Gleason’s roots in the art world date back to her childhood. Growing up in Sandpoint, Idaho, she was passionate about drawing, often recreating found pictures on paper with pencil. She dreamed of being an artist, but after finishing high school, she decided to enroll in a 12-month architectural drafting course. But the work didn’t resonate with her.
“I ended up moving to California and I started going to community college,” said Gleason, who signed up for art classes while attending school. “I just fell back in love with that thing that was missing from my life for the longest time.”
After community college, Gleason earned a degree in fine art and a minor in art history from the University of California, Davis. But post-graduate life quickly pulled her back from her passion. While studying at UC Davis, Gleason was employed by Nugget Markets and following graduation, she quickly rose through the grocer’s ranks, eventually becoming the market’s director of training. Nearly 12 years passed and all the while, Gleason felt an itch, as if something was missing from her life.
“I learned a lot, but I didn’t paint much and there was always this slight frustration and sadness,” she said.
Eventually Gleason left her post at Nugget Markets for a job in Rancho Cordova. During that time, she noticed art submission calls from the city hall in Rancho Cordova.
“I had a little bit more time, so I started painting again,” she said. “And I started submitting to these shows and getting to know the artists and getting to know the Cordova Community Council.”
As Gleason built relationships in the Rancho Cordova community, the Cordova Community Council and the City Council were hard at work on a secretive project at the Mills Station Building, a project that would elevate the arts by transforming the building into a home for them.