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Art Ambassador of the Month - June 2018

Written By Jim T. Gammill
Arts Council Menifee

Charlotte Parker was born in Orange County and lived in Los Angeles with her mom and brother until she was about 15 years old. It was at this time that the family decided to move to the San Diego area and came to call the city of Fallbrook home. Parker loves the north county area, a place that she affectionately refers to as "the avocado capital of the world."

It was while living in Fallbrook that Charlotte met young artist Harmony Morrison, with whom she instantly connected. The two became quick friends and their relationship soon progressed from casual friendship to that of a romantic partnership. It was Parker’s connection with Morrison that first brought her in contact with Arts Council Menifee.

Harmony, a former ACM Artist of the Month recipient, is a very active member of Arts Council Menifee and often displays her artwork at the seasonal art shows held at the Kay Ceniceros Center. Over the past three years, Parker has accompanied Morrison to ACM functions, where she can often be observed setting up display tables, arranging the refreshment areas, or hanging outside signage in order to make the show more visible to the ever-present Newport Road traffic.

"I started helping out with the shows mostly because I wanted to be there to support Harmony and her grandmother (Arts Council Trustee, Linda Morrison). It wasn’t long until I started to enjoy it, I feel so blessed to be a part of Menifee’s rich artistic community," Parker said.

When Parker isn’t helping out with Arts Council events, she enjoys a variety of other interesting activities. Charlotte has been drawn to reading and writing since she was young and has been working on creating a trilogy of fictional books for a number of years.

"The project has been a lot of fun,” Parker said with a smile. “The stories follow two young girls and is in the fantasy genre."

Charlotte has a day job in the customer service industry, but it is what she does in her off time that really stands out. Parker devotes much of her time to other philanthropic causes. She is an animal lover and is constantly picking up stray animals, nursing them back to health, and finding them new homes.

"Last year, I found a beautiful Shepherd-Husky mix outside of the Kay Ceniceros Center after an art show," she recalled. "I ended up taking her home and trying to find her owners for a couple weeks, but in the end we ended up re-homing her because it would have been unfair to her to keep her cooped up in my apartment. We named her Aphrodite after the goddess of love and beauty."

While living in Fallbrook, Parker and a friend started a homeless outreach program called Project Backpack, which they are currently working on to get registered as a non-profit organization. The program has been all donation based and uses various social media platforms to raise awareness and receive funding. Parker synopsizes the mission of Project Backpack as follows:

"We basically try to put as much of what a homeless person might need and fit it in a backpack while still leaving some room for them to put other stuff in it. Items usually include hygiene items, baby wipes, in addition to clean socks and underwear. The night before we go to pass out the backpacks, we usually cook a huge batch of spaghetti and make some sandwiches, so they can get some good food too."

Arts Council Menifee trustee and Visual Arts Co-Chair Linda Morrison had the following to say about Charlotte Parker:

"Charlotte comes early to help set up the Art Gallery at the Kay Ceniceros Center every other month. There are about 40 pieces of artwork that are hung in three separate rooms; with her help we have been able to complete our gallery updates in record time. The gallery is open to the public and proudly features work from local artists.

"She also volunteers at our Art Receptions. There is much preparation that goes on behind the scenes in setting up our shows. Charlotte is always there with a smile on her face doing everything from passing out flyers, putting up banners, helping with refreshments and is always available wherever she is needed. We love her positive ‘can do’ attitude."

In tribute to her countless volunteer hours and tireless commitment, Arts Council Menifee has named Charlotte Parker as its Ambassador of the Arts for the month of June.

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