continued from part 1
There's so much more to choosing a career path than deciding what you want to be when you grow up. If you have a lot of different interests it can be very difficult to focus on one. There's also, what are you good enough at? What can you tolerate? What pays well enough? what about benefits? What's available in your area? Are you willing/able to relocate? What works with your personal & family situation?
What worked for me at the time was stability, and steady progress. That first college drafting class led me to a job at a civil engineering firm where I worked for 6 years, then to a county tax mapping department for 8-1/2 years. In time I managed to squeeze in a Bachelor of Interdisciplinary Studies degree, served on a small village Planning Commission for a few years, then landed a job as a Planning Administrator for Lapeer MI. I went on to earn a Master of Public Administration degree, became AICP certified as a Planner, and was promoted to Planning Director where I’ve been for the past 10 years. That’s 30 years or so in a nutshell. (Update: I retired in October 2015.)
In 2005 when still working as the Planning Administrator, the then-director launched a project to obtain a building in our quaint little downtown right next door to the historic Art Deco PIX Theatre, with the intent of turning it into an art gallery. We worked out the design with an architect team, a management strategy with the City Commission and Downtown Development Authority, and got grant funding from the state for the building renovations. When I say “we”, it was mostly my boss, the ever-dynamic Matt Modrack who now works for the City of Brighton MI. I was just very fortunate to be in the right place at the right time to be a part of such a special project.
In October 2015, Gallery 194 opened its doors to the public.
A few months later, I took my first art class in over 30 years, Charcoal Figure Drawing. My inner artist had caught a glimpse of daylight from inside the subconscious closet where I had stuffed her, and was beginning to wake up and stretch.
Over the next few years I signed up for a few more classes through the Gallery: Studio Oil Painting, En Plein Aire Oil Painting, Pen and Ink Drawing, Acrylic Painting, Mixed Media …. I participated in some community art projects and art-related fund raising events …. joined a few on-line artist groups …. gradually became more confident to experiment with more media and put myself out there as an artist …. And so, here I am.
In between sharing news of what I'm working on, I'll be adding a few blog posts to share the positive influences I’ve encountered over the past few years which have helped me come out of the art closet.