Archetypes: Jill McGuire

 In Feature, Style


An interview with Jill McGuire, executive director and founder of the Regional Arts Commission of St. Louis—the largest arts agency in the city. Her creative approach to grantmaking has helped RAC distribute more than 5,800 grants, totaling $76 million. As a founding board member for Arts and Humanities for America, the country’s first art political action committee, McGuire has long advocated for greater public support for the arts. In 2005, she received the Selina Roberts Ottum Award for her outstanding leadership in the arts administration field.

What is your current frame of mind?
Joyful, truly.

When and where are you happiest?
When I’m on the beach.

What is your favorite smell?

What is one word that describes you?

What did you eat for breakfast today?
Two eggs.

Which words or phrases do you most overuse?
“Really, really.”

What is your greatest weakness?

What trait do you most admire in others?

Who or what is the greatest love of your life?
My family.

If you could change one thing about yourself, what would it be?
My age.

What do you consider your greatest achievement?
My two wonderful sons.

Which living person do you most admire?
Bill Clinton.

If you were to die and come back as a person or thing, who or what would it be?
The captain of a sailboat.

What is your most treasured possession?
My mind.

What is your greatest fear?
Big, black water bugs.

On what occasion do you lie?
To spare someone’s feelings.

Who are your favorite writers?
Shakespeare, Tom Wolfe and Dr. Seuss.

Which artists do you admire most?
Mick Jagger.

What is your favorite hobby?

Where would you like to live?
I’d like to split my time between St. Louis, which I love, and the Outer Banks, North Carolina.

Who are your heroes in real life?
Martin Luther King, Jr. and Abe Lincoln.

If you could have dinner with one person, dead or alive, who would it be?
My father.

What’s something interesting that you just learned?
I confirmed that St. Louis is one of the best cities in the country for the arts.

What are you most looking forward to?
Cool weather.

What is one thing you wish would happen?
World peace through understanding.

What is something you still want to learn?
I’d love to learn how to be a trapeze artist.

What is one thing you want to do before you die?
Travel in space—I would love to see the universe from that vantage point.

If you could say something to your younger self, what would it be?
Go ahead and have a large family.



Jill McGuire


Photo credit: By Wesley Law

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