For Capital Arts director, art is both personal, expressive

News Tribune file photo: 
Capital Arts executive director Sarah Scheffer hangs up pieces with the help of her son, William, 8, for the “Emerging Artists Exhibition.”
News Tribune file photo: Capital Arts executive director Sarah Scheffer hangs up pieces with the help of her son, William, 8, for the “Emerging Artists Exhibition.”

Writer and artist Elbert Hubbard once said, "Art is not a thing; it is a way."

For Sarah Scheffer, art is a core aspect of everyday life.

Scheffer has been an artist ever since she could hold a crayon. Now, she is also the executive director at Capital Arts -- a nonprofit community gallery in town -- and an art teacher at Calvary Lutheran High School.

She was named the new leader at Capital Arts in February. There, she takes on an all-encompassing role. Marketing, administrative work, creating displays, overseeing classes, finding new artists and advertising are just a handful of the tasks she tackles regularly.

Since taking the reins, Scheffer said the first few months have been "pretty hectic." She has been working to make Capital Arts bigger and better than it was before the pandemic.

"We had a lot that we had to organize and plan," she said. "We were also building up a ceramics studio, so there was a lot I had to do with that."

Now that she's settled into the position, Scheffer hopes to expand existing programs and create new ones.

"I'd like to bring art into the community more with a community exhibit program," she said. "That would be where artists pair up with local businesses and have display opportunities."

The art of teaching

As a teacher, Scheffer aims to bring out the artist in each of her students.

"It's so important to instill a love in young artists for art," she said. "My relationship with my own art teachers in the past, the love for art they gave me; I hope to do that for my students."

Working with kids is what drives Scheffer. Between the children's programs at Capital Arts and teaching, she wants to show children the significance of developing a love for art.

"Art is good for so many other things too, including developing skills in other areas, like math. Art and math go hand-in-hand," she said.

One of Capital Arts' programs that Scheffer is most passionate about is Art Heals, a program for people who are experiencing adversity to create art in a supportive environment.

"I love the idea of using art to heal people, whether that's physically or mentally," she said. "Or just giving populations that don't normally have access to art that access."

An artist herself

When it comes to creating her own art, Scheffer's work is personal and expressive.

One of her favorite pieces she has created recently is a charcoal portrait of a friend posing in the woods. The artwork features shading and intense detail with pops of white.

"With charcoal, I love to get into the emotional feeling you can create with those rich black and white tones," she said.

When she's not teaching or working at the gallery, Scheffer uses her free time to practice photography, cook, garden, bird watch and spend time with her 8- and 4-year-old sons.

With regards to hobbies, Scheffer has picked up boxing photography – taking pictures at the local boxing club's fights.

"That's probably my new favorite thing to photograph. It's hard, it's fast, low lighting," she said. "I love that hectic environment."


In the accompanying video, Capital Arts Executive Director Sarah Scheffer talks about her goals to expand Capital Arts.

  photo  News Tribune file photo: Sarah Scheffer is seen in 2021 at ElmSt. Boxing Club. The Jefferson City artist was recently named the new executive director of Capital Arts.
  photo  Jordan Thornsberry/News Tribune photo: One of Sarah Scheffer's favorite art pieces she has recently created is a charcoal portrait of a friend in the woods. Scheffer's favorite art mediums to use are charcoal and paint, and she enjoys drawing portraits the most, she said.

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