Article by Elle Lamboy and Karen Hendricks
This spring, we turn to a number of community leaders to explain how the arts intersect with their work. This series is leading up to the “ABC 50/50” campaign set for April 26-28: Look for exciting details to come regarding Arts Benefit Children (ABC)!
Today’s article is the second in this community-based series, featuring Marty Qually, who serves as one of 3 Adams County Commissioners.
Politics and the arts rarely mix—especially in the current Presidential campaign climate!
But, that’s what makes Adams County’s only Democratic Commissioner, Marty Qually, unique.
Marty was first elected to the Board of Commissioners in 2011 and is now serving his second term.
According to the county’s website, prior to becoming a County Commissioner, Commissioner Qually was an Adams County Auditor. With his background as Auditor, much of his focus as a Commissioner has been and continues to be promoting projects that are both fiscally responsible and sustainable. Commissioner Qually also serves on a number of boards including the Adams County Economic Development Corporation and regularly attends community meetings focused on quality of life, economic sustainability, and rural concerns throughout the County.
The Commissioner is a “strong advocate for the arts.” While he confesses he, “couldn’t draw a straight line” as a child, he started exploring various art forms after college. When he was introduced to the art of dreamcatchers, he discovered his niche. Crafting his dream catchers and developing his own personal style encouraged Marty to create his own hand-blown glass beads. Through this creative process, he discovered his inner artist and found his first creative outlet as an adult. When asked how others can find their creative outlet he suggests, “Try lots of different creative things until you find your own niche.”
As Commissioner Qually’s experience shows, art doesn’t always come naturally but it’s important to keep exploring until you discover the area of art that clicks with you personally. Commissioner Qually didn’t start out in the arts field, but through exploring several art forms, he found something that allowed him to create beautiful things and express his creativity. As the Commissioner observes, “art adds beauty to our world and we all need a little beauty in our lives.”
The summer camps and classes at the Adams County Arts Council (ACAC) are the perfect launching pad for “finding your niche” as an artist. Many of the individuals at the camps are trying an art form for the first time; and all of the instructors embrace both novice and expert arts alike. With over 30 camps and classes at affordable price points, taking a summer class often ignites the inspiration to unlock one’s inner artist. From cooking classes and wine tastings, to writing workshops and computer lessons, to pottery and painting, the ACAC has something for all ages and levels of interest.
Commissioner Qually is a huge supporter of the camps and saw a creative awakening in his son through the camp experience. His son, “attended several pottery camps at ACAC and realized he has a gift and passion for sculpting.” The best part about his son’s experience, Qually continues, is that his son “learned to be creative for its own rewards and not for others’ approval. His artwork is an outlet for him.”
Above all, Commissioner Qually feels his affinity for the arts has helped him be a more creative diplomat, sharing, “As a public servant, I think of the county as a canvas and there are 100,000 people with paintbrushes. My job is to help all of them paint this county into something better than it was.”
We hope you join us online, to transform and enrich the lives of area children, April 26-28, for ABC: 50/50 (Arts Benefit Children). This is the 3rd annual ABC event, which has proven to be a successful event with great community support for which we (and many area families) are extremely thankful. It has also proven to be an essential event, supporting scholarships that have allowed dozens of area children to attend summer arts camps as well as arts classes throughout the year. Stay tuned for more details on the upcoming 2016 event!