Hello! I am Emily, one half of the original team that created VIA Noke Magazine in 2012. You can read more about VIA’s history here, but I wanted to share a little bit of my background in the arts, for those of you interested.
I grew up in Charlotte County, two hours east of Roanoke, and graduated from Randolph-Henry High School in 2005. There was very little exposure to the arts available there, but I was artistic by nature and found ways to express myself creatively as much as possible. My first exposure to graphic design was through the school yearbook and newsletter, which also gave me access to cameras and continuous photography and writing assignments.
I graduated from Radford University’s Graphic Design program in 2010, though I did bounce through other schools before settling there. I attended Parsons briefly for film and digital photography.
The summer of graduation (2010) I took on two internships: one as a graphic designer for Roanoke’s Bella Magazine and another as graphic designer for The Arts Council of the Blue Ridge.
The Arts Council of the Blue Ridge hired me as an intern primarily to create the branding and marketing materials for that year’s “Artview: Visions and Voices,” a collaboration with the Roanoke Valley Sister Cities that brought together local artists and artists from around the world to create and exhibit pieces inspired by Roanoke. (You can read more about that event here.)
At the end of the summer I was hired part time by the Arts Council, then brought on full time around the beginning of 2011. Thus began my immersion in Roanoke’s arts community. Serving as the non-profit’s Marketing Manager, my roles there ranged from graphic design and the development of marketing materials to being the primary contact for our artist and organizational members. I absolutely loved this aspect of my time there, especially getting to know so many local working artists. I also had an insider’s view of the reality of low funding of art organizations at the national, state, and local level. Unfortunately, that extended to our organization as well and the Arts Council closed its doors in October 2012.
We moved to California in the spring of 2013. I quickly found work as a graphic designer for a wine and sprits distributor. Being that they were the sole west coast distributor for hundreds of national and international labels, I had the opportunity to design marketing materials for brands such as Jack Daniel’s, Bacardi, Grey Goose, and more. I designed everything from promotional posters and happy hour table tents to cocktail and full restaurant menus.
After a few years in California, we moved to New York City where I found myself doing similar work as a graphic designer for a hospitality company. This company owned a small chain of restaurants in Manhattan, Long Island, New Jersey, and Las Vegas, as well as a couple of other one-off restaurants and venues in the city. I was responsible for creating promotional posters and event marketing, graphics for social media, and updating menus that needed to be printed and delivered—immediately, by hand—for that night’s dinner service. It was fast-paced and I loved it.
In Richmond, I worked briefly for a manufacturing company designing and doing technical writing for their installation manuals. It was exactly as boring as it sounds.
I am currently living in Roanoke with my husband Daniel, our one-year-old son, and a very grouchy cat. We moved back to the area in May 2019.