art book section. Find something that inspires you (you'll know it when you see it!) then go home and draw it. Or write about it, take a picture of it, or post it by your bathroom mirror and live with it for a while. One of my favorite prints that i have in my apartment says 'Live with Art, It's Good for You'. And I firmly believe that!

6. Anything else you want to add?

I also take dance classes, practice yoga, eat (relatively!) healthy, and walk EVERYWHERE. (I don't have a car and I LOVE that about living in New York!) Haha, i just felt like your readers should know that I have a nice balance of wellness that isn't completely dominated by art! Art is simply an equal player in addition to many other aspects that keep my life balanced and healthy. Without it, I would feel a little off, in the same way that I feel off when I miss the gym for a week. Also, I love you, Margie.


Thank you, Sarah B :) I love you too!


  1. Love it! I feel lucky to have such an inspirational sister. :-)

  2. Sarah was the perfect choice for my first Wellness Diva! :)