Personality: Joeffrey Trimmingham

Spotlight on board president of ART 180

9/6/2018, 6 a.m.
What ART 180 does is more than art. The Jackson Ward-based nonprofit creates a space where young people can open ...
Joeffrey Trimmingham

What ART 180 does is more than art. The Jackson Ward-based nonprofit creates a space where young people can open doors to express themselves through the arts and to share their stories with others.

That self-expression benefits not only the youths, but potentially their families and the community.

“The mission is so near and dear to my heart in so many ways,” says Joeffrey Trimmingham, who will become president of ART180’s board of directors later this month.

Now celebrating its 20th anniversary, ART 180 was founded by Marlene Paul and Kathleen Lane to bring artists and volunteers together to work with Richmond’s young people in after-school arts projects that build self-esteem.

Mr. Trimmingham met Ms. Paul by happenstance and began talking.

“She was intrigued by what I was doing and, conversely, I was intrigued by Art 180,”he says. “That led to several conversations, and several years later, I got involved on (ART 180’s) Development Committee because it was an area that I hadn’t served before on a board. I thought it would be a good place to learn about ART 180, as well as make a contribution.”

Located at 114 W. Marshall St., ART 180 partners with other nonprofit organizations to serve youths ages 8 through 18 in Richmond who are living in challenging circumstances. It offers outlets in creative expression for young people facing poverty, the threat of violent crime, substance abuse and other challenges.

ART 180’s programs complement services provided by other agencies to address these challenges. Its programs include contemporary dance, painting, printmaking, community art and gardening, improvisation and self-advocacy through a joint program with the Legal Aid Justice Center. 

About 200 young people are engaged in ART 180’s programs at any given time during the school year, with about 100 participating during the summer.

The organization also operates Atlas, a teen arts center, next door.

Mr. Trimmingham’s life soundtrack is filled with music, art, travel and new experiences.

The eighth child of Irma and John Trimmingham, Mr. Trimmingham moved with his family from Trinidad to Nebraska when he was 9. Arriving one day after a blizzard, he says it was a shock because he had never seen snow before and didn’t know what it was.

“That was a big change for the entire family,” he recalls.

After eight years, the family moved to the Washington, D.C., area before Mr. Trimmingham returned to the Midwest for college and graduate school. He earned a master’s of fine arts in industrial design from the University of Illinois at Chicago in 2006.

“Industrial design was one way that I leveraged my passion for art and things technical,” he says.

Art has always been a part of his life. He played percussion for a significant part of his youth through adulthood, including being part of the marching band at Northwestern University for three years.

“If I hadn’t had music in my life when I was a kid, I wouldn’t be the person that I am today,” Mr. Trimmingham says.

“Those creative pursuits are really very important for young people to develop completely. If they are missing those outlets in school or other parts of their lives, I feel that can be detrimental to them.”