Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Boys and Girls, in the Center Ring, An Amazing Architect!

The following is an excerpt of an interview of architect Mary Cyr conducted by Mel. Edwards for the Votre Vray Creative Women project.

Many people “oh” and “ah” over artwork and glamorize the technical skill and hard work that goes into creating a piece. The same goes for the effort that is required to be an architect. Many artists often are astounded when non-artists exclaim, “Oh, I could never do that. You’re so talented,” completely discounting the fact that anyone good at her art must show up at the drawing table again and again, ready to work, regardless of inspiration. “They make you sound like a lion tamer or something. Then I wonder why my life isn’t as glamorous as they think.” Mary Cyr was guilty of such feelings as a child, “I felt like I couldn’t do math. I think only teachers make less (than artists and architect).”

Still she made the leap with a little help from those who fostered her spark. Who supported her dream? “I had several ‘angels’ come into my life as I needed them. The first was my undergraduate Art History professor, Dr. Rosa, with whom I did an Architectural History tutorial in contemplations of a career in Architecture and who saw that my sculpture was definitely growing towards an architectural expression. I had two professors in graduate architecture school, Professor Adele Santos and Professor Urs Gauchat, who saw value in my word and encouraged me to nurture it. I had wonderful employers. My first job (at the now defunct The Architect’s Collaborative), my mentors were Vick Madera and John Weigel, who encouraged me to take on more responsibility in my first foray into the ‘real’ world. Oliver Egleston, the former president of Shelley Bullfinch & Abbot supported me by showing me that midlife transitions are nothing to be afraid of. Most recently, Bill Quatman, FAIA who is an attorney practicing construction law in Kansas City has been a great fan of mine as I sought his support in my establishment of my Architect-led Design/Build company.”

Mary states, “The life of an artist is a real lone existence. At age 20 I knew that I wanted to be more deeply connected to the community. What I do now has the self-discipline of art but much of my work is for non-profits. I’m doing an RFP this morning.” Mary has spent twenty-five years as an architect and ten of those years running a sole proprietorship. I’d like to grow and have multiple streams of income that all are intertwined: an art gallery in my office, a small non-profit studio/artists incubator for emerging artists, my design and build company, and ideally, I’d like to go back home to Boston.”

“I’m ready to step out of my profession, not to abandon it, but to take a chance and see what happens when I allow more into my creative life. Not only does that not scare me, it makes me excited about my future.” Little does she know, her passion excites others too.
Mary Cyr’s business can be found at: http://www.cyrarchitects.com/

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