Tina Maggio is Beautifying Yelm, One Sign at a Time

Tina Maggio is Beautifying Yelm, One Sign at a Time

20150512_100843When you drive by the Yelm Food Co-op, probably the first thing that catches your eye is a sign – a beautifully lettered, colorful, hand-drawn creation advertising produce and wine. That sign and others like it, including the blackboard menu at Garden to Gourmet and posters for Standing Room Only productions at the Triad Theater, all come from one person: local artist Tina Maggio.   Tina regularly volunteers her time and talent at the Co-op.
 
Although she’s been shopping at the store since it opened, she first became a volunteer when the store changed locations. “It wasn’t a conscious decision,” she explains.  “I jumped in because I’d met some really cool people at the former little store. I thought, “They need help.”
 
Her first experience was painting the inside of the new building. “Carol Franks, Linda Shub and I were up on the scaffolding painting, laughing and having a good time. That’s what made it fun – the people I worked with,” she says.
 
That continues to hold true today. Tina also volunteers for the annual Gift of Gobble project, which provides over 100 Thanksgiving meals to families in need. “It’s my favorite thing to help with, because it’s the same people who started the project and they’re still there every year. We make it a fun day,” she says. Fun, she adds, is critical for volunteers.   “I have to be honest; If it weren’t for the people I enjoyed being with, I wouldn’t do it. We’re giving the time, so we might as well have a good time.”
 
One of her regular volunteer tasks is to create little signs for the produce. Because Tina is Tina, the signs are miniature works of art. “I want them to look beautiful,” she says. “It’s the same with the sign out front. I want to beautify the city, so people drive by and say, ‘Oh, that’s pretty.’ If it looks nice and makes the business more attractive, why not? I think Yelm could use a little beautifying.”
 
Remarkably, Tina is self-taught. “My dad was an artist and did some lettering,” she says. “I used to watch him.” In high school, she took a two week class in lettering and was hooked from then on. She got as many books as she could on the subject and learned as she went. “I was inspired,” she says.
 
Today, it’s the people at the Co-op that continue to inspire her. “I can go in almost any day, running in for milk or fruit, and there’s always someone I know or haven’t seen for a while. It’s this little hub, a meeting place which I really like,” she says.  “I love the atmosphere of the store as it is now – warm and inviting.”
 
If she could change one thing, it would be to increase community involvement, particularly in the area of volunteering.  “A lot of the same people are still doing the same things,” she says. “It seems like they’re still carrying it. It would be cool if there were more new people coming in.”
 
Aside from that, she hopes that awareness continues to grow in Yelm and surrounding areas.  “Everybody eats, everybody loves food,” she says.  “It would be great to see more people who live in the area shopping at the Co-op, rather than just saying, ‘Oh, I’ll go to Safeway. It’s cheaper.’ It’s about bringing people together over food.”

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