We had the good fortune of connecting with Andrea “Angie C” Chandler and we’ve shared our conversation below.

Hi Andrea “Angie C”, what role has risk played in your life or career?
I think about risk often as a creative and an arts worker. I also think about risk as the child of Black immigrants. The convention of risk involves thinking outside of conventional norms, kind of on the edge of logic. Which can be scary for my parents who had to make a lot of non risky decisions to thrive in America. But in their decision to come here I see risk and adventure. So it’s in my DNA *smiles*. In life our experiences lead us to a path that is easily laid out, and easy to follow- pick a career or a vocation, get a job, the end. For me that initial thing was teaching. It made sense and I was good at it so I pursued a degree in history and education and taught for a decade. I was always however pretty focused on theatre and performance and found myself being drawn to do that work fulltime. At the end of one school year where I had performed and done arts work as much as I had fulfilled my teaching contract I decided to step away from the classroom. It was a gigantic risk. I left a stable paycheck and began to craft a life as an arts educator and performer. The 1st time I tried full time arts work I didn’t have all the tools and opportunities to make it work. I moved to a new city, regrouped and a few years later I tries it again and by that time I had learned enough about the arts ecosystem to make a more calculated risk. To the outside world it still felt like a big leap but to me I knew I could transfer my skills as an educator to the world of museums and theatre. Nine years later it turns out that I was right. The risk I took is now my career and those wins now allow me to take the leap within my career to pursue bigger dreams that exist outside of traditional museum or stage space. My next risk will be creating my own artist residency organization. A culmination of my experiences, passions and skillset.

Let’s talk shop? Tell us more about your career, what can you share with our community?
I am a theatre artist and a program curator, it took years to figure out an umbrella term for my work. I’m pretty happy with those for now. I perform on stage in plays, and at storytelling events. I teach theatre and just finished writing my first 10 minute play. My professional theatre work began in 2009 as a make up artist and eventually I learned all of the jobs involved in creating a show. Theatre is such a collaborative entity, I am grateful for all it’s taught me. Theatre is what brought me into my work as a program curator and museum administrator. I began working as a teaching artist in history and art museums in North Carolina. After leading workshops and performing in those spaces I was asked to put together public programming for them. I didn’t know exactly what was involved but it turned out that my time in public schools had given me some of the skills I needed and the rest I figured out along the way. Turns out I had a knack for it and began to craft programming as an independent contractor. Lots of observing, and listening and attention to detail. My “big break” in that world came when I organized a festival between several arts organizations- multiple performers and teaching artists, an outdoor street fair and multiple indoor experiences. That let me know my capacity for dreaming big and executing at a high level. From there the work grew and I took on full time positions with various arts organizations there. My strength is community engagement, innovative programming and connectivity. As my museum footprint grew I still found time to perform on stage in one or two shows a year. There were a lot of busy stretches along the way. The work of crafting experiences is very intense. There is such a tension between being a creative and being an arts administrator at the same time. At this point the two have merged in a way where I see the programs and departments I mange as extension of my art. After moving to So Cal to mange the Education Department of the San Diego Museum of Art I started thinking about what I want to next as an arts administrator. I’ve decided I want to begin the work of creating a space where all the things I love about the arts can live. Arts can have incubator space, performances can have a stage and the community can feel seen, challenged, and inspired. I’m working on manifesting that space as we speak.

Let’s say your best friend was visiting the area and you wanted to show them the best time ever. Where would you take them? Give us a little itinerary – say it was a week long trip, where would you eat, drink, visit, hang out, etc.
San Diego has so many amazing vistas it’s hard to choose. I fell in love with the views and vibes at Sunset Cliffs, so I would definitely take them there for a picnic on the rocks, some deep breathing and relaxation. Next up we would head out to a day trip to the San Diego Zoo Safari Park and leave for sunset toasts at one of the nearby vineyards. The food at the Safari Park was also so good that I forgot I wasn’t at a stand alone restaurant. Midweek we’re heading up north for more ocean views and stopping for lunch at Zig Zag pizza and a walk along the Oceanside pier. At some point in the week we’d head up the 5 to go chill and support local business in Inglewood before relaxing in Manhattan Beach, Those are some of my favorite stops and then as an Aries we’d just make up the rest along the way 🙂

Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?
Gosh. I love this question and the opportunity to shout out some folks. I moved to SoCal in early 2020 right before the giant shift we experienced. I was new in town and still learning the organizations and opportunities. I met Laura Zablit when a mutual colleague pitched my work to her. Since then we’ve worked together on several projects that have introduced me to the San Diego arts and culture scene in a major way. When the world moved online, she moved her programming for The Old Globe online as well. It provided opportunities for artists and opportunities for the community to laugh and think and connect. And for a newbie to the city it made it possible for me to meet people and share my talents as a writer and performer with people here and back on the east coast via the interwebs. I’d also like to give a shout out to my former boss from many years ago Dr. Violet Hoyle who supported me when I first made the lead from classroom teacher to full time artist and creator. There are soooo many other people I could list but those two are special because their willingness to SEE ME allowed for so many other magical moments to happen along this journey from classrooms to conference rooms.

Instagram: theartlovingaries

Image Credits
T. Gaines for Harvey B. Gantt Center for African American Arts and Culture

Nominate Someone: ShoutoutSocal is built on recommendations and shoutouts from the community; it’s how we uncover hidden gems, so if you or someone you know deserves recognition please let us know here.