When first visiting Santa Fe in 1999, Susie was pleased to experience it’s beautiful landscape, complex mix of ethnic groups, and amazing variety of visual art. Not long after returning in 2018, Susie felt very fortunate to meet one of Sand River’s earliest residents, Pam Gilchrist, and subsequently move into her sun-filled unit. Having considered several cohousing communities in Washington state, Susie feels Sand River’s commitment to affordability, sustainability, and community has created a living environment that reflect her own values.
After growing up on a dairy farm in northern Minnesota, where a sense of cooperation and neighborliness is a hallmark of rural life, Susie moved to the coastal area of Washington state. For the next ten years, her work and life experiences were varied: living on a Native American reservation and working for a Native family; processing salmon and tuna in fish canneries; becoming one of the first four women to work on assembly lines in a plywood mill after anti-discrimination laws were enacted in the 1970s; and attending Evergreen State College, a public liberal arts college where faculty inspired her to choose teaching as a career.
Susie completed a master’s degree in Women’s Studies at the University of Cincinnati and continued her research interests in American women’s history in a doctoral program at Washington State University. During graduate school, she worked in theater costuming and wardrobe management for several Seattle-based theaters. Her love of textile arts, including art pieces and wearable art garments, has been enriched by the array of contemporary textiles found in Santa Fe’s galleries.
For ten years, Susie taught history and writing courses at the community college level located in the Seattle metro area. Prompted by the millennial generation’s fascination with screens—and images in particular—she began incorporating art history and visual analysis into her courses. Eventually, her interest in visual art led to an arts management job for a small nonprofit arts center located near her family’s farm in Minnesota. Her duties included program management for an artist residency program, grant writing, and assisting the gallery’s curator.
Living in a community-centered organization—and in a region embedded with a rich sense of history—is affording Susie the opportunity to develop many of her longtime interests. To deepen in her interactions with Sand River’s strong, resourceful, and smart women will be a delight.