Maria Reilly

NAP Coordinator
Maria Reilly
Maria Reilly is a gentle and kind soul, and upon meeting her you are instantly at ease. Last year Maria celebrated an amazing twenty-five years of service with Pinellas County! That long standing relationship with her community is part of what has made her such a perfect fit as Coordinator for the National Arts Program® Exhibit in Pinellas County. She has given the employees of Pinellas County and their families so much and has continued to make the National Arts Program® Exhibit the very best it can be. Her effort in this show is just one example of how much she indeed cares about others and her passion to bring joy to those around her. We are so grateful that, although she is retiring at the end of this year, she will continue to be apart of the exhibit and will return as a volunteer for hopefully many, many years to come. Congratulations on your upcoming retirement Maria and thank you for six wonderful years working on this show.
 
Q. What makes the National Arts Program® different than any other art exhibit put on by Pinellas County?
A. This is a program that benefits everyone and has really worked well to improve employee morale. It is a program for the “employees” as opposed to other programs which benefit the public. This is about the employees showing their ‘hidden’ talents. Every year, I am more and more inspired and awe-struck by the talent of our employees. Working with the NAP has been a phenomenal experience.
 
Q. Why do you feel that displaying employee artwork is important?
A. It is important for employee morale. The citizens walking through the court house are impressed to learn that it is the employees who wait on them whose art works are on display. They always comment – “we thought it was an art gallery installed here at the court house”. It is important for the employees to have this outlet and to know that the Appointing Authorities support this program.
 
Q. How have employees and their families responded to the opportunity to display their artwork?
A. They can’t wait for the next year. One year, we had so many art pieces that we were unable to display them all.
 
Q. Why do you think displaying artwork in the government setting is so important?
A. It is good for morale and good for the citizens to come to the court house and view ‘beauty’ while waiting to pay a traffic fine, or to go into the court room for a child custody or divorce hearing. It has a tendency to lighten and brighten the mood of everyone who walks through our doors.
 
Q. What is your favorite aspect of the National Arts Program®?
A. The entire process. It is the best part of my job and sadly I’m retiring this year and will not coordinate the 7th annual Colors of Pinellas but I will return as a volunteer.
 
Q. Do visitors to the building respond to the employee exhibit?
A. Visitors love the display and many have purchased some of the artwork. Each year we have successful sales of art work.
 
Q. How has utilizing online registration made the process easier for you?
A. We had used our own version of the on-line registration after the first year of participation and loved how the process worked. We’ve successfully steered the participants to this method of registration and it has worked well. It is great for me to track the entries, respond to the registrant and we’ve successfully streamlined the process eliminating about 4-5 days out of the process.
 
Q. Can you tell us how art has had a positive impact on your personal life?
A. Art always makes me smile. Although the show is a lot of ‘background’ work, I love it and can’t wait to see each entry on the day of installation.
 
Q. How did you get started in the art field or have you always been involved in the arts? Are you an artist yourself?
A. I am so grateful that my position in the department (Employee Communications) allowed me to become involved in this process. I am not an artist but do like to take photographs and entered a piece myself this year. I have been exposed to painting – as my grandmother, aunt and my two sisters are painters. I love seeing how they make a canvas come to life. It is an admirable talent. I can make roses bloom and take a photo or two. So this whole experience is most gratifying for me and I love helping the artists display their ‘hidden’ talents.
 

Q. Is there anything else you want to add? Comments about the program, etc.

A. I am grateful to the staff at the NAP who have made my job so much easier. They are professional, helpful and make the process enjoyable. Without the NAP, we would not have The Colors of Pinellas. Thank you.