Amanda Solley with Alabama Contemporary Art Center

Amanda Solley with Alabama Contemporary Art Center

On this week's podcast, Marcus sat down with Amanda Solley to learn a thing or two about art. A native to our area, Amanda has always been in some piece of the creative scene. From drawing inside the lines at an early age, to graduating with a Fine Arts degree at South, her love for art has carried her to becoming the Executive Director at the Alabama Contemporary Art Center. Grab a coffee and follow along!

Transcript:

Amanda: I'm Amanda Solley, Executive Director at Alabama Contemporary Arts Center.

Marcus: Awesome. It is so good and I can tell this is gonna be a fun episode just by the conversations that we've had so far so-

Amanda: Hopefully for you.

Marcus: Welcome to this podcast-

Amanda: For your sake.

Marcus: Let's hope there's a professional career for both of us after this episode. Welcome to the podcast Amanda.

Amanda: Thank you so much.

Marcus: It's great to finally get you on here.

Amanda: Thank you I'm so excited to be a part of this finally.

Marcus: Yeah. Now to get started we always want to hear some of the back story and I would imagine, I don't know you very well, we've Facebook stalked-

Amanda: Not even through Facebook.

Marcus: Yeah, Facebook stalk each other. Tell me a little bit about who you are, where you went to school, if you went to college, where'd you go? Give us some back story.

Amanda: Well it all started-

Marcus: Yeah in a land far, far away.

Amanda: I'll start from college. I went to school for Fine Arts major with a primary focus in painting and interdisciplinary secondary, so I've always been interested in kind of bouncing around. I've never really considered myself an artist, more of just a creative individual I guess. At the time, when you tell your teachers who are you guidance, at that time that you like art and education they say, well be an art teacher or be a painter, and that's pretty much like it. I did the next thing that made sense in school, but I went to South actually to answer that question.

Marcus: Did you grow up here in Mobile?

Amanda: Yeah I grew up in Daphne across the bay. Me and my husband, well we were boyfriend/girlfriend moved to Mobile from Daphne and for me to be closer to school.

Marcus: Very cool.

Amanda: And now I live here all the time.

Marcus: Nice.

Amanda: From school just started doing the next job that made sense that was creative that met the need at that time and so here we are.

Marcus: So you like to paint?

Amanda: I love to paint. Yes.

Marcus: What form? Or do you care? Water? Color?

Amanda: I don't care. [crosstalk 00:02:03] the creative, like whatever suits the need at the time. If I really have an urge to oil paint, but I have $5 in my pocket I'm going to oil paint. I might even use nail polish if I have to. When I was a kid-

Marcus: It won't get you very far.

Amanda: No. When I was a kid we'd go fishing and make necklaces out of the weights and stuff. So just anything I could do at the time to express myself.

Marcus: Right. It's really cool. Now do you remember ... this isn't a business, but I want to just forewarn folks that are listening, we're gonna bounce back and forth between some aspects of what it means for non-profits because it is different versus business versus just art in general. Do you remember your first job?

Amanda: Yes I do.

Marcus: Tell us what your first job was and were there any lessons that you still remember from that first job?

Amanda: I worked at Wendy's Old Fashioned Hamburgers.

Marcus: Okay.

Amanda: Restaurant when I was 16. Well before that I did do babysitting and yard cutting, the whole shebang, but my first real job I learned a lot. I will say that my parents did a really good job kinda teaching me that no matter where you are you should do your very best, because you never know who you're talking to and I firmly still to this day, any time I'm talking to a teenager or young adult I'm like, never treat this job like it's beneath you. At that time, just learning to talk to people, working the drive-through. Every week we'd have this same people come through and they're like, you know it's so nice to speak with somebody who's friendly and puts their best into their job. So even from that point I've kinda learned that it made a difference in people's day and so therefore it made the time go by faster cause it wasn't so miserable.

Marcus: You laugh, but when you look back at these things, often times there are definitely lessons. I'll never forget how to mop a floor, because the very first job I had was at a bagel bakery and the guy was an old navy guy and he was like, when I started mopping the floor I was just-

Amanda: They know how to mop floors.

Marcus: And he was like, no that's not how you do it. And I was like, what do you mean, I'm just mopping a floor. And he's like, no see if you do it this way then you actually can pull more of the dirt along with you is basically the-

Amanda: I might have to get those tips-

Marcus: Swishing it around, you know.

Amanda: Yeah.

Marcus: And of course being in a bagel bakery there was a lot of junk on the floor, but anyways, so there are definitely lessons to that. Now you are the executive director of the Alabama-

Amanda: Contemporary-

Marcus: Arts Center.

Amanda: Arts Center.

Marcus: Okay, it's a mouthful so I want to make sure-

Amanda: Alabama Contemporary is slang-

Marcus: It's a shortened version.

Amanda: Yes.

Marcus: How did you land in that position? Is that a fair question to ask?

Amanda: Yeah. Absolutely. That kinda goes along with what I was saying before. First I was teaching kids classes on the weekends for about an hour a week and from then I would do gallery tours, help out with field trips, teach the senior classes and it was just trying ... I wouldn't even say just getting my foot in the door, I was just trying to stay busy. Then I really grew to love the place and then I did rentals there, so you know renting out for weddings and special events. And then moved to education and then kind of just did a lot of everything all at once. I'm proud to say that we grew our staff about this time ... well about a year and a half ago it was 2 people. We're now at sever or eight or so. Very strong, hard working, passionate team of people.

Marcus: That's very cool, cause I know most people are familiar with then Museum of Modern Art, which is out towards the Spring Hill area I guess.

Amanda: That's Mobile Museum of Art.

Marcus: Mobile Museum of Art.

Amanda: But the Museum of Modern Art-

Marcus: Where's that?

Amanda: It's a must visit in New York.

Marcus: Well, no, I think is it the ... I thought it was Mobile-

Amanda: Mobile Museum of Art ... well there-

Marcus: Museum of Art-

Amanda: And then of A is their abbreviations.

Marcus: That is correct, I was just assume that-

Amanda: It's not a bad place to get confused with, so they got [crosstalk 00:06:12].

Marcus: Shows you how literate I am in what the art world has to offer.

Amanda: We'll get you there. Don't worry.

Marcus: There ya go. No, but I think, I've seen the displays around town and when you're literally like two blocks away from us.

Amanda: I know. We should be feel bad and-

Marcus: I've seen the exhibit that you have right now is from Havana, is that ... and so, how long is that gonna be in town and what can you tell us about that exhibit?

Amanda: Oh wow, that exhibit is my heart and soul actually if anybody's listening that knows me knows I'm gonna go off on a tangent, so stop me if you need to. So, like I said, about a year and a half ago it was just a couple people working at the organization and we were kind of figuring things out as we go, but we were very blessed to have the chairman of our board, Mike Dowell helping us grow and understand the world of business basically and politics and non-profits and all of that. So, we've learned a lot from him, but he basically was just one day was like, you know Cuba's got really good art we should do a show. And I was like, oh wow, okay.

Marcus: He said that to you?

Amanda: Let's see what happens and at the time I was doing education and also QuickBooks. I was like, okay we'll get it sure. From there I just did some research and research and more research and fell in love. The art is so creative. All the people are really innovative, because when there's a society that has great needs as a group, there going to tend to be more creative because they have to meet those needs and they have to be ready and innovative. I was really in love with that just based off obviously what I'm telling you from before making fishing line necklaces and what not. I never thought we'd be able to go down there, but I got to a point where I was like, oh we've got to get the art here, we've got to meet these artists that have agreed to be in the show. We went down there and learned so much actually today would be the end of our trip a year ago.

Marcus: Wow.

Amanda: I'm a little sad thinking about it, but it was an amazing experience and we had 15 artists living or working in Havana, but we really wanted to get a diverse group of artists from the city, cause it's the heart of the country and Mobile and Havana have such a long history together. Like 25 years ago, actually when Mike Dowell was Mayor the sister city relationship was established and so there was a lot to learn historically, socially. Learned a little bit about art.

Marcus: Right.

Amanda: But also going down there, it's just we wanted to bring the passion back about learning about another culture and it's our closest foreign country. See so it's fascinating just how far or how close we are, but really how far away in terms of understanding each other. We had seven of the 15 artists come and stay with us and that actually was even more bizarre.

Marcus: They came here?

Amanda: Yes. So they brought their art with them. Oh my God.

Marcus: I can't imagine what it would be like for them to visit the United States for the first time.

Amanda: They were just in awe and I know one of the artists we had him stay. He was our first artist in residence that we're trying to kind of revamp since I would say three years ago. Maybe five or six. He stayed in the building and he just was blown away. He would always say the conditions here, the conditions here. Everything works. I was like, no it doesn't. The toilet doesn't flush and he's like, let's fix it. They were the most intense and immediate problem solvers I think I've ever met in my entire life. There was a mini fridge broken and I'd come back and their tinkering with it and then you turn around and it's fixed. They just want to fix things and help. It's even weird just saying they, because we became such good friends and they inspired all of us so much.

Marcus: I would imagine when you don't have the means to just throw a mini fridge away and go get another one-

Amanda: Which we we're probably gonna do.

Marcus: We just assume, my parents are from Brazil, so I haven't spend a whole lot of time there but I understand a little bit more about countries outside of the U.S. then most. When you come from a country where you don't have a whole lot you fix things, whereas we tend to just throw things away and go and buy new, because it's so inexpensive. To have a mini fridge fixed by somebody is probably $150-250, well you can buy a new one for $300 so-

Amanda: Exactly.

Marcus: Why would you fix one that's broken, it's just-

Amanda: They're definitely not wasteful. They taught us a lot.

Marcus: One of the things that I've been curious about, because I just haven't looked is what is the fee for going into the museum?

Amanda: It's quite low actually comparatively to other organizations that have programs and larger exhibits, but it's free for members and $5 for non-members. Obviously a membership comes with a ton of perks. We also have, I mentioned the kids classes. We have film screenings, which by the way join us on Thursday, we have a short film serious coming up at 7:30. There's lots of benefits to it, it's ... you get your money back pretty quickly if you want to become involved which we encourage.

Marcus: How much is membership?

Amanda: It's $35 for an individuals, $50 I believe for a dual, which is two people and then-

Marcus: Corporate?

Amanda: No family-

Marcus: Family?

Amanda: Family is around a hundred, which would be four people.

Marcus: Don't hold her to that. I'm asking her these questions on the spot.

Amanda: Thank you.

Marcus: Give her some leeway if you get there and it's different or if you listen to this in the future and they've raised their prices or whatever just know that whatever they're charging you is going towards keeping art in Mobile which is extremely important. I just think it's phenomenal, you guys are located right there, right off of Cathedral Square. I remember distinctly somebody came to visit me and I don't remember who it was off the top of my head, but they came to visit and we were coming into the office and of course we drive down the street on the east side of you to come to the office, I can't remember what that is-

Amanda: Jackson.

Marcus: Jackson I think.

Amanda: Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Marcus: They saw the mural on the side wall and they were just so impressed that the city has art and it's not just you all, but I mean if you walk around downtown there are a number of different art organizations that are trying to make art more of a part of this city and I just love seeing that because Mobile is such a musical city and such a food-oriented city, but if you have to have the visual aspect of that as well to go along with it. Are you all involved in any of those efforts?

Amanda: Absolutely.

Marcus: Okay.

Amanda: Our mission is pretty formal, I would say. It's to interpret the ideas, issues and interests of our time through art, but it goes deeper than that and what are we considering art, who determines what art is, and it's just really important to us to create a living, breathing environment for art. Make art something that everybody can have access to. That means fashion, music, food, like you said, it shouldn't stop just because someone has more experience doing this form of art than this form of art. The benefit being a contemporary art center and always trying to present exhibitions that are relative to the times is that you always have now, you can always interpret the present moment. That makes it easier for people, so it's not like tell us a story you were never a part of. You can't. So tell us a story you are a part of using what tools you have, maybe you like fashion, maybe you like painting cars, just we're always encouraging anybody, even if it's just the board just to rethink and refrain their idea of art.

Marcus: So we're in a more modern time now where their art can be interested in a number of different ways. We throw around this artisanal when it comes to things nowadays and whether it comes to the way that somebody makes a loaf of bread or the way somebody handcrafts shoes or the way somebody paints a painting or the way that they whatever, there's often times that label of artisanal and I don't think people think about what that word actually means. That there's some artistry that is applied to that craft and I just think that's cool that you all have kind of ... you see that it is beyond just what somebody can put on a canvas.

Amanda: Yeah. I don't think I've actually ever thought about the word artisanal that much like that, so that's a good thinking point.

Marcus: We live in that world. I mean, of course, we're an advertising agency but at the same time we care very much and many of our peers care very much about how things are put together. We don't just like slap stuff together, so we do focus very much on artisanal and I very much when I look to the fashion world, I see that displayed a lot, like when you think about what's happening in Detroit or what's happening in Brooklyn or those areas where there's people like you saying with very little means. There are fashion companies and other companies like Shinola I think is watch maker out of Detroit and their watches are like way expensive, but they are very meticulous in how those watches are put together and stuff. You can see it outside of our ... and I love that because I think that anybody who really cares about their craft is an artist in some way or craftsperson. I know she's giving me-

Amanda: I'm raising the roof.

Marcus: Yeah, raising the roof. Do you remember, and normally I would ask somebody, do you remember the first time you made a sale or something like that, but I actually want to flip this on you, do you remember the first time you picked up a paint brush or that you did something along those lines and you realized, man I really want to be ... this communicates in a way that I love and I want to just do this more and more.

Amanda: I mean besides the fishing line necklace. Oh god I don't really know. I never ever thought of it as something that was outside of myself or whatever until I guess when I started school and teachers were like, you are a creative drawer or something like that and I was just like, oh really. I thought-

Marcus: This is just who I am.

Amanda: I'm sure that's with any child that's learning something about themselves for the first time, but I remember doing a coloring sheet and it was like really perfectly in the lines, which I don't like I just did it because that was the rules that they had given us. It was just like, wow.

Marcus: Imagine that you're talking to someone who loves art and they have some talent, but their wanting to get started in the art world, what advice you have to that young artist?

Amanda: Hmm. I would say in keeping with what I said before with just do the next thing that you can that's available that makes the most sense to your overall goal. Do that, because that's creation too. That's creating your own career, your own path and everything, but I think so many young people get hung up on or people starting out into a new field, they get hung up on the end game. Like, I never said I'm gonna be director or anything like that, I just said, I'm gonna-

Marcus: Do excellent-

Amanda: I'm gonna rent this building or I'm gonna teach this kid how to express themselves with the color green right now, because that's what they said that they want to use or that's the crayon they picked up. So like, whatever you're doing now think about it in the terms of is it moving closer toward that end goal or whatever. And then once you get there you're gonna realize it's not really even the end goal it's gonna keep going.

Marcus: There is-

Amanda: I think very important.

Marcus: Absolutely a lot of truth in that. It's amazing to me how man people are so concerned about getting to X but when you get to X you realize well now that's not the goal, the goal has moved because that's easy. Like X becomes mundane and so always doing what you're currently doing with excellence-

Amanda: Does that make sense by the way?

Marcus: Yeah.

Amanda: Creatively?

Marcus: Yeah. Absolutely.

Amanda: Just cause any time I realize what I'm starting to head the education department I would be asked to speak to classes. We had this program called Teen Spark which is a group of young teens who ... it's kind of like an internship to help us develop programming for their peers and then they get an understanding of the inter-workings of a cultural non-profit, which in school if I'd had the understanding of what jobs there were it would of changed everything, because I wouldn't of been getting fed the same, be an art teacher, be a painter. And then there's the rhetoric of starving artist. Like, you must love to work a cash register, you must love to make coffee.

Marcus: I was just getting ready to say that.

Amanda: I've never made coffee, I waited tables for a long time and I loved it. Some of my regulars are doners at the art center now. It goes along with that same just trying to do you very best and be creative with whatever job that you have.

Marcus: But what are some of the jobs now that your here, what is that a good question or a bad question?

Amanda: It's got a long answer. Are you going to ask me what jobs I've had.

Marcus: Well no, I mean not jobs that you've had, no. But what jobs if you were to talk to your younger self, what are some of the jobs that are available that you weren't aware of? As an artist, what are some of the jobs that are available to artists that you weren't aware of? So when I think of artist, I think well you could obviously, you can go into graphic design, you can go into web design, you can go into photography, you can be an artist, you can be a museum curator, you can own a studio, you can do a number of different things. I mean what are some of the others that I'm missing? Education is obviously one of them, and whether it's private education or you know?

Amanda: I guess maybe it's more of an attitude in the whole, I saw you draw well you should be an artist. And it's like, oh, that's kind of not where I was going but if that's the only job for someone who does what I do then that's what I'll do. I remember actually Rob Hobart was giving a talk on the future of media one time about four years back and he said something about specialization and how they don't want people who have specialized in things or stayed their course and I might be misquoting him, so sorry Rob.

Marcus: That's fine.

Amanda: If you're listening. They want someone who could be innovative and change and creative and think about problems in a new way. And I think that's kind of probably what's missing from public school systems I think is innovation and teaching kids to creatively solve problems in different fields and not just, I was creative I drew a picture well, I will draw pictures for the rest of my life.

Marcus: Right.

Amanda: It's like I don't consider myself a painter, but people call me that.

Marcus: There is a future for public schools, it's gonna change. And the change if you listen to some of the visionaries in that field you will hear that they are tired of us teaching kids wrote memorization that the time for the "factory" worker mentality of just teaching somebody to do something and do it over and over and over and over again is gone. That we are now ... we're not a manufacturing country anymore we are a creative country now and the more that we can foster that creativity and build that into our kids the better off we will be because we are the idea generators and we're the people that are actually coming up with the next new thing. I love what you're saying because it feeds into that. It's not just looking at somebody and saying, oh you color great or you draw great, so you need to be an artist. It's hey you have a creative mind and hey newsflash everybody starts out with a creative mind and-

Amanda: Exactly.

Marcus: It's beaten out of them through years and years-

Amanda: Raising the roof again.

Marcus: Of school system and, so one of the things as a parent that I've tried very much to do is just kind of foster that creativity in my boys. They still kind of have that in them even though they are in the public school system and there's some of level of just ... I mean they have to mature as individuals and so they're understanding, well you can't just spend all day coloring you have to actually do some work too. I would love to see them go into fields that are creative. As a matter of fact, one of the very reasons why I'm growing Blue Fish is because at one point in time I thought, well you know maybe one of the boys wants to come and work at Blue Fish and learn how to do this kind of stuff. But anyway, I very much agree with you we need to get out of this mindset of just because somebody can do drawing or art or painting or whatever well, that that means that they're gonna be a barista and then on the nights and weekends they get to paint. If you're out there and you are of that mindset look into design thinking and just Google "design thinking" and go down that path or start looking at ways that you can apply your creativity to problems because that is the wave of the future. We actually ought to link this in the show notes or something, Seth Godin did a talk a year or two ago in front of some students at a school in New York City, and the whole premise of the talk was that, and I'm sorry cause I've gone off on a tangent.

Amanda: No, no, it's great.

Marcus: Forgive me.

Amanda: It's great.

Marcus: But the whole premise of the talk was exactly what we're talking about that we walk around with supercomputers in our pockets all day long an if you asked me what were the dates of World War I, I could literally in 30 seconds or less, as long as I have a data connection, I can in 30 seconds or less I could find out what those dates were. There's no real reason for me to memorize those types of things. I need to be focusing, or we need to be focusing students more on the creative aspects of how to apply their brain and how to come up with ideas and think outside of the box, because that is the future. Alright I'm gonna stop there before we take too much of this podcast talking about something that isn't centered on you and Alabama Contemporary, so let's get back on track.

Amanda: No worries.

Marcus: Looking to the business or art world, is there one person that motivates you or inspires you? Somebody that acts as kind of a muse?

Amanda: Honestly, it is really hard to pick one person, just because so many leaders. Right now I would say or kind of following the same paths and thinking in very similar ways which is good, because their support for people that are starting to make wonder and creativity a career or a life's purpose or whatever. Anyone who can think scientifically about the world and how to relate things scientifically to people I really respect, just because that's ... sorry but people do respect science more just in my experience, because it's data driven and art is kumbaya driven in people's minds. Well arts not really a science.

Marcus: Emotional think versus a data thing.

Amanda: Yeah, but we all have emotions and I think that's a big problem in today's society. People have trouble taking ownership of their emotions and expressing themselves and admitting when they might of made a mistake or admitting that they're ashamed of the way they express themselves and I think that's art is huge. I think I've gone off on a tangent myself, but there is a science to how the arts can help children and adults and seniors with Alzheimer or whatever, because they do the way that you create art is a very similar way that you explore a plant or something using science. I don't know I'm not a scientist. But you know it can be data driven. I think it's amazing to me to see people ... I listen to a lot of podcasts about people talking about their relationship between science. I listen to a lot of podcasts that explore the relationship between science and art and how science is kind of a more universal way to explain our individual experience. Art is a more individual way to explain our universal experience. How do we all experience the world, well very differently, so that's why we need all the colors and all the sounds and all the movements and words. Does that make sense?

Marcus: Yeah. You mentioned podcasts, so I guess you opened up to the next question. Any books, podcasts, people or organizations that have been helpful?

Amanda: Hmm. This is gonna sound really cheesy, as far as people by the way, I'm constantly inspired by children cause they have no filter and they'll say anything.

Marcus: That is not cheesy. That maybe the best answer that we've ever gotten. No, I mean, seriously.

Amanda: People are always like, oh man you're such a big kid. It's like, yeah, but I'll also like hold a nine to five and pay my bills and everything. It's like obviously I don't have it so bad, but I think it's just so important that kids teach us at this point to not let our expression get beaten out of us, and so I think that's just really important. As far as podcasts goes-

Marcus: What's the one podcast that you keep going back to?

Amanda: I love Jealous Curator. She interviews artists and they just shoot the breeze.

Marcus: Yeah. Conversation.

Amanda: Yes.

Marcus: Very good.

Amanda: Jealous Curator and then there's actually a woman in leadership podcast I'm really into lately. Just the kind of drives home the overworking is overrated and rest is productivity and kind of talking about leading a team by example. And one of the most important things is balance and trying to not to glorify exhaustion. It's huge for me cause I tend to do that. So I'm working on it.

Marcus: When your passionate about something it's easy to find yourself completely wrapped around the actual and not focusing on anything else. What's the most important thing that you've learned about running an organization now?

Amanda: Pretty much what I just said. It takes so much in introspection and reflection on myself lately. Just kind of, it's only been a few months, but up until then I was curating the exhibit and really tied up with the coordination of all that, and so I didn't have a chance to really think big picture. So lately, it's just been interesting seeing the immediate results of personal changes. Does that make sense?

Marcus: Yeah, absolutely.

Amanda: I used to actually teach at a Montessori school, it was toddler room, so it was two-year olds to teach.

Marcus: Sure.

Amanda: It was fascinating because they immediately react. I mean no hesitation at all. If you yell, they're gonna yell. If you say stop yelling, it's like oh god, that's a good way to get everyone yelling. So it's leading my example was, at that point, was ... I'm just seeing a lot of the same patterns again and I say to my staff, I'm not calling you toddlers. It's just been really fascinating seeing the benefits of self growth.

Marcus: Do you have next exhibit planned.

Amanda: We are working on it. It's called, well actually the next, next one, The State of the Art, The Art of the State. That's gonna be the next longer one. We are kind of shifting focus a little bit and not doing as long exhibitions. In the past, we would do nine-month exhibitions so that we could break it down by theme to kind of be more interpretive. So say in 2012, we had the futures project, and over the course of the nine months we'd focus on, like I said, the future of media, the future of education, the future of healthcare, the future of economics. It's not just come look at art it's on a wall and it's pretty. It's come look at art engage with us through these avenues, film, talks, tours, classes, workshops, performances, whatever you like. We'll find a way to help you interpret the art. By default help you interpret the world as it is at the moment. Even though I know I did just say futures project, so you get the idea. We want to shift focus and have a little bit shorter exhibitions because I feel like there's such a great need to appeal to a larger audience as far as the arts go. And we have the space and so I think it's important to engage the community and get more involvement from local curators and artists.

Marcus: So more often that you can have those the more people you can engage and bring in and have discussions with. I get it.

Amanda: State of the Art, Art of the State will be kind of breaking down Alabama into areas and selecting artists that are really telling the story of that area at that time. Then after back to Vanna and before the State of the Art that I mentioned is gonna be a project with one of our board members Roma Hanks, who's the Director of Anthropology and Sociology at South. One of her grad students called, The Photo Voice Project and it's a nationwide project actually and they give cameras to what they call community health advocates to these people who are working in their community to solve needs, whatever that may be. We've learned a ton about food deserts and environmental activism and community gardens and how there's such a direct correlation between people's access to healthy food in their zip code. There's such a science behind that and so the students really fascinating too. She's been talking a lot about social interactionism and how everything we do affects other people. Or how if we have bad habbits, if we're eating terrible food, we might not think that that creates a ripple.

Marcus: If you're in a food desert than it's easy for you to go to the convenience store and pick up chips, but you can't get fruits and vegetables kind of-

Amanda: And then that leads to a whole other realm of issues like transportation and why should it take these people two hours to go to the store when they finally get there they can't keep the food cold until they get home. It's just easier to get processed, bagged and boxed. That's kind of a good, I think, small example of how we hope to use art to address social and community issues or interests or ideas.

Marcus: Well tell people where they can find out more information about the art center.

Amanda: You can go to www.alabamacontemporary.org. You can go to our Facebook. We post about any programs that we have going on. You can signup for our newsletter. We send one out, I think, every two weeks or so. Or you can just stop in and I will talk to you probably just as long as I've talked to Marcus here.

Marcus: It's great. Well I want to thank you again for coming on the podcast. Want to wrap up any final thoughts or comments?

Amanda: No. I don't think so. Thank you for having me. It was great.

Marcus: Yeah. Absolutely. Well Amanda, I appreciate your willingness to sit with me and share your journey, it has been great talking with you.

Amanda: Thank you so much. It was great talking with you too.


* Referenced Seth Godin talk:

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