My Catawba County
5Q: Ingrid Anna-Lisa Keller
This month’s 5Q is with Ingrid Anna-Lisa Keller, the newly-minted executive director of the United Arts Council of Catawba County. Keller’s lifetime interest and work in the arts, including her most recent time at the helm of the Western Piedmont Symphony, prepared her well to lead an organization dedicated to helping arts and culture thrive in Catawba County.
What are the chief responsibilities of your role?
As the leader of our local arts agency, I work with our many arts, science and history organizations and partners to make Catawba County a vibrant community, full of cultural opportunities. Overall, my job is to guide our community’s cultural policy and to grow and strengthen our creative economy. Our municipalities are an important part of making that happen.
What is your vision for the community, and how are you working to achieve it?
I envision a population of diverse people living and working in a vibrant community with a healthy economy, strong education systems and a thriving arts and culture scene. The programs that the arts, science and history organizations in Catawba County create are truly innovative, educational, enlightening and entertaining. My colleagues and I are always striving to share these experiences with as many people as possible to create a positive impact both socially and economically.
What is the most rewarding aspect of what you do, and why?
I enjoy helping people and organizations achieve their creative goals. Making grant awards and encouraging artists is rewarding on a number of levels. Meeting people and promoting great art, music, film, literature and other cultural experiences…I can’t imagine anything better, actually. I love my job!
On a personal note, what do you love about living in Catawba County?
It’s home for me. I graduated from Maiden High School. My parents live in Conover. I lived and worked in Newton and now live and have an office in Hickory. So while I have visited 25 countries and love to travel and experience other cultures, I also love coming home.
What is the best advice you've been given, and how has it made a difference for you?
A leader in the British creative industries once offered me the advice, “Don’t start your career somewhere that is already successful. Go somewhere that needs you.” I truly believe my humble beginnings allowed me to learn and appreciate the efforts of working hard.
RAPID FIRE QUESTIONS:
A little bit country or a little bit rock and roll?
A little bit classical…and hip hop…and indie…and electronic…and showtunes…and metal…and…
Favorite place in Catawba County?
The top of Baker’s Mountain
Eastern or Western BBQ?
Either, both, all of it
What are you currently reading?
A book called Building Communities, Not Audiences: The Future of the Arts.