Last year, I made a decision to leave a career in healthcare and become an Executive Director of an arts non-profit. Not exactly the career path I expected to follow when I started practicing physical therapy 15 years ago. But after much careful thought and consideration about what felt deeply important to me, I knew this was the right move.
Here’s the truth: the arts are not my passion. Eek! Don’t get me wrong; I love the arts. My mother was a music teacher, although it was my father who sang the most obscure songs throughout the house in his Texas drawl. Classical music played often in our home both on the radio and our piano. My brother and I put on some pretty well designed productions involving the Lite Bright, a trumpet, and an old school tape recorder. My parents were wonderful about introducing us to arts and culture through travel and books. When you grow up in a small town, you don’t always get to experience those things first hand and now, as an adult, I recognize how exposure to the arts can really shape your life. I was very fortunate.
I love raising my two small daughters here in Omaha and I want them to have all the arts and culture at their fingertips that I never did. I want that for everyone in Omaha. I want people to understand that when you support local artists, you make the whole community more beautiful and interesting.
I know the arts make us richer, not only in the economic sense, but also culturally and creatively.
I know that the arts enhance the quality of our lives. I know that the arts are central to creating a sense of community, to engage our youth, to spark innovation. I know the arts make us richer, not only in the economic sense, but also culturally and creatively. I know that a community that values the arts also values its impact on social issues that concern virtually every facet of our society.
This is why I chose to do this work. Not because I’m passionate about the arts, but because I’m passionate about this community. I know how the arts can shape a life, no matter what twists and turns it may take.
Emily Moody is the Executive Director of Omaha Creative Institute. Before joining the non-profit world, she practiced Physical Therapy for 15 years primarily making house calls to the aging population. Emily loves music (from Bach to The Faint) and attending local art shows (mostly for the wine in those tiny plastic cups). She has served on numerous community boards and enjoys collaborating with others who are much smarter than her. Emily cares deeply about living in a city that values social justice, equality and education, and she feels that a thriving arts culture and creative class reflect a community that cares about things that matter. She lives in the Dundee neighborhood with her husband, Craig, and two sweet daughters, Lydia and Janie.