When Cathy Carey saw the job posting for Director of Front Porch Gallery, she could hardly believe there was a role so tailor-made for her. “I thought, ‘Oh my God, that sounds like a job I would love to do,’ because it has all these different skills I’ve collected throughout the years.”
The Front Porch Gallery is a gallery of distinction, holding juried shows in its storefront location adjacent to Carlsbad By The Sea, but the new director is responsible for expanding the role of the gallery and its offerings. The new role includes developing creative arts programming; providing an inclusive environment for creative expression for people of all ages; building collaborative community relationships and initiatives; and, perhaps most importantly, engaging participants and patrons on how to think about creativity and its role in a meaningful life.
That’s where Cathy’s background made her the perfect candidate for the role. Prior to joining Front Porch, Cathy was the president and executive director of the Surfing Madonna Oceans Project, a non-profit that fosters community through arts and creativity. “Throughout my career, I have been dedicated to building collaborative relationships between creative communities and engaging the public to promote deeper understanding of ourselves and our world through the experience of creative work,” Cathy explained.
She’s also an artist with a distinguished background. With a degree in painting and printmaking from Virginia Commonwealth University and further training at the Corcoran School of Art, Cathy’s art is displayed in galleries in New Mexico, Arizona and California. Along with teaching art, she wrote and published “The Philosophy of Color,” a color theory instruction book. And as a resident of Carlsbad for over 30 years, she knows the community and Front Porch Gallery personally.
Although the Gallery is in the same building that houses the Carlsbad By The Sea residential community, it is open to the wider public. Cathy, working alongside Katie Wade, Front Porch’s senior director of creative engagement, shared that “We’re trying to adapt the gallery to fit the community. What does the community need?” Since starting in the role, Cathy has offered docent-led tours and discussions and is preparing a new exhibition: Save the Ocean, which runs from January 17-February 29 with an opening reception on January 21 from noon to 2 p.m.
Creativity isn’t limited to professional artists, Cathy emphasized. “We’re gearing Front Porch Gallery as much if not more to people that wouldn’t identify themselves as being an artist,” she said. “Everyone benefits from having a creative experience. Symbolic experiences, like discussing or making art, create new neural pathways.”
“I think there’s a realization about what an advantage it is to have creative engagement,” she said – an advantage that is of special benefit to Carlsbad By The Sea. “If you can tell people looking to move in, ‘We have a gallery on our premises,’ I think that’s a tremendous bonus. I mean, what other senior living communities have a gallery? It’s special. I love that.”