We’re excited to introduce you to the always interesting and insightful Robyn Vegas. We hope you’ll enjoy our conversation with Robyn below.
Robyn, thanks for joining us, excited to have you contributing your stories and insights. We’d love to hear about when you first realized that you wanted to pursue a creative path professionally.
When I was in high school, I took my first art class with the amazingly talented Sharon Doucet and it completely changed the course of my life. Before that I wanted to be a public defender! It was a complete 180-degree shift. I don’t think teachers get the recognition they deserve for how much they influence and shape us. I had always been involved in numerous creative arts experiences from childhood, but did not realize something I enjoyed so much could actually be a career until that moment.
Awesome – so before we get into the rest of our questions, can you briefly introduce yourself to our readers.
I was born south of New Orleans into a strongly knit Cajun French family. Growing up I fondly remember spending weekends in the French Quarter where I was mesmerized by the local street artists, performers and Jazz musicians. My grandmother frequently took us to the shows at the historic Sanger Theater where I was exposed to theater in many forms. It was a unique blend of the local cultures that gave me a deep appreciation for the varied customs, back grounds and ethnicities I was surrounded by. I studied ballet for 12 years, took drama, piano and art classes growing up and was encouraged to be creative. I’m also an exhibiting artist and think of myself as a creator.
I am currently the Executive Director of Business for the Arts of Broward, a non-profit organization that educates the business community about the importance of Broward County’s art and cultural community and engages them in building connections between cultural vitality, creative success, and economic development.
I am most proud of our recent support to twenty small and mid-sized local nonprofits who were struggling from the pandemic and our new endowed art fund partnership with The Community Foundation of Broward. We also support performing and visual artists and successfully maintained our programs, even during the pandemic which was both surprising and motivational to me personally.
Can you share a story from your journey that illustrates your resilience?
After 911, I lost my job as an arts curriculum trainer and sales rep for an art supply company. I was a single mother and it was 2 weeks before Christmas. I remember selling everything I owned expect for clothes, a few toys and my art supplies and moving into a 1-bedroom apartment fitting all I had in my car. I was working two jobs and barely making enough to pay bills for close to a year. Although it was a struggle, every day I looked for positive moments and told myself I was reinventing my life from that moment forward. When you lose everything you have, you come to appreciate the important things which have nothing to do with material objects. Simple things like spending time with family, going to the beach, and making art helped me to stay centered. I was all I could afford to do but it slowed me down and helped me focus. I look back on that time and know it made me a stronger person.
What do you find most rewarding about being a creative?
Through Business for the Arts of Broward I am able to help support art and cultural nonprofits and individual artists which is the most rewarding thing about working in a creative field for me personally. I love meeting new artists, watching a performance we host, or hearing an artist speak about their journey and success. Bringing awareness to the community on the importance of cultural arts and seeing our impact grow year after year has been very gratifying.
- Website: www.bfabroward.org
- Instagram: www.instagram.com/bfabroward
- Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/BFABroward/
- Linkedin: Business for the Arts of Broward
Downtown Photo and Juan Prieto Photography