Carrie Boucher is in the rare (but growing) crew of creatives, builders and thinkers who grew up in St. Petersburg and returned home to make a difference. After 10 years in Chicago, Boucher returned home to found NOMAD Art Bus. NOMAD stands for Neighborhood Oriented Mobile Art & Design, a traveling bus that brings art supplies and programming to those who need it most. Much of Boucher's work is in after-school programs, group homes, group foster homes, domestic violence shelters and halfway houses, meeting and serving people in their own communities.
Years in St. Pete
Five-ish. I grew up in Pinellas County and left for 10 years, lived in Chicago and came back and got involved in St. Pete in 2013/2014.
Organizations involved in
My very favorite organization that I’m involved in is the The NOMAD Art Bus, I’m involved in many other projects around but my heart is right in the core of the NOMAD Art Bus.
What gets you out of bed every day?
The work that I love gets me out of bed every day. There are times in my life that I could be relaxing but instead I’m working because I love the work that I’m doing. At the end of every day I have to put it away because I need to rest, but I wake up in the morning ready to go. What gets me out of bed every day is all of the exciting things that I’m still working on and continue to develop and work on every day.
Why St. Pete?
I remember St. Pete when I was in high school – I would come to St. Pete to go to shows, and leave St. Pete as soon as the show was over because it was kind of a ghost town down here. I went to live in Chicago for 10 years and when I came back there was something really exciting going on in St. Pete – and I love to watch it develop and evolve and grow. It’s really exciting to see this city come back to life.
What is one habit that you keep?
Inconsistency, if that can be a habit. I would love to develop a set of habits that I follow every day and create some grid over my life that I could just tick the marks off and get everything done, but I do not have anything like that in my life. I think that keeps things interesting and creative.
Who are some people that influence you?
The people around me every day. I do a lot of work with teenagers in the juvenile detention center and I learn the most from them. I think that we train our brains to learn from people who are ahead of us in life and the “game,” but what I find is the really good learning happens from the kids who are creating their lives every day and who have so much potential and so much ahead of them.
What is one piece of insight - a book, methodology, practice - that you would share with our readers?
With any ideology, I take from it what fits for me and what feels right to me. The insights in the book “The Four Agreements” are kind of the pillars that make my life make sense. I adapt those as I need to and I continue to shift them as I need them, in whatever way they will serve my life.
What is one thing you wish you knew about your work 3 years ago?
I’m going to turn that question around because currently the Nomad Art Bus has programs in places like the juvenile detention center, residential facilities for the Department of Juvenile Justice, group children’s homes, group home for teenage girls, domestic abuse shelters. If I had known three to five years ago, I would have tried to approach those places before I was ready to actually do work in them. I think my life happens really organically, and I respond to things that are going on in real time. If you told me that five years from now I was going to be in a specific place, I might go to that place with confidence knowing that I’m going to be there and it might be too early for me to be there. I think there’s a lot of learning happens because you don’t know what you’re going to know in three years.
A really exciting project called SPACE Craft. SPACE Craft is Social Practice Activating Creative Environments and the crafting of creative environments. It is a two year project that has been commissioned by the Pinellas County Commission and administered through Creative Pinellas. It’s a project I’m working on with my teammates Bridget Elmer and Mitzi Gordon. SPACE Craft will be two 40-foot shipping containers, each divided into two spaces that will travel throughout Pinellas County independently and deliver programming along the themes of Make, Play, Read and Grow.