The Alliance is a vibrant arts center driven by one desire: to transform lives and improve our community through the arts. Now meet the newest people at the helm of that vision, our GreenMarket Manager Whitney, Guest Services Coordinator Brianna and Gallery Director Ehren.
What’s one of the most interesting aspects of working at the Alliance?
Brianna– I love learning about everyone’s backgrounds, specifically how they found the arts and how they found the Alliance. It is so interesting to see how we all came together by such different routes.
Whitney– The people-Everyone is so kind and different. Different backgrounds, and cultures that all come together for the love of art.
Ehren– The variety of our programming and communities served. We work collaboratively on everything from quality art exhibitions, innovative theater, community building events, adult and youth education all with diversity and accessibility, and inclusion in mind.
What’s the best thing about your job?
Brianna- My chance to interact with literally everyone that comes in. I speak directly to all of the employees, instructors, students, and gallery guests since I am right at the front door. I’m glad that I am able to be a part of everyone’s day, even in just a small way.
Whitney- Making people happy- I love when a customer is able to find exactly what they were looking for, or they tell me that the Alliance GreenMarket is their happy place.
Ehren- Creating opportunities for artists in any shape or form. It could be the challenge of an exhibition theme, seeing the growth of an artist over the years, or fostering the creative possibilities in others. What’s most exciting is that it’s a mutually beneficial process with unlimited potential.
Why are the arts important to you?
Brianna– The arts have always been important to me because they have been my way of expressing myself. I have been acting since a young age and it has always helped me to put all my emotions into the character I am creating. I’m so lucky to have found the arts because it’s my way of sharing a little part of myself with others.
Whitney– Because they bring people of many walks of life together, and gives those people an opportunity to share their cultures, histories, and what’s close to their hearts.
Ehren– The arts are a vital part of human existence. In visual art, it is a way to interpret our world and communicate the unspeakable to others. In the performing arts, we can hold a mirror to ourselves, be released from the constraints of daily life and lifted into realms unimagined.
Which author, playwright or artist has influenced you the most and why?
Brianna– Tennessee Williams is my favorite playwright and I relate so deeply to his female characters. He creates seemingly broken women, but they have an incredible strength behind them. Williams’ multi-faceted characters are so beautiful to me and on top of it, his stories are incredible.
Whitney– Thich Nhat Hanh- I’m always really busy, but reading Mr. Hanh’s books on mindfulness reminds me to stop every now and then to enjoy life and be mindful of relaxation and the good it does for the soul.
Ehren- Two very different people that inspire me are the writings of Edward Abbey and the paintings of Charles Burchfield. Both are spiritually moved by nature and seek to express it with the fullest of respect. In Abbey’s writing I found a kindred spirit who could put into words what I was seeking to say with my artwork. Burchfield’s paintings revealed to me that other people saw what I saw and showed me a way to represent it visually.
What would the title of your memoir be?
Brianna– “Sweet Tea and Big Dreams.” I’m from South Carolina so I hold my Southern roots very close to me and it has always been a large part of my identity. And although I come from a relatively small town, I’ve always had big dreams when it comes to theatre and performing.
Whitney– “Always Workin.” I’ve always had a strong work ethic and over time it has become what defines me. All of my friends and family often point out how I’m always workin’.
Ehren– “Ramblings of the Wolf Man: Excerpts and Passages of Illustrative Moments.” The text would strive to find decipherable truths from random daily experiences: nothing too serious but deep with context (and funny).
What inspires you?
Brianna- Helping other people. I’ve always felt that if I create art out of my struggles, then maybe one day someone will see it and be encouraged to continue to fight against whatever they feel is in their way. That little imaginary person is always in the back of my head and they inspire me more than anything.
Whitney- Making the world a better and happier place one interaction at a time. The change is within all of us, live the way you want to see the world.
Ehren– Being around art and working with artists daily is the best job ever but it can create a bit of separation from the process of making things for myself. I can be creative in building an artist installation or making a call for artists but I find myself seeking to refuel my personal creative ambitions regularly. I find the most reward from working in my garden, hiking, camping in the wilderness, or paddling in a canoe, kayak or paddleboard. My artistic goals are to share the energy, power, and healing properties of the natural world with others. I have to keep my soul fueled with those emotions in order to share them.
What would you say to encourage others to get connected with the Alliance?
Brianna- You have to start somewhere. In my short time here, I’ve already had newcomers tell me they are worried about taking classes because they don’t have much experience. But what I love about the Alliance is that our classes are made for everyone, from beginning to expert.
Whitney– I would say, just come out. See the art, the people, hear the children singing, and enjoy the Saturday GreenMarkets. There is something here that speaks to the hearts of all people.
Ehren– Come on down! If you’re not an artist, start by coming to some of our free events. If you are an artist, what are you waiting for! Say hello to people and ask them questions. You’ll have new friends before you know it! Once you feel inspired, take a class and get your feet wet. We are here to help you grow and learn new things!
Want to learn more about the Alliance staff? Click here.