While the paths that eventually brought Agnes Payne and I, Erin Connolly, to meet were very different, our partnership in the Oshkosh Cultural Arts Coalition previously known as the Cultural Fine Arts and Jazz Society of Oshkosh stronger because of it.
Originally from New York, I have been a Fox Valley resident for over 20 years, living in Oshkosh for the last five. A coworker introduced me to Jambalaya Arts, an eclectic art gallery on North Main Street in downtown Oshkosh, which I soon joined. While often not thought of as ‘art’ in the traditional sense, my one-of-a-kind, hand-made jewelry pieces have sold well at Jambalaya.
One year after joining Jambalaya, I became a board member, and the corporate treasurer. Always looking for ways to improve any business, I drew upon my background to:
I have owned and operated my own retail business; was a singer for many years, a partner in a recording studio, and has recorded an album; studied photography and recording technology; is a self-taught artist of stained glass, ancient Japanese braiding, and wire-wrapping; and a teacher of jewelry-making for many years.
I met Agnes not quite three years ago when a gallery friend introduced us, suggesting that I might want to be involved in the “jazz festival” idea that they were working on as a volunteer. And away we went! I later became a member of the board and then Executive Director, and a member of the Jazz festival committee. Certainly, it has been a learning experience along the way, with all the requisite ups and downs. We learned about each other, our strengths, our pet peeves, our “must haves”, our “won’t do’s”, and more. Our shared vision for a multicultural arts center in Oshkosh continues to grow and take shape, and we intend to see it through. It is not something that we want to say is “ours” – it is something that we know will benefit Oshkosh and her citizens – culturally, artistically, humanely. We want it for Oshkosh, for now, and for the future. We hope that you will join us, work beside us, or perhaps just cheer us on from the sidelines. We appreciate your support, and can’t wait to see you at the 2022 Oshkosh Jazz Festival, Inc.
* Stay tuned! Since our Jazz Society is now named for Mike Melvoin [see the tab, above].
Ms. Connolly holds an Associate Degree in Business Administration from the State University of New York system, graduating with High Honors; an Associate Degree in Health Information Technology from Fox Valley Technical College; a Diploma as a Medical Coding Specialist, also from FVTC; is a Certified Professional Coder, through AAPC, and was President of the Appleton Chapter of AAPC for two years; a Certified Forms Consultant through the former National Business Forms Association; and has successfully completed Dale Carnegie Training, as well as served as a Class Assistant to later Carnegie classes.