My "Other" Job

5:00 PM Posted In Edit This 2 Comments »
One of this month's themes for the Etsy Bloggers' Team is to write about our jobs other than arts and crafting. My "other" job is at the St. Lawrence County Arts Council.

I work one day a week as the Class Coordinator for our Arts Council and the job is so enjoyable that I jokingly call it my "paid day off." It truly is a sanity saver for me.

For one day a week, I don't have to debate with myself what the most important piority is for the day, I don't have to be constantly interrupted by children, I don't have to step over the messes in my livingroom or work around the piles of dirty dishes in my kitchen.

I go to work in a gorgeous gallery space with happy, upbeat people who are as interested in the arts as I am. I get to talk with artists about the sorts of classes they would like to offer in our community. I get to meet great community members who are interested in art and have plenty of opportunities to help educate the public about the importance of buying local and the value of supporting the arts and artists in our small, rural county. I get to meet other artists with all sorts of facinating skills and backgrounds every week.

I am always learning something new from and am constantly being challenged and encouraged by our director, Hilary Oak.

I get to teach other people's children about arts through my three kids' art series: Art for Small People, Teen Jewelry Club and Art Afternoons. These Kids' Arts classes help me remember to do art with my own kids because I test drive all of my projects on them.

I also get to schedule time for teaching adult arts classes in jewelry, complex cloth, silk fusion, etc . . . These adult classes give me a great excuse for making the investements necessary to learn new crafts and techniques so that I can offer classes in them It keeps my skill set constantly growing.

Working in the gallery once a week helps me monitor my inventory very consistently - I know what is selling at any given point of the season and I can watch what people are interested in to gauge the most popular colors and trends for our community.

The fact that this is a once a week job allows me to concentrate most of my energies where they should be right now - with my family and especially with my growing Maxx, who is not coping well with Pre-K. I don't have to harbor any guilt about "neglecting" my kids for the sake of my career and yet I have no worries that my skills as an organizer, a salesperson, a teacher, a writer or promoter are getting rusty or being wasted.

I recognize that I am abundantly blessed to have this job. The income is quite tiny, considering how few hours I put in, but the benefits in terms of my own professional development, income from teaching classes and the regular relief from daily homemaking drudgery are immeasureable.

In speaking about my job, I have to say a bit about my boss, Hilary. I'm very grateful the one day, about seven years ago, Hilary asked me if I would like to work part time in the arts gallery she was managing back then. When Hilary left that shop to open the Arts Council's gallery and gift shop and focus more of her energies on providing greater services for artists in St. Lawrence County, she brought me along for the "ride." Hilary took a small, inexperienced and somewhat reluctant board, one very part time employee and a cash flow of about 300 bucks a year and has turned it into a thriving organization with a full staff (!) that organizes classses, an annual studio tour, a cultural resources directory, the annual Arts Show for the Remington Festival, the NYSCA Arts Decentralization Grants program for 3 counties, multiple gallery exhibits throughout the year, a Live Music Fridays informal concert series, a quarterly newsletter and is about to host the first Cultural Blueprints Meeting for 7 counties in the Northern NY area this month! She has done all of this in the space of 3 years. There are lots of other things that happen at the Arts Council but I simply am running out of time to tell you about all of them! I am constanly awed at how much she can get done and by the fact that she has never given up. What a hero!


Bluewater Studio, LLC said...

Virginia! I love that colorful snippet you have in the top corner of this post... is that something you have for sale? xoxo S.

Virginia Burnett said...

Hi, Sabine!

That is a photo of a silk neckerchief that I painted a couple of years ago. It is long gone but I'm about to start a new batch of hand painted silks. I love hand painting but haven't had much time since Maxx came to live with us. I'll give a shout when I get some up in my Etsy store.


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