This periodic series of three images and responses to questions tells the stories of people of The Valley who love what they do. . . As Confucius once said, “Choose a job you love and you will never work a day in your life.”
This month features Rita Ioannidis, artist and owner of Art in the Village in Warren.
How long have you lived in Vermont and where did you grow up?
I have lived in Vermont for nine years – I was born in Newfoundland, Canada, and have lived in Toronto, Florida, Texas, Boston, New York and the Caribbean. I still have family in Canada. I became a U.S. citizen on December 14, 2022.
What did you want to be when you grew up?
From a young age I always wanted to be an entertainer/actress but it didn’t happen because I married at age 18. The closest I came to this dream was being a medal-winning Irish step dancer from the age of 10-14 when I traveled to competitions in Canada and America and loved it.
What was your first job and how did you get it?
My first job was a counselor at a day camp in Toronto – I was 14 years old and worked with 7-10-year-old children and they won all the awards like best spirit, best sport award, etc. I applied for the job and was selected.
Who was the biggest influence in your decision to choose the work you now do?
Dotty Kyle, an artist and longtime resident of The Valley encouraged me as an artist and to exhibit at the Red Barn Art Show. Gary Eckhart, another artist, helped me with advice when I started my business. He is a great mentor and among other things, he taught me how to see art to sell it.
What steps did you take to get where you are today/what sacrifices have you made to get to this point in the work you do?
I just did it – if I thought about it too much, I probably wouldn’t have done it. I don’t think anything I do is a sacrifice because I love it so much!
What is the best job advice that you’ve ever received?
Whatever you put your mind to you can do and never give up.
What are you most grateful for in your life?
I am definitely grateful for my family including my four sons, my daughter-in-law and my new grandson and also my art.
How do you give back?
I give back by helping as many Vermont artists as I can. I try not to say no.
What do you do in your free time?
I spend my free time with my son and walking my dog, Benji. If I have any extended free time, I visit my grandson, Casey.
Do you have a favorite quote that you live by?
My favorite quote is, “Just Do It”!