GET TO KNOW US: AMY GIBBS
Houston Arts Alliance
Ever wanted to put a Houston Arts Alliance (HAA) name to a face? Starting this fall, we’ll introduce you to our staff, providing a little insight into who they are, and diving into what it is they do. We hope you’ll get to know us!
This month the spotlight is on Amy Gibbs.
DEPARTMENT: Programs + Services
JOB TITLE: Manager, Capacity Building Initiatives
RESPONSIBILITIES: I manage the four main programs within the Capacity Building Initiative: Pre-Incubator, Resident Incubator, Accelerator, and Sustainability. I work very closely with the participants in the two Incubator programs to help them put theory and best practices into action in order to run successful nonprofit businesses. I consider these programs to be educational opportunities first and grant programs second. The Accelerator and Sustainability programs allow more mature organizations the opportunity to invest in strategic planning and then the necessary steps to implement a finalized plan. I help all participating organizations establish goals, determine the steps required to meet the goals, and problem solve along the way. I am also partially responsible for identifying topics and speakers for the professional development workshops HAA offers. If you have an idea for a workshop, I would be happy to hear it!
WHAT'S YOUR FAVORITE THING ABOUT WORKING AT HOUSTON ARTS ALLIANCE? I love that my job is so hands-on with the organizations that I work with and that I am able to build relationships with them. I get excited about their triumphs and worry about their challenges. My personal mission is to help organizations define success for themselves and provide them with the resources, tools, and information needed to be as successful as possible. There are few things that make me happier than seeing an organization accomplish its goals!
WHAT WAS YOUR FIRST JOB IN THE ARTS? Technically, my first arts job was in the scenic studio in college, building sets and props for the theatre department at Trinity University. I’m not sure if that counts or not. Following college, I was an intern for theArtsFund, San Antonio’s United Arts Fund, developing their social media presence before we knew whether or not this whole Twitter thing was going to last.
WHAT IS YOUR PAST EXPERIENCE WORKING IN THE ARTS & CULTURE? Before coming to HAA, I worked with AMS Planning & Research, a multi-service consulting firm primarily focused on planning and feasibility studies for performing arts venues; strategic planning; and market research for arts organizations. I was responsible for research; benchmark studies; and financial analysis and forecasting for a number of projects. Prior to AMS, I worked for the Cultural Data Project (CDP) in the Support Center, where I had the opportunity to work with thousands of arts organizations all across the country to help them understand their financial data and utilize all the powerful tools and resources the CDP provides.
WHAT ARE YOUR FAVORITE CULTURAL INSTITUTIONS / ATTRACTIONS / EVENTS IN HOUSTON? I moved to Houston last fall, and I am still trying to take in as much as possible. I really don’t think I could pick a favorite just yet; we are truly lucky to have as much good theatre, dance, music, and visual arts opportunities as we do in this city! But I do have to say, the signage in the paleontology exhibit at the Houston Museum of Natural Science makes me giggle; I’m glad they have a sense of humor.
FUN FACT ABOUT YOURSELF: People are generally pretty surprised to learn that I love grunge and 90s alternative rock music.
DO YOU HAVE ANY PETS? Yes, I have a cat named Julia Sugarbaker after Dixie Carter’s character in Designing Women. She is full of sass, humor, and charm, just like her namesake.
WHAT WAS YOUR FAVORITE TV SHOW GROWING UP? Designing Women, hence the cat’s name. I may or may not own the entire series on DVD.
WHO WOULD PLAY YOU IN A MOVIE OF YOUR LIFE? Parker Posey. I’ve always said I want to be her when I grew up. If I can’t be her, then she can be me.
DO YOU HAVE A FAVORITE SEASON? I loathe hot weather, so that now I am back in Texas I will have to go with winter. I spent a few years on the East Coast and was spoiled with four real seasons. Spring in Philadelphia is my real favorite.
WHAT WAS THE LAST THING YOU HEARD OR SAW WHICH MADE YOU LAUGH OUT LOUD? Probably something one of my colleagues in the Programs + Services department said. We try to not take ourselves too seriously.