Every now and then Mother Luck shines down on you—and we were so graced when we first met Phil Zipin in 2004. AOB (while under the umbrella of Montgomery Youth Works) was commissioned by our landlord in the Silver Spring Metro Plaza to craft holiday gifts for all the tenants, one of whom was Phil’s law firm. He was so taken with the mosaic vase he received that when we approached him with the prospect of creating a mosaic sign for his firm’s office, he quickly recognized a “win-win” opportunity in such a commission, and worked with our apprentices on a unique hybrid design of the Statue of Liberty and the Scales of Justice – practically driving our apprentices crazy!
A few years later in 2007, when we were looking to become a self-standing nonprofit and needed an attorney, Phil joined our advisory board and graciously helped us draft our bylaws and begin the application process for our new status. When “independence” came in 2009, this baseball enthusiast and Philadelphia Phillies fan was drafted for the role of President. Despite his rigorous work schedule and commitment to many other pursuits, Phil was a model AOB president, spearheading the governance of the organization for four years, never once missing a board or executive committee meeting. An amazing ambassador and advocate, Phil shared his fondness for AOB with friends, colleagues, and other would-be supporters. “AOB turns graffiti artists into graphic artists, and doodlers into designers” he would tell people. This was Phil’s AOB elevator speech, so succinctly painting the picture of what AOB is about. Phil supported the organization in other ways as well — “gifting” friends and silent auctions with AOB artwork and commissioning artwork for his own home and office.
We have been so blessed that this son of a remarkably gifted artist and art professor found in AOB the chance to give back to the creative young people so much like his own father. We wish this extraordinary man infinite success as he continues his career in employment law and in his new role as Co-President of the Adat Shalom Reconstructionist Congregation in Bethesda, MD.
Thank you Phil!