By Ann Brown, Director of Arts Education –
Meredith Callis has joined the Tennessee Arts Commission as Arts Education Special Projects Coordinator. Meredith comes to us from Chattanooga where she worked as a teaching artist in Hamilton County Schools. Most recently, she spent the summer in Boston at the Children’s Art Centre, America’s first and oldest public fine arts museum designed exclusively for children. There, she designed and taught arts-integrated curriculum for students, and guided trips and museum experiences for the students of Boston’s historic United South End Settlements. Meredith is a 2016 graduate of the Holmberg Institute, a program designed by ArtsBuild in Chattanooga to develop emerging arts leaders as arts advocates. Meredith has a Bachelor’s degree in Early Childhood & Family Studies and Art Education from the University of Tennessee.
So we could all get to know Meredith a little better, I asked her a handful of questions … some to get at the heart of why she’s here and others … just for fun! Her responses are below. We look forward to working with Meredith and hope you do too. Welcome, Meredith!
- You’re a new crayon in the box. What color would you be and why?
I think I would be mint green – It appears in some of my favorite spots, and I’m always so taken by it! I spend a good amount of time outside, and I love how often the earth produces it. It’s one that is hard to replicate the same way nature does which is really neat to me.
- You’re a native Tennessean. What do love most about this state?
Tennessee is a uniquely beautiful state, with some incredible traditions. The older I get, the more appreciation I’ve developed for the rich history of my state. I have a great deal of respect for the particular ingenuity and resiliency of the men and women who have called Tennessee home throughout history.
- Speaking of Tennessee, it is a state known for towns with unique names. What’s your favorite town name and why?
Bucksnort. They say a smile is the same in all languages, and I feel the same sentiment applies to the word “Bucksnort.”
- As a child, what did you want to be when you grew up?
An Art Teacher! In elementary school, I always drew my cartoon self with an apron on and paintbrush in hand.
- As an adult, what do you want to be when you grow up?
I’d like to remain within arts administration, seeking equitable access to creativity and culture for students. I’d hope that this involves continuing the cause of meaningful connections, and discovering ways to dismantle the barriers that can keep effective arts engagement from reaching its fullest potential within American communities.
- What is the funniest thing that happened to you recently?
Last month I got stuck in bad traffic right before a flight and had to run through Logan airport barefoot with my bag, as the shoes I was wearing wouldn’t have gotten me there fast enough. I received a surprising amount of high fives.
- What do you look forward to most about working at the Tennessee Arts Commission?
I genuinely look forward to representing Arts Education on behalf of my home state and working to build a stronger future for students’ engagement with the arts. I also look forward to learning from the incredibly dedicated individuals on the Tennessee Arts Commission staff.
- What is something interesting about you that we wouldn’t know from your bio alone?
A few years back I worked for a florist and learned a great deal about flower arrangement, and then eventually event planning. I still do both as a side gig from time to time, and it is has become a hobby I truly enjoy.
- If you could know the absolute and total truth to one question, what question would you ask?
I’m entirely fascinated by our universe, and would love to know once and for all what sort of life exists outside of our planet. (I want to believe!)