My Beautiful Job

When I was studying clarinet in college I imagined my ideal work would be a portfolio career; I would do some teaching, some performing, and some writing. When I got into arts administration I thought my dream job would be managing a band and I wanted to be their sound engineer as well. I thought if I could do it all I would be perfectly happy. Out here in real adult life there are other things to consider like needing benefits and a stable income, so I didn’t pursue my portfolio career after all but as I mentioned in my end of the year post I have found a dream job.

In my career I work behind the scenes doing theater bookings, assisting with production of our shows (including learning to be a sound and lighting tech!) and for the first time I have creative control over a program. Through this program we bring in local public school elementary classes to participate in curriculum based performing arts assemblies. I get to book the artists, techs, photographers, classes, and run the whole day myself. This morning I was so proud to present a Persian classical music program and the kids loved it! In all my time working in the arts I’ve never seen this half of my heritage represented and I was so happy when a third grade girl ran up to me and said “I’m Persian too! Can I tell them?” pointing to the musicians in costume standing on stage with fifteen instruments to demonstrate.

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I’m not just on a creative high from my kids program, but also a covert mission in my office. With our boss out of town I’d been happily purging, opening all the cabinets and drawers, tossing, shredding and recycling. My colleague curated a show in our gallery and I really liked a piece that was included. He was kind enough to purchase it from the artist (a friend of his) as a surprise for me and it was too big to hang at home so I went to work making space in the office. I first had to move a monitor mounted on the wall and in the process learned to spackle (it’s oddly satisfying) and touch up the paint. I’m not sure if he was joking, but he said “while you’re at it you could paint this other wall” pointing to a wall we’ve all said is far too bright blue and had a few holes in it to be spackled. The light went off: Office Makeover Time!

Johnnie the Intern and I went to work taping, painting, and hanging my new artwork. Then I decided that wasn’t enough, we needed to spruce up all the walls! The wall beside me had new art, the wall behind Johnnie’s desk was a brand new color, but the back wall of the office would be great for the gears that are our logo. I searched online for decals but none were big enough, then I found big Styrofoam gears that had been used in our parade float and voilà: a stencil. We made a deal: Johnnie would trace and I would paint.

My family and I have always rented so I’ve never been able to paint, but white walls reminded me of doctors and hospitals. Being surrounded by beautiful things that I love made me feel safe, at peace, and at home. My solution has been to cover my walls in photos, art, fabric, everything colorful and personal. Getting to paint the office was a thrill and I love that I work somewhere that lets me be creative in all these ways. On my first day my boss and I shared plantains working a free percussion festival filled with drummers from Africa and South America. I had a wonderful feeling that day that I’d found a place to stick around and since then I’ve been welcomed, trusted, and felt very at-home. I couldn’t be happier!

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