Tell us a little about yourself and your work.
I come from a business background with a BS in Business from Virginia Tech and a MBA from VCU and landed in the nonprofit world about six years ago when I moved back into the Ashland area from Fredericksburg, VA.
Our focus at The Montpelier Center for Arts & Education is to bring cultural and educational events to our rural area that engages, enriches, and educates the community. It’s wonderful to see families excited about viewing an exhibition from the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts which they might not have accessed in the past, or see someone blossom with their artistic abilities after taking a class at the Center.
Why do you love what you do?
It’s very rewarding to see our community enjoying the Center for its many aspects – the lawn for concerts, the art gallery for exposure and the classes for expanding their knowledge or abilities. It is the people in the community that makes The Montpelier Center for Arts & Education successful. I am in awe of the community. The decision was made over 20 years ago by the alumni and the community to save the forgotten school and readopt its use for a cultural center. It is pretty amazing what this rural community has accomplished over the years!
Working with the nonprofit world has been an eye opener for me. I enjoy my work, have a personal interest in the arts and am dedicated to the community. I love coming to work. My day is always different and my office door is always open. You never know where a conversation might lead!
What are you most proud of and what have you learned?
My most recent accomplishment has been the completion of the Village Green Project this June. We just finished a $800,000 enhancement project for the grounds including a brick courtyard, sidewalks, a serpentine wall, and other landscaping – now the outside compliments the interior of our building! This has been a five-year project that started out with a grant request few thought we would receive.
I’ve learned that you need to stay open to new possibilities and expect change. Grants change their priorities over the years, sponsors and donations can fluctuate with the economy. It is always changing so we need to stay on top of our programs and events while always keeping an eye out for new opportunities.