Oct 2, 201703:38 PMBlog
40/40: Art for the public & homes, too
Rebecca Solverson is unique in a number of ways beyond being named to 2017 “40 Under Forty” recognition. She is a true Tacoma native, who followed School of the Arts graduation with college studies in New York, then came back home as the first staff member for Spaceworks Tacoma in 2010.
Today, as a public arts specialist with the City, she manages public arts projects, “more than excited to be working in (my) hometown,” she says. But her passion expands beyond her work, to the benefit of Tacoma Tool Library, a non-profit that she founded to provide residents with temporary use of equipment and tools for their do-it-yourself projects.
“I am passionate about community, good ideas, and scheming,” Solverson says. “As a native Tacoma, I can deeply about people here, our built environment and our opportunities for a better quality of life.
“I love ideas that are win-win-wins, especially if they improve local quality of life.”
That is an apt description for Tacoma Hilltop resident Rebecca Solverson, and merits her selection for “40 Under Forty” recognition.
In slightly different ways, Jason Gauthier is also building the community, through his position as director of operations for Tacoma/Pierce County Habitat for Humanity.
He moved here from rural Wisconsin for a one-year AmeriCorps assignment, then returned to the Midwest to work in affordable rental housing, before realizing in 2011 that Tacoma was now “home” to him and his wife. They returned and he joined the staff of this non-profit that helps families build into home ownership.
“(I) realized the place I felt that I could best impact a community was in Tacoma with Habitat,” Gauthier says. Indeed, under his operational leadership, the organization not only expanded its new homes projects into neighborhood developments, but he is also providing statewide leadership.
Of all of the things he has accomplished, Jason says he is most proud of successfully lobbying for a property tax exemption on raw land held for affordable homeownership at the state legislature. “I know it’ll continue to improve access to affordable housing for decades to come.”
Gauthier is also passionate about Rotary (he’s a board member for Tacoma Sunrise club) for its commitment to serving the community locally and worldwide. “I’ll always be a kid from a small town in Wisconsin (who) gets to live in a community that accepts my occasional essentricities,” he says.
Meet Rebecca and Jason, plus 38 other remarkable members of 2017’s 40 Under Forty cohort at the celebration of their honors on Wednesday, October 11, at Foss Waterway Seaport in downtown Tacoma. It begins with a social hour at 5:30 p.m. and the recognition program will conclude before 8 o’clock. Tickets are available at this link.