We asked some of the city’s leading artists and creatives to tell us about how they decided to pursue an artistic or creative career.  We’ve shared some highlights below.

Leah Lewis & Brittany Schoede | Event Planners, Ten-Four Events

Event planning strikes a beautiful balance between creative design and precise attention to detail. Oftentimes, people associate creativity with being disorganized—but because we are both very analytical and tenacious, it actually allows us to be even more creative and artistic in our career as event planners. We love to make order out of the planning chaos! Once all of the logistics are finalized, the opportunities to create magical, memorable moments are limitless. Read more>>

Cynthia Ord | Marketer & Blogger

Creativity is such a deep part of being human! It will be one of the last things to be automated away. So why did I choose it? I just love the way it makes my brain feel to ideate and create. Read more>>

Tawny Fritz | Ink Illustrator/Artist

I chose a creative career field initially because I saw it as a way to make money doing what I love. And then… the “making money” aspect killed my love for it because I put so much pressure on myself to be a version of success that *other* people had defined. When I shifted my focus to what I want my life to be and molded my work around that vision of success, the love for the work came back to me. Now, I continue working in illustration as a means to convey a message of connection among humans. My subject matter tends to feature “confrontational” women meant to invoke a feeling or emotion in the viewer. Sometimes people see something in my work that was unintentional but the fact that they see or feel something in it is a success in itself, no matter what my original intention was. Read more>>

Tessa Rehbein Machmer | Owner of Machmer Mo(ve)ment Photography

Honestly, I have never considered not having a creative career. As a very young child I wanted to grow up to be a ballerina. Ask my mother, I was dancing before I could walk. As I grew, I spent every night at the dance studio from 4:00-9:00pm and filled my weekends with rehearsing for shows. I loved it. In dance, you are always working to achieve perfection, and as humans, we know there is no such thing. I couldn’t get enough of dance because there was always something new to learn and try to perfect. While I was in high school, I also immersed myself in all art electives; pottery, glassblowing, photography, theatre, music theory classes, etc.. I hated math and loved English… stereotypical of a “left brained” artist. I continued on the career path of dance into college causing my father to nearly faint when I told him I wanted to get a Fine Arts degree. Nevertheless, I didn’t question it…until I had to start paying student loans, but that’s another topic. After college I joined a modern dance company that performs locally and is involved with some amazing outreach work in the greater metropolitan area. Read more>>

Casey Raser | Photographer/Videogra

Growing up i have always had a passion and love for being creative and thinking outside the box. I don’t believe having a career in a field other than something artistic was really ever a choice in my head. Growing up I was always the one doing impressions of all the great actors in movies i watched It filled me with joy to entertain people and put a smile on their faces. When I was about 8 years old my parents decided to put me in dance classes because they could see that it would be a great place to let me be my weird child self and burn off some energy in the process. That slowly became my life, day in and day out, dance was all i did outside of school. Back in 2009, my mom had bought an Olympus E-620 DSLR camera to use for my siblings sports games and our family events, which she ended up rarely using because I always seemed to have it wrapped around my neck. Read more>>

Claire Swinford | Creative Placemaker & Painter

If I could get one thing across to my younger self, or any creatively-inclined high school student today, it would be this: Don’t believe anyone who tells you that there’s a straight line between what you set out to do and where you end up. I could have saved myself a lot of angst as a brainy, ambitious teen if someone wiser had sat me down and explained that you don’t need to find the right path — it will find you. I declared dual majors in journalism and French literature in college, and now I’m doing arts-fueled public engagement programming for a quasigovernmental entity while maintaining a studio practice as a narrative realist painter. Go figure! Between Point A (journalism school) and Point B (pushing local creative industries like Kellogg pushes breakfast cereal) I worked for libraries, newspapers, schools, restaurants, bars, theaters, fundraisers, orchestras and for one memorable summer, a summer camp where they educated students through historical reenactment. Read more>>