Courtney Blazon is ZACC from way back – back to the very beginning . This was when the ZACC was an idea, not a place. For Courtney, the ZACC allowed her to root herself in a community of supportive artists. In the summer of 2008, the idea moved into its space and this small group of artists set up shop, painted the walls and started recruiting more support. For months, Courtney spent long days preparing the space for “unveiling.”

Helping kids has always been the glue that holds the ZACC together. When Courtney was a kid, she took art classes that eventually led to her decision to pursue it as a profession. She sees the same thing happening with kids that come to the ZACC, particularly with their exposure to actual working artists.  But it’s more than simply experience. 

“Our hands are connected to our brains. Our spoken language may not be able to articulate pain, joy, fear. For kids that have challenges in their lives, art might be the only way for them to work through it,” she reflects. “It can make emotions smaller in a good way. Since emotions are not tangible, art can make emotions tangible.”

The ZACC is important because as Courtney believes, art is a need. And not simply because it is her livelihood. “It’s a thing you think you don’t need. You think it’s an extra thing that you want. But because art is so tied up with emotion and expression, a lot of people don’t know how to be human without art.”

As much as she loves the intimate feel of the space now, she knows the current ZACC space is bursting at the seams. In the new ZACC, Courtney sees a bigger band venue, a gallery with a permanent collection, a professional services program for artists to figure out how to make a living, a place where ceremonies and celebrations take place. “There’s no limit to what the ZACC could be in the right space,” says Courtney. “It’s exciting to have been here at the beginning and to see it grow again.” 

Draw. Inspiration. Start at the ZACC.