As director of sponsorship development with MICA, Therese Roth has a passion for both volunteerism and the arts. Roth described the volunteers as the organization’s heart while the sponsors are the lungs — together they keep community arts organizations like MICA alive and thriving. Q: How did you become involved with the Michigan Institute for Contemporary Art (MICA)? A: I started by volunteering for BluesFest in Old Town (put on by MICA), so through that I kind of got to know the committee. And then I knew I had to be a part of it. It took over as my passion. The cool thing is that every single person in this organization is a volunteer. We work to produce the Lansing JazzFest, BluesFest and the Michigan Mosaic Music Festival, as well as recently opening the MICA art gallery. When I saw these opportunities working in the community, I had to be a part of it. For me, I think exposure to the arts is not optional. It’s a necessity in our community to enthusiastically support it. I saw all the arts programs getting cut a few years back when the economy was down, and I thought how this is a small way to give back to the arts community — it turned out to be a very large way. Q: What importance does MICA have to the local community WHEN IT COMES TO the arts? A: I think the people, ideas and energy that are focused on creating and supporting arts and music is what’s most important. I think that we act as a catalyst for arts and music programming. All of our money we raise goes back to community development and historic preservation. We’re also reaching outside the bounds of Old Town. Our Mosaic Festival, for example, is in Lansing. Being with MICA is about giving back to the community and feeling a revitalized spirit of Lansing. Our events are completely free, and through them they can enjoy that revitalized spirit. Q: What do you like about the local art scene in Lansing? A: I think our local art scene is phenomenal, especially the diversity and quality of our musicians. It’s dynamic, and it’s a living art. You go to some communities and you see a museum, and it’s all older; our art and music scene is very contemporary and living. I really believe in the power of community. Music and working in the community, it brings joy and hope and it inspires people. It also heals. For me personally I think that’s why I do it. I was a registered nurse for many years, and so I see this as another facet of our community’s health. From a nurse’s point of view, our volunteers are the heart of our organization and our sponsors are the lungs.