Vicki Ferraro has lived in Manchester all her life and understands that art plays an important role in a city's economic development. She has been the Constituent Services Representative for Mayor Gatsas since 2010 and has successfully coordinated their NAP Exhibition during these past three years. Vicki’s interest in the arts and her ability to connect with so many city employees makes her the perfect person for this role.
Manchester’s National Arts Program® Exhibit has been beautifully displayed in their City Hall for the past seven years and always brings in an interesting collection of artworks in a wide variety of mediums. The show is also incorporated into a city wide arts trolley tour that draws a nice crowd of residents to view the show. Vicki continues to make their exhibit and reception a wonderful community event that artists both young and old can enjoy and look forward to year after year.
Recently we asked Vicki about the National Arts Program® in Manchester and here is what she had to say...
Q. What makes the National Arts Program® different than any other art exhibit put on by the City of Manchester?
A. The National Arts Program® allows city employees and their family members the ability to showcase their art work here at City Hall where the public can see their talented works of art. The NAP exhibit tends to have more artwork than other exhibits and is more personalized offering a wider variety of mediums and categories including youth and teen art work that we all enjoy having on display at City Hall.
Q. Why do you feel that displaying employee artwork is important?
A. Having the opportunity to display employee art work at City Hall is important as it helps build employee morale offering the chance for employees and their family members to share their talent and creativity with other co-workers and the community and also win prizes. Displaying employee art work encourages creativity and sharing; employees get to learn more about each other through the NAP exhibit outside their current role working for the City.
Q. How have employees and their families responded to the opportunity to display their artwork in City Hall?
A. We have been holding the NAP exhibit here at City Hall for the past 7 years. The response from employee members and their family members has always been very positive. The NAP exhibit offers not only the opportunity for employees to display their art work at City Hall but the chance to also win cash prizes and other gift certificates and art scholarship awards which has all been very well received and anticipated from year to year.
Q. Why do you think displaying artwork in the government setting is so important?
A. Displaying art work in a government setting is an honor and a way to bring the community together to recognize public art in a very unique setting. All of the artists that display their art work at City Hall enjoy the recognition that comes along with having their work displayed in a very prominent public building with great historical value not to mention all the visitors walking the halls that get to observe all the various exhibits throughout the year!
Q. What is your favorite aspect of the National Arts Program®?
A. My favorite aspect of the National Arts Program® is the matching scholarship opportunity. The cash prizes are certainly motivating for employees; however the matching scholarships are intended to promote continued education in the arts which is wonderful to have the ability to offer employees this type of incentive to keep practicing the arts and perfecting their talents. Whether a youth or teen receives the scholarship award or an adult we notice the excitement because it sometimes isn’t affordable to take a $300 class. The scholarships give employees the opportunity to sign up for a class they may have wanted to take for a while but maybe couldn’t afford to.
Q. Do visitors to City Hall respond to the employee exhibit?
A. The public has many chances to view the exhibit as it is up on display for 2 months at the Art on the Wall at City Hall gallery around the first floor. Visitors of City Hall have the luxury of viewing some unique and very personalized art work during their visit to conduct city business. The youth art seems to be very popular every year! We have a People’s Choice box in the entrance for the public to vote on the People’s Choice Award winner and we also plan the awards ceremony on the same night as the Trolley Tour. The Trolley Tour brings a group of people around the City to see all the local art hot spots including museums and other art exhibits. The public enjoys meeting the artists and seeing some of the many mediums on display at City Hall including 3 dimensional art in a new large glass case all created by employees and their family members offering a greater variety of art than our typical exhibit display with one artist from the community.
Q. How has utilizing online registration made the process easier for you?
A. The online registration feature is a breath of fresh air because it keeps all the registration information much more organized in a spreadsheet that can be printed out after all the information has been collected. Prior to the online registration being offered I would have to enter all the information from the registration forms into a spreadsheet manually to keep a tally of participants and all the registration information. The online registration process is also easier for employees and their family members as the link is received via email and they can submit their registrations online with a quick click of a button and save a stamp in the process.
Q. Can you tell us how art has had a positive impact on your personal life?
A. I definitely appreciate fine arts and enjoy working in a creative environment. Throughout high school and college I would take every opportunity to sign up for additional art classes and ceramics quickly became a focus. I took many ceramics classed after college as I found wheel working to be a very relaxing outlet offering so much opportunity to explore my own creativity. Not only does it offer the ability to create and design your own works of art but you can also enjoy selecting the glazes to complete each piece. The sky is the limit when it comes to art, in the abstract world you can’t make a mistake everything is considered a unique work of art!
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. The last question addresses my personal involvement in the art field however in terms of my involvement as the Coordinator for the City Hall NAP shows; I started helping the Art Commissioners plan this event several years ago when I began working for Mayor Gatsas. In my position I have the ability to access all employees including school employees which is a key factor to achieving a successful show- communication and getting the word out there! Each year I also enjoy submitting a piece of my ceramics into the exhibit which makes me very proud to have the chance to display my art where I work and even win a couple of prizes!
Q. Is there anything else you want to add? Comments about the program, etc.
A. Being the NAP Coordinator for the last 3 years has been very exciting and rewarding! Seeing so many employees participate and receive prizes and recognition for their art work is one reason why I enjoy being a coordinator. I also enjoy seeing how the exhibits change each year and trying to improve the quality of the exhibit and ceremony every year. The NAP show is really a special way to bring employees from various City Departments together and get to learn more about each other’s individual talents. I hope that the National Arts Program® will continue to offer this art exhibit so we can enjoy sharing our talents amongst each other and the community at City Hall for years to come!