Everyday Art – An Interview with Erin Hoppe

Erin Hoppe

Erin Hoppe was recently recognized in our hometown of Columbus OH with the Emerging Arts Leader Award. She serves as the Executive Director for the VSA – a community of inspired artists that seek to bridge art and disability. Spend three minutes around her and you’re inspired. We recently had the opportunity to chat with Erin, and here’s her story.

When did you first become interested in art?

I guess you could say as a kid. I was always kind of a nerd. I’m not really into creating my own art and never really was but I have always had an appreciation for it. My parents raised me that way.

You are the Executive Director for an organization called VSA. What exactly does the organization do?

It was founded in 1986 as a non-profit organization and we now have 34 locations throughout the U.S. and are an international organization. We work to advocate for accessibility and equality, advance careers in the arts, help communities, and improve academic achievements of Ohio’s students through art integration.

So, what exactly do you do?!

We provide professional opportunities for artists by helping to set up booths at local events so they can sell their work without having to pay the fees that would keep them from doing it on their own. We have art education residencies and we’ll have master artists come in and teach students geometry through dance or how information can be presented visually, verbally, or kinesthetically.

What’s one of your proudest accomplishments?

In the fall we had our 2nd Annual film festival called Reel Abilities, which started in New York and shows international award winning films about people with disabilities or by people with disabilities and then we held workshops and panels to go along with the event.

What’s your biggest challenge right now?

Well I’m the only full-time staff there so I wear a lot of different hats. And I don’t really look good in hats so I’m trying to make it work. I wish I could have a larger team to work with but the funding just isn’t available right now so until then it’s a lot of self-motivation and working with a small team.

Did you always know you wanted a career in the arts?

No, not at all. I attended college in California, where I’m from, and originally thought I was going to school to become a pharmacist because that’s what my whole family does. But once I started I realized that was not for me. Then around graduation my mom began asking me what I was going to do and I still had no idea. It wasn’t until I talked to one of my professors that he introduced me to art administration. So I moved to D.C. after graduation for an internship and realized it was a perfect fit.

Has this job changed your perspective on your career or life?

A lot of people don’t realize that art is so much more than painting or theater; it is writing, or architecture, or even branding. I always say we should shut down everything that has to do with the arts for 2 days so people can see how important it really is. We wouldn’t have any music, our streets would be a mess because we wouldn’t have the architecture behind them; everything we do and use has some form of art behind it.

This job specifically has really opened my eyes and changed the way I looked at the world. I never thought I knew anyone with a disability but it doesn’t always have to be an obvious disability. I realized a disability could be anything and happen to anyone at anytime. And art feeds your soul, so sometimes we need to not focus on all the big issues like implementing healthcare programs.

What has been the most rewarding moment in your career?

I love the advocating aspect of it. Going to meetings and talking about why art matters and can make a difference even if people aren’t always interested. It’s important to be involved and you can advocate every single day in different ways.

What advice do you have for young women today that are trying to make a difference?

I guess I would say if a job seems too hard just go for it anyway. If it’s what you really want to do just go for it. It’s essential to take part in democracy so get involved.

You recently were awarded the 2013 Emerging Arts Leader in Central Ohio by the Greater Columbus Arts Council, how was that experience?

Yeah it was definitely an honor. I’m very humble and don’t like talking about myself but it was nice to be recognized.

Erin is making a statement that art should be accessible to everyone; that at the core, everyone is an artist. What kind of artist are you?

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Custom Workout Shirts Can Be Your Personal Trainer

The workout season is here and no excuses are allowed! You, and the many others who have made the New Year’s resolution to drop a few pounds, are going to reach the weight loss goal you have set and our custom workout shirts are here to help you along the way!

Our workout shirts are better than the ones you can find at any department store because our shirts can be personalized! This means you can put anything you want on your workout performance wear to inspire you during your workouts. Why spend thousands of dollars on a personal trainer to motivate you to get into shape, when you can have motivational workout shirts to encourage you for a lot less! Add the text and art you want to your workout shirt that will have you pushing out one more rep or running that extra half-mile. Customize a workout tank or shirt today that will keep you on the right track to fitness success!

Custom Workout Shirts

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5 Unconventional Lessons for Twenty-Somethings

The path to adulthood is a paved road of smudged eyeliner and hilarious stories. Here are some of the things we wish a smart, sassier older sister had typed up for us before we fumbled our way thru our twenties.

Build a network, off-line.

Off line network

Snapchat and Twitter are fun and great, but you need real-life conversations to compliment those @ messages. We know that it’s pretty easy to get sucked into social network addiction, so set a goal to meet someone once a week for drinks. On-line is fun and great, but nothing is more important than old-fashioned face-to-face conversation.

Have a hobby that isn’t Pinterest.

Non Pinterest hobby

Hey, we love Pinterest too and we have proof. But the thing about Pinterest is that you can quickly lose 5-6 hours scrolling through pins. You need to have a hobby that involves off-line activity; something to engage and challenge you. Why is it important? Hobbies often lead to new friendships and job-marketable skills that aren’t taught in a classroom.

Read words that aren’t on a screen.

The Roaring Twenties

Books are sexy, and we aren’t just talking 50 Shades of Grey. Why bother? Reading print books has been linked to improved sleeping habits, helping to lower depression, and increased mental stamina. Steal 30-45 minutes a day to read something that’s not on your phone, you’ll thank us.

Write great e-mails.

Write better emails

Seems like weird advice, huh? Email is a learned skill, not just an app. In our e-mail flooded world, you need to write emails that stand out and demand to be opened. When you’re applying for a job, odds are your email message will be the determining factor that leads an HR rep to open and read your resume. Don’t take email lightly.

Don’t be afraid to be afraid.

Albert Einstein Quote

That’s not an oxymoron. If you truly want to live an adventurous life, you’ll need to challenge your skills and push your comfort zones frequently. Being afraid isn’t a sign of weakness, it’s a sign that you’re doing something worthwhile. Start small to build your fear tolerance – think about committing to one activity a month that pushes you outside of your comfort zones to try something new.

You’ve got a lot of people telling you how to live your life when you’re navigating through your twenties. You’ll make lots of mistakes and you’ll find lots of things about yourself that are surprising. We think that these 5 simple lessons will help you become a more complete version of yourself, however you define that.

What advice would you add to this list?  Share your lessons in our comments below!

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Label Rebels – You Can’t Rave With Us (Custom Neon Crop Tops)

Label Rebel Nat designed these custom crop tops and custom shirts for herself and her group of friends who attended the EDC rave. The EDC rave, also known as Electric Daisy Carnival, is a Friday and Saturday celebration that usually takes place during the month of November.

Nat first chose our Ladies Flowy Cropped Tank, which comes in a variety of colors. But the most sensible colors for a rave would of course be the neons.

We loved Nat’s “you can’t rave with us” design. We get excited when we see customers use the Customized Girl Design Center to create a cool design and then put it on multiple styles. In Nat’s case, she ordered a variety of trendy crop tanks and then also unisex t-shirts for the guys. She was able to find several different options, all in neons. In fact, we loved her design so much that we emailed her and asked if she would be willing to share her story and maybe even some pictures. Unfortunately, her story takes a tragic turn, so we’ll just copy and paste her exact quote below.

We were very happy with our order, thank you. We actually made these shirts to attend EDC in Orlando. Unfortunately, our friend passed away that weekend while we were up there. These shirts definitely serve as a memory. If you do post the group picture, would you be able to include the hashtag #smileforoscar? That’s what we’ve been using to keep his name alive. Sincerely, Nat

Nat, we are so sorry for your loss. #smileforoscar

Cant Rave With Us Neon Tanks - Group

Cant Rave With Us Crop Tanks

Cant Rave With Us Couple Shirts

Cant Rave With Us Shirts Tanks

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