Bianca Zanella, 25, is a woman who is very involved in the Rutland community.
On one day you may find her performing her poems about loss, relationships and her fears at an open mic night.
But on other days she will be helping out at one of the numerous art galleries in Rutland she works at.
Or she’ll be working at the NewStory Center as an advocate for survivors of domestic violence and sexual assault.
Also, she teaches male domestic assault offenders how to have healthy relationships in a facilitation group.
As a poet, her life inspires her and that includes her work with domestic assault offenders and survivors.
“I do write a lot about relationships and what it means to have a healthy relationship versus an unhealthy relationship,” Zanella said.
Loss has been another common theme in her poetry. This past year she wrote about finding out about her father’s struggle with addiction growing up, which she had been unaware of until last year when she found out after the loss of her Nana, Sondra Zanella.
For her, writing about her emotions is a way to validate them and reflect on them.
“If I’m having a hard day, if I’ve had a disagreement with a partner, or a couple weeks ago I lost a pet, my childhood cat, I write and I edit and I reflect. And that’s how I kind of lift that emotion,” Zanella said.
One poet and spoken-word artist who has inspired Zanella is Dave Rock, who she met during her time studying abroad in Galway, Ireland, in 2013.
She went to a workshop and performance of his and said that his ability to improvise poetry was one of the most beautiful things she had ever witnessed. He could see into the souls of audience members and come up with a poem on the spot, which blew her away, Zanella said.
“I try to emulate his energy when I do performance pieces, and that openness and acceptance that I felt when I was working with him as a poet and as a member of the community of writers,” Zanella said.
Zanella has had poems published in the Mountain Troubadour and The Reverie along with performing her poetry at the Horace Heeley Writers Symposium, open mic nights and at poetry slams.
“I love the aspect of being able to take a raw emotion and create beauty from it, share it with the world and then inspiring someone on the other side of that paper, on the other side of that mic,” Zanella said.
She also has used art as a way to bring the community together and has become involved in many of the galleries in Rutland and one in Poultney.
Her work with the community began after graduating from Green Mountain College. She worked as the Community Service and Outreach Coordinator at GMC, helping to connect the community and the college.
She also began volunteering at Stone Valley Arts in Poultney, where she is now a member of the board of directors.
David Mook, another member of the board, said her work in the community and at the gallery in Poultney is phenomenal.
He said she has an amazing talent for writing and has used her gift of marketing to help Stone Valley Arts as she has in other galleries she has worked for as well.
The community events she organized through GMC generated a sense of community, Mook said. He recalled an event that Zanella worked on with her co-worker at GMC, Ryan Ihrke, where community members came together, wrapped different colored threads around a pole. Each of the threads was attached to a label that each person created about themselves.
This showed the community how they were alike and how they were different Zanella said.
What brought Zanella to Rutland was AmeriCorps.
She worked with NeighborWorks during her time in AmeriCorps to help boost the community in the Northwest neighborhood.
One project she worked on with her co-workers at NeighborWorks was a pop-up gallery. They created the gallery as a space where people could come together and enjoy art pieces in the NorthWest neighborhood, attracting residents of neighborhood and community as a whole.
“I got connected further with the arts community in Rutland after creating this pop-up space,” Zanella said.
After her work with AmeriCorps was over, she decided to stay in Rutland instead of going to live abroad as she had originally planned because of her love for the Rutland community and her relationship with her partner, Akbar Abidi.
She now works at numerous galleries in Rutland including the 77Gallery, RUVT Gallery, the Alley Gallery and anything involving Bill Ramage.
Ramage said he’s grateful for the work that she has done at his galleries. He said she is so good at organizing events, running the social media pages and communicating with artists to keep his galleries going.
“From the beginning, she has been totally indispensable,” Ramage said.
But Zanella also has aspirations to travel, that were sparked again when her Nana, who travelled the world, passed away.
“I do cherish the side of me that loves to travel and loves to explore and to get out of my comfort zone and to get out of the place that I call home, so that I can discover these other cultural experiences and appreciate the world as a whole on a whole new level,” Zanella said.