We recently connected with Marjorie Waldo and have shared our conversation below.
Hi Marjorie, thanks for joining us today. It’s always helpful to hear about times when someone’s had to take a risk – how did they think through the decision, why did they take the risk, and what ended up happening. We’d love to hear about a risk you’ve taken.
The biggest risk I’ve ever taken – in my career at least – is changing careers in my fifties! I was an educator, teacher and principal, for 28 years. I never imagined that I would leave that passion – particularly focused on high risk students, specifically drop-out recovery. When I made a decision to do so, I was afraid. Excited, but afraid. I am not a mainstreamer. I have BIG passions and BIG dreams and made a decision decades ago to let those lead me in my career. I graduated with a degree in Drama from the University of Virginia, and I consider myself a poet, and I have always believed the Arts are meaningful and important for all of us, but to work in the field? So, when the position became available at Arts Garage at the end of 2016, it was a leap of passion that allowed me to believe that I could effect the change the organization needed and make our community proud of what we brought to them. I couldn’t be happier with the results of this gamble. Arts Garage is healthier than it’s ever been – producing over 250 events annually, serving tens of thousands of patrons of all ages, supported and respected by our community stakeholders and donors, held up by our hardworking and dedicated volunteers, and staffed with the most passionate and talented team I’ve ever had the pleasure of working with.
Marjorie, before we move on to more of these sorts of questions, can you take some time to bring our readers up to speed on you and what you do?
Born in Key West, Florida, I have lived from New Jersey to Miami with stops in Virginia, Ohio and West Virginia along the way. I am a converted educator of nearly 28 years, with a passion for community and equity. With degrees from the University of Virginia in Drama and from Florida Atlantic University in Educational Leadership, I am a seasoned leader who believes in non-profit work and its impact on our world. I am a single mother of two beautiful people. My 22 year old daughter, who in May will graduate from Boston University before leaving to serve in Kenya as a Peace Corp Volunteer in June, and my son, a Freshman at the University of Nebraska – Lincoln, are my motivation for all things. I think of making them proud with everything I do professionally. Arts Garage, sitting square in the middle of the Pineapple Grove Arts District in Delray Beach, Florida, is a community driven cultural and performing arts center dedicated to our vision of connecting our community to the world through the arts. From Grammy award winning musicians to emerging visual artists, with theater, comedy, volunteering, arts education and open mic nights in the middle, Arts Garage strives to be a little bit of art to everyone, regardless of their passion. We believe the Arts matter. We believe that Art blurs the lines that divide us.
How can we best help foster a strong, supportive environment for artists and creatives?
Our society can support artists and creatives and thriving creative ecosystems (what a great question!) by showing up. Come to a show. Any show. At any venue. Buy a ticket. Go to free events. Make a $2 or $20,000 donation. Share a Facebook or Instagram post. Volunteer. Visit the Art Gallery. Any art gallery. Pay attention to the non-profits around you. Amplify their missions. Vote for candidates in your communities who value the arts and understand the economic and social value they bring to your town. Join a board. Write a note to the CEO/Executive Director and tell them you see their good works. Write a review on Google or Yelp or Trip Advisor. Follow your favorite artists on Instagram and Facebook.
Can you tell us about a time you’ve had to pivot?
Holy smokes – COVID. So, Arts Garage was a turnaround when I took over in November of 2016. A turnaround in every sense of the word – financial, reputation, programming. We worked so hard for so long and by 2019, we were a success – also in every sense of the word. Then COVID hit in March of 2020 and we were set back on our heels again. I’m convinced that the very hard work we did for at least two years straight was exactly why we have done so well regardless of the pandemic.
Our donors continued to donate – and without anyone asking them to. Our patrons continued to support us when they could. Our community stakeholders, the City of Delray Beach and the Community Redevelopment Agency of Delray Beach, stood by us. Our grantors were flexible. Our team kept fighting. Our government provided opportunity for new dollars that we were able to leverage to support ourselves. Amazing.
Arts Garage survived. We more than survived. We just celebrated, in 2021, our TEN YEAR ANNIVERSARY. How fortunate are we?
- Website: https://artsgarage.org/
- Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/artsgaragedelraybeach/
- Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/DelrayArtsGarage/
- Linkedin: https://www.linkedin.com/company/arts-garage-delray/
- Twitter: https://twitter.com/ArtsGarageFL
- Youtube: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC6liiSt5igbxBDJYJwCbKRg
- Yelp: https://www.yelp.com/biz/arts-garage-delray-beach-2?osq=arts+garage
- Other: https://www.tripadvisor.com/Attraction_Review-g34179-d2642535-Reviews-Arts_Garage-Delray_Beach_Florida.html