Written by Lauren Gordon, Marketing & Design Guru, GreenHill
I’ve been at GreenHill since June 2012. When I interviewed with Laura Way, GreenHill’s Executive Director, for the position of Marketing and Design Specialist I remember thinking it was unlike any other interview I had ever had. We covered some of the normal questions, “What’s your experience”, “Tell me about your marketing and organizational skills”, “How well do you work with others”, etc. But then she asked me about my experience with art, and I think at that moment I realized how excited I was to be part of an organization that promotes and celebrates North Carolina art.
I told Laura about being part of a family that always valued art and how it has always been part of my life. I studied Marketing at Appalachian State University, but I also incorporated art classes into my studies. As a child my mom always had supplies out and ready to use - paints, stamps, paper, crayons, homemade play dough, bubble paint, etc. That’s what we did for fun when we weren’t outside playing. While I grew up on the west coast, my parents are both from North Carolina and have great pride in our state. What shaped me the most were my family members who did art with me and introduced me to every medium and process. One of my best friends’ mom was a curator at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art where she would take us along on weekends to experience and participate in art. We were also able to interact with the artists installing works. It was amazing for a 7 year old to be able to do and see the things I had the chance to work on. My mom also loves going to see art, so we were always making it to a festival to watch a glass blowing demonstration, mural artists, or installation of artwork somewhere.
Like most children, by second grade I “knew” what I wanted to be; I wanted to work at Hallmark and make greeting cards or I wanted to make billboards. I would paint watercolors and then once dry, I would put them in my beloved typewriter where I would type short poems. Well, I’m not working at Hallmark, but it’s funny to me how closely I have realized my dream as a young girl. I always felt drawn to the way images and words together make an impact and I knew I wanted to be part of that. And to be able to do these things and promote something I care deeply about, is very rewarding.
Now with a two and a half year old son, Davis, I have the ability to pass along this appreciation for art, words, reading and creativity. Working in an environment where I am always around art, he just can’t avoid exposure. As soon as I started coming back to work after my maternity leave, he was already being toted around The Gallery to look at the exhibitions as well as playing in the ArtQuest Studios. It’s been amazing to see all the mediums he has gravitated to at different times. As a one year old, he had “his place” on the smaller easels…everyone knew right where Davis was headed when he walked in to the studios. Now, he’s been drawn more to the stamping and scrap lab, attempting to use scissors and glue, and organizing where he places his scraps of paper and stickers. It’s so interesting to see this evolution.
As a two and a half year old I know Davis has been afforded a very unique opportunity. Some parents do not value art in the same way, or maybe they don’t know about GreenHill. I wish they would, and it is my job to try to communicate this every day.
There are so many valuable aspects I have seen by allowing my child to participate in art. I see how Davis needs quiet time to think and work on “projects” he decides to do. No one is telling him what or how he has to do anything (except, please put that apron on!), he has free reign to choose his medium and decide how long he works on something. We talk. We listen to music. He explains what he is doing, or sometimes he doesn’t say a word. He interacts with other children and adults. On Friday mornings we try to go to Masterpiece Fridays – a time for the younger kids to go in The Gallery for a short tour of the exhibition, have story time and then make art in the ArtQuest Studios. One of my favorite parts is the drive home. It’s all about the friends he made…even if he did not talk to a single person. He is such a shy kid in public settings, but being in this space is comfortable and safe for him.
I love being able to relive parts of my childhood with Davis. People say “oh to be a kid again”, but when you are in GreenHill, you really can. It’s a time to create, make friends, learn and play. Art unites people and ideas; it’s fun and freeing…my favorite memories of being a kid.