Erin and Andrew Maker

Donor Spotlight: Erin and Andrew Maker

“If you were in the Barnstable school system, chances are you took an arts class with Karen Maker,” said her daughter-in-law, Erin Maker. “She inspired a lot of artists.”

Karen Maker — a watercolorist, a calligrapher, and a shaper of young minds as an elementary school arts teacher. One of those she inspired was her son Andrew, Erin’s husband.

“I would come home from school, and I had an art teacher who did miniatures in the finest detail in watercolor,” said Andrew. “It was so impressive, and I brought home one of the examples he made. My mom said, ‘I can do that’ and she did miniatures for a phase of her art. She definitely continues to evolve.”

To this day, Karen continues to create; her last name is fitting for someone who will make paintings and greeting cards as gifts for Andrew and Erin to keep (or to give to others). And Karen continues to teach — private arts lessons for children and workshops at the Cotuit Center for the Arts.

Her greatest lesson she has passed onto Andrew? The importance of art — not just in a classroom, but in our lives and our communities.

It’s a similar lesson that was bestowed upon Erin by her parents when she was growing up. “We both come from a liberal arts education where creative experiences are valued in life,” she said. “I give credit to both our parents who taught us that you go to school not to learn a trade, but to get an education, learn how to think, learn how to solve problems, and to find stuff that interests you.”

It was a critical base that informed Erin and Andrew’s value system and the types of causes they wanted to support.

So when Erin first met Julie Wake, not long after she was named Executive Director of the Arts Foundation in August 2015, it was kismet. “I took a meeting with Julie, and it was history ever since,” said Erin, who is an AFCC Patron with Andrew. “We’ve been really impressed with the value the Arts Foundation has for the community and the economy.”

It starts with leadership, which is what Erin said makes the Arts Foundation stand out. “What makes Julie so special is she understands her funders and what they are interested in,” she continued. “What’s great is she’s exposed us personally to the work they’re doing. Relationships like this are built over trust. She’s not only shown us where the need is, but how the Arts Foundation has filled the need and met shortfalls in the community. Their work has only grown bigger in scale over time, and I like that we’re a part of it.”

For Andrew, giving to the Arts Foundation has opened his eyes “to some of the mechanisms that enable artists to live, work and thrive on the Cape. As a student of the arts — and because my mother was my teacher — I guess I kind of thought they always were here. I didn’t completely understand the mechanics of them and the important role the Arts Foundation plays.”

Both Erin and Andrew, who grew up on the Cape and eventually moved back here — the pair have one son, Charlie — emphasized the role that the arts play in the region. “The arts are what embody a community,” said Andrew. “Especially in this year-round community which has definitely grown post-Covid and become younger. I think the arts have been a huge piece of that.”

Click here to learn about the influence that Trish Kennedy has had on her Erin’s charitable giving. And click this link to make a donation to the Arts Foundation that will serve as an investment in all of the arts across all of Cape Cod.