What do you think is the best way to keep a competitive edge?

Always be open to exploring and evolving - whether that’s meeting a new person or attending a new event. The arts are always evolving. Even with over 200 arts and culture offerings here there’s always something new on the horizon.

What do you see on the horizon for the growth of Arts Montco?

We’ve only scratched the surface. And while we’re working to form strategic partnerships we’re also thinking regionally. We want to capitalize on what we have here that links to the city. For example, someone visiting the Barnes Foundation in Philadelphia also should come see the Barnes Arboretum on the grounds of the original Barnes estate here in Montgomery County.

What are some of the items that would be on your “wish list” to increase visibility to the area?

We want people to be aware of the huge events and hidden gems in our county. When people think of the Philadelphia Folk Festival, we want them to think about Arts Montco. The Philly Folk Fest is the longest continuously running outdoor music festival in North America and boasts 35,000 attendees - and it takes place right here. The VFTCB already has a presence there and Arts Montco will continue to cultivate that relationship so that people are aware of that when they’re at the Philly Folk Fest.

We also want to help people discover our hidden gems, including places like Abington Art Center, which inhabits the former estate of Lessing J. Rosenwald, collector of rare books and prints, who bequeathed the largest gift of art ever donated to the U.S.

The John James Audubon Center at Mill Grove is listed on the National Register of Historic Places, and Mill Grove was the first American home of this renowned artist, author and naturalist. Future plans include a museum showcasing memorabilia and original Audubon prints and paintings as well as his book, Birds of America.

Which of your accomplishments are you most proud?

This summer, Arts Montco helped promote the first Montgomery County Studio Tour, which included 51 artists at 20 studios across the county who sold $40,000 of artwork over the course of one weekend.

This fall, Glenside was chosen as one of four neighborhoods in and around the city to take part in the Philadelphia Museum of Arts’ Inside Out programming. Inside Out brings high-quality replicas of museum masterpieces to communities throughout the region. Arts Montco was part of the kick-off event celebrating the Inside Out Exhibit along with staff from the Philadelphia Museum of Art, Mural Arts Philadelphia, elected officials and, of course, residents!

How is technology utilized to impact the way attractions, businesses, tourists and/or meeting planners experience arts and culture?

The Arts Montco website is an integral tool and will be made much more robust by integrating the VFTCB calendar of events with the Greater Philadelphia Cultural Alliance’s Phillyfunguide. People already come to the VFTCB website looking for the things to do and places to visit in the arts and beyond, and we won’t lose any of that functionality on our current calendar. But we will gain access to Montco-specific events that arts organizations are already placing on the Phillyfunguide, which has been a long-time resource.

So, how did you get your start with the Valley Forge TCB?

I came to the VFTCB from the Montgomery County Commissioners Office, where I served as Press Secretary. For the past five years I was the liaison between elected officials, the press, and the public and also served on the VFTCB Marketing Committee as the liaison between tourism and government. Aside from my experience there, I had previously worked with renowned jazz radio DJ Bob Perkins of WRT 90.1 FM and forged many strategic relationships with the area creative community, collaborating with and promoting local artists, musicians and filmmakers.

When I was on the VFTCB Marketing Committee, I pitched a new brand around Music in Montco, and then an even bigger opportunity presented itself. When the Director of Arts and Culture position was posted, I applied right away.

What has been your biggest influence as you’ve forged your career path?

Relationships are everything. Every job I’ve had has been the result of positive relationships. I ended up working in politics and radio from internships I had in high school. I maintained those relation- ships throughout college and that led me to have a career in gov- ernment, media, and now in tourism. Mid-Atlantic­EvENts Magazine 65

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