Meet My Mom
Artist, entrepreneur, rebel…Mom, Nana, Corey; all names my mother wears proudly. Her courage, creativity and heart are an inspiration not just to me, but also to my daughters.
She holds a bachelor’s degree in Education, with a double major: Art and English. Later she earned a master’s Degree in Art Education. Before having my brother and me, she worked as a graphic designer in an advertising agency. After her divorce, she was hired by a Michigan rural school district to teach high-school art, graphics and English in a metal pole barn. While there, she tapped back into her own high school days behind a megaphone and served cheerleading sponsor.
While I was growing up in Lansing, Michigan, I’d go with Mom when she’d paint municipal murals or spearhead Junior League community projects.
Years later and married to my awesome stepdad, she was horrified when my brother came home from his school’s Cultural Arts Day with a colored-in ditto sheet of a man in Greek costume. That’s how ArtSense was born.
Since I was in college not using my bedroom, she and Dad transformed it into a production set where she hired a technician to shoot photographic slides and record the actors’ VO performances. This time-consuming process became her first series of art education videos featuring a magic art teacher and real students who taught the elements and principals of art. This was before live-action video became a thing. To accompany each video lesson, she created hundreds of easy art projects filling a huge teaching guide to help classroom teachers integrate art throughout the elementary curriculum.
Her ArtSense program was the first of its kind. She spent years battling apathy, territorial egos and closed minds in her efforts to put art into the hands of classroom teachers. One of only five programs adopted by the state of Texas in 1998, she went toe-to-toe with top textbook publishing houses to sell her program to the state’s school districts.
For the second Texas Textbook Adoption in 2005, she and Dad revised the program and produced live-action video on DVDs. ArtSense is still being used in public and private schools across the country. My mom and stepdad were equal business partners. She created and presented while he ran the business.
Mom set an incredible example for my brother and me about how to create work/life harmony and run a family business. At various point in our lives, we both worked for ArtSense. She raised the bar, and I strive to set the same example for my daughters with my business that they’ve both worked for as well.
In her hometown, everyone knows that if you want something done, you go to Corey. I’d put her against any C-Suite corporate project manager. She has a gift for seeing a need, breaking it down, coordinating and connecting people to get it done.
Like the fun headphones in this newsletter? Mom freehanded those based on the pair I use in my VO booth. She also designed many of my marketing pieces.
As busy as she is, she is a hands-on Nana to her four grandkids. Our oldest daughter calls her a “Force of Nature.” She cheers on my brother’s oldest son, a terrific soccer player, and does art projects with his talented youngest. She and my oldest daughter share a love of 60s music and have been to see Peter, Paul (Mary has passed away) and Joan Baez. Whenever my youngest hits the stage, Nana is right there clapping louder than anyone else in the theater.
Recently, we lost my wonderful stepfather but Mom continues to inspire me with her fierce advocacy and love for him during his hospitalization and her strength as she tries to move forward without her other half.
I want to be my mom when I grow up.