Last week we launched a new regular series on ARTSblog that spotlights the staff here at Americans for the Arts. While Kristen Engebretsen happened to give an excellent podcast interview, not everyone has those opportunities; but, it got me thinking about coming up with a fun/interesting way for you to learn about the people behind the organization.
And that brainstorming led me to “Ten Questions with…” in which I will ask everyone the same questions and see where it takes us.
Of course, I then realized I have to start with me since it will encourage the rest of the staff to share. With all that in mind, here is the debut of “Ten Questions with…” as I have interviewed myself:
1. Describe your role at Americans for the Arts in 10 words or less.
ARTSblog editor; writer; part communications/part web team member; internal reporter.
2. What do the arts mean to you?
As I often say, I used to have musical talent—until my voice changed. I also acted a bit in middle school, high school, and one brief appearance in college. But, I have to admit that in addition to being something I enjoy attending or wish I had more talent or courage enough to try, the arts were a refuge for me as a kid. While struggling with your identity during that critical time period everyone reacts differently. For me, I had the whole The Tears of a Clown thing going on—I seemed happy on the surface, but felt very isolated on the inside. The arts, in this case mostly music and television, made me feel less alone. That’s one of the big reasons why I feel passionate about the arts and arts education.
3. If you could have any career you wanted (talent, education not required), what would it be and why?
Without a doubt I’d be a singer/songwriter—probably residing on the border between pop and country music—on tour at smaller venues.
4. How many places have you lived? Where?
As far as states, I’ve only lived in two: New Jersey and Virginia. I grew up in South Jersey (20 minutes from Philadelphia as natives all weirdly say) and went to college outside of Trenton. For the past five years I’ve lived in the D.C. burbs of Virginia.
5. What is the best compliment you’ve ever received?
It has to be the day that my Facebook profile happened to look like a Ryan Gosling photo at the time. A crafty arts advocate posted a side-by-side comparison and it was pretty close for that one moment in time.
6. Name three people in history (dead or alive) with whom you would want to sit down to dinner.
This one is tough because there are so many genres to consider and I’d also want three people who could discuss multiple topics, not just talk about themselves. The political science geek in me would love to sit down with Woodward, Bernstein, and Nixon while the entertainment industry side would appreciate a dinner with Joss Whedon, Tina Fey, and Nora Ephron.
7. Would others say that you can dance? Explain.
I’m going with an unequivocal no. I become very uncomfortable on the dance floor and end up looking like this:
8. What is the earliest memory you have of being an audience member for a live arts event?
I vaguely remember a production of The Nutcracker somewhere around third grade for a school trip, but I think the more memorable one was seeing The Taming of the Shrew at the Arden Theatre in Philadelphia on another field trip in high school. I had no idea that you could modernize Shakespeare without touching the words. It blew my mind.
9. What would the title of your autobiography be?
I may have thought of this before…Meg Ryan Ruined My Love Life and Other Stories. Sensing a pattern?
10. Finally, if you could paint a picture or take more photos of a place you have been in your life what would you paint or photograph?
I’m one of those people who takes vacation photos without people in them. It drives some people crazy, but I like vistas and cityscapes more than having me standing in front of a tourist spot. That’s part of why I loved going to San Francisco. It seemed at every turn, I was seeing something I wanted to capture.
Now that my self-interview is complete, I’m off to round up colleagues. Stay tuned for more “Ten Questions with…” soon!