Article via OlyArts
By Alec Clayton
The art gallery in South Puget Sound Community College’s Kenneth J. Minnaert Center for the Arts will be named for retiring trustee Leonor R. Fuller in honor of her advocacy for arts and education. The dedication event will take place January 24.
Fuller served as the chair of the Women of Washington State Association for Justice (WSAJ), an organization that works to protect the rights of her clients. She was also one of the original board members of the WSAJ Foundation, which supports WSAJ’s work in appeals of cases that benefit people like her clients. She has been elected to the SPSCC Board of Trustees twice and is one of the longest serving community college trustees in the state. She has served on the board of the Olympia Symphony and was chair of the Olympia Arts Commission.
“When I found out that the gallery was going to be named after me, I cried,” Fuller said in an interview with OLY ARTS. “It is a gesture that has profound meaning for me. It is like having a child named after you. The gallery is like my child; I thrilled to have had a part as it grew and flourished into the successful and important component of the college and community that it is today.”
SPSCC gallery director Sean Barnes said, “Leonor has been a longtime supporter of the arts at the Gallery at the Kenneth J. Minnaert Center for the Arts and in the Olympia community. In the brief time that I have known Leo she has shown continued patronage of all gallery events and expressed praise to the faculty and staff of the arts at SPSCC. We’re very excited to have the gallery named after her.”
During her 17 years on the board, Fuller helped guide and support three presidents, worked collaboratively with 11 different trustees, and chaired the board from 2004 to 2006 and 2017 to 2018.
Notable college projects that were completed or underway during Fuller’s tenure include the construction of the Kenneth J. Minnaert Center for the Arts building, the purchase of 54 acres of property for the Center for Continuous Learning at the Hawks Prairie Center, the Health & Wellness Center, and the Craft Brewing & Distilling Center.
“The number one rewarding experience [of my tenure] is being part of the evolution of support we have been able to provide our students,” Fuller said. “SPSCC has made it its mission to provide wrap-around services to help students succeed. These services come in many forms. There is the traditional person-to-person intervention through counseling. There is the use of technology that has enriched the connection between student and professor and student and counselor.
The second most rewarding experience, Fuller mentioned, has been watching the college become a more integral part of the community. “SPSCC is not an introverted institution,” she said. “It is an extroverted college and can be seen and felt everywhere in Thurston County. SPSCC is more than just physically present in our cities; it is considered a crucial partner in the economic development and the quality of life of our region.”
Fuller says she has taken in many art exhibits in the gallery and that her home and law office are full of the many art pieces she has purchased from this gallery. “This gallery is a magnet for members of the public who would normally not visit our campus.”