Thais Trobaugh Palluau a.k.a. Trobleu
advocate, architect, accessibility consultant, writer, wife to an auteur français and lover of France mother to an artiste émergente and an autiste confirmé,
The first time my mother took me to the Art Institute of Chicago I was in kindergarden. I saw Monet’s Gare St. Lazare and decided that someday I would go to Paris. On the same visit, Degas’ Dancer inspired my desire to be a ballerina. Despite an enduring commitment to the latter, only the first dream came true. In college, a year-long study abroad program in Architecture brought me to France. A life-long love of the Arts (and a French man) brought me back several times. My husband and I settled in in the Parisian suburb Meudon. Once home to many artists (Rodin, Arp..) it was close enough to take our children on frequent outings to the cultural capital.
Adapting our visits to keep my son engaged but not overwhelmed by the stimulation, while encouraging my daughter’s curiosity and enthusiasm, took creativity. Each contributed to a different perception of the exhibit, as well the way it could be approached. My work at an architectural firm designing cultural venues kept me traveling and visiting museums across the globe. Our clients enhanced my perspective of a cultural institution’s role in community outreach, education and social integration.
My career was interrupted by the necessity to care for our son. During that time I became a strong advocate of rights for people with disabilities, raised funds for research and treatments and co-founded a U.S. nonprofit, CAN: Community Access Naperville, whose mission is to integrate differently-abled young adults into the community. Currently I help develop innovative sensory-friendly programs at theaters, concerts and museums, train staff at cultural venues and design supports to make cultural spaces accessible and inclusive.
The photo on the cover page “Welcoming Hands” is a sculpture by French artist Louise Bourgeois located in the Tuilerie Gardens near the Place de la Concorde in Paris. The same artist was commissioned to create this sculpture for the Jane Addams Memorial Park in my hometown, Chicago.