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BEHIND THE RED DOORS

Meet Janet Gibson

From grants and festivals to public art and cultural organizations, Janet Gibson has the incredible task of marketing our vibrant arts communty. Whether on the radio or talking with the community at a Fourth Friday event, Janet is big on nurturing relationships. As the Director of Marketing & Communications, she is a vital component to life “Behind the Red Doors,” so we asked her to share more about herself  ...

Favorite aspects of the job: I love to watch people engage in the arts. There's a positive glow when a child draws a masterpiece -- or when anyone sings, dances, plays music, writes, you name it. They become one with the experience. Amazing. I'm also passionate about every aspect of storytelling -- words, photography, videography, social media. Technology makes everything so immediate.

Where are you from? Grew up in Fayetteville, N.C., but first memories are of living in my Mom's native Berlin. I had a serious case of wanderlust early to mid-career -- and also lived in Columbia, S.C.; Austin and Bryan, Texas; Raleigh; Northern Virginia; atop a mountain in Elkview, West. Va.; and in Sarasota/Bradenton, Fla.

What work have you done previously that either ties in with this job or is a total deviation from that path? Journalist in training from age 11 (started a newspaper with a group of equally rebellious kids who were going to change the world). Longtime reporter and editor for magazines and newspapers, and, ultimately, a co-owner, publisher and editor of a high-end lifestyle magazine in Sarasota, Florida. Many print journalists have reinvented themselves -- and so the transition into marketing and communications. It's all storytelling (and gaining trust). Also worked part-time as a private eye -- but that's another story, for another time.

Favorite Artists: Eric Horn, my Opa-pa. He was an amazing artist and architect in Berlin. His paintings always take my breath away.

How would you describe yourself in three words? The word I've always heard most to desribe me is vivacious. But I also would add passionate and compassionate.

Most rewarding moments: Every day is a learning experience!

What are you passionate about? Storytelling. Music (all kinds) and experiencing live performances. Family and great friends ... thinking that, the longer I live, the more important it is to keep our tribes tight.

Favorite Arts Council event: A toss-up -- for different reasons. A Dickens Holiday, for the warmth and beauty it brings to our city. There's nothing like the first time we experience folks, from young to seasoned, holding candles for as far as the eye can see down Hay Street, and the festive attire and outpouring of song ... the experience is amazing. I also love the International Folk Festival's Parade of Nations. We're reminded that our community is a grand melting pot of cultures. And, as the child of an immigrant, my heart melts every time I see the German contingent in their lederhosen and dirndl skirts.

What’s the craziest thing you’ve ever done? Oooooh. When I was 22, I sold most of my stuff, packed up my Firebird with what I wanted to keep, and moved halfway across the country to Austin, Texas. Didn't have a job, but I had the drive and determination to start my journalism career. It happened. Such adventures! Definitely one of the best decisions of my life.

If you were a crayon, what color would you be? I want to say red because it's my favorite color, but I'd probably pick up turquoise.

Who inspires you? And why? Anyone who is bold and brave enough to be their authentic selves. Life is too short for phony balonies.

What’s your secret talent that no one knows about? I'm really comfortable conducting celebrity interviews. I guess I must be a good listener, because so many have cried around me and said, "I never shared that story with anyone!" Always humbled and excited me all at once. Such a responsibility to tell another's story. And everyone has a story.

Click here to meet more Arts Council Staff!