Leading Lady : Megan Schaeffer

Atlanta has a strong and growing creative economy. Everyday, we meet women who are on the ground working to break down barriers, build community, inspire, inform, and entertain the people of Atlanta through the arts.

For National Women’s History Month in March, C4 Atlanta will be curating a Leading Lady blog series celebrating the women in the creative economy of Greater Atlanta. Over the last several weeks, we have asked the public to nominate women in the creative sector who inspire and have positively impacted the Atlanta community through their contributions. 

We are proud to introduce the Next Leading Lady for March 2019: Megan Schaeffer 

Where do you work and what do you do?
I work at Serenbe, a community south of Atlanta. I am their Art Farm Director and manage art programs ranging from art classes + workshops, gallery exhibitions, to our Art Over Dinner series.

When and how did you first become interested in the arts? How long have you been in your line of work?
I become interested in the arts early in my life. My parents own a small piano company, so growing up I was surrounded by music and art. In high school I was involved mainly in theater and dance, but once I started college I quickly became interested in visual art. My first internship was at Redux Contemporary Art Center in Charleston, SC when I was 19, and since then I’ve been in the arts management field in some form or another.

What did you want to be or think you were going to be when you grew up?
To be honest, I can’t really remember what I wanted to be when I was a kid. I probably wanted to be some sort of dancer – I’ve always liked to boogey. It’s a Schaeffer family thing.

If you could have lunch with any woman from history who would it be and what would you want to talk about?
I know you specify just one woman, but I would like to go to lunch and share a nice bottle of wine with Eleanor Roosevelt and Michelle Obama. I’d like to listen to their conversation about diplomacy, expectations, and legacy. Eleanor was one of the first leading women to champion civil rights publicly, which was not a popular thing to do in her day. I want to be there when they meet each other for the first time. Can you imagine how that would go? That’s a fun thing to think about.

Who has been the biggest influence in your life?
My parents and my grandparents.

How is art a passion for you?
Art is a passion for me because I think is important for everyone. The arts help to make sense of the world.

What are your thoughts on equality and the representation of women in the creative workforce?
We’re working on it, but we’re not nearly there yet. It bothers me immensely that there are so, so many women that work in the arts but when you look at the top positions at major galleries and museums, the majority of those positions are filled by white men.

What most excites you about the arts in Atlanta?
The growth. I’ve only been here for three years, but even in those three years I have seen more galleries/creative spaces open and more funding allocated to the arts. As compared to the more established (and saturated) NYC or LA, Atlanta wants more and is keen on carving out an international identity. It’s only up from here when it comes to the opportunities for artists and creatives.

What do you hope to contribute to the Atlanta arts community with the work you do?
I like when art sells. I like when people care about buying locally made artwork and value that work highly. I like when artists feel like their career is being pushed forward and properly advocated for. Whether that’s funding or (the right kind of) exposure that leads to more work, that’s what I want.

Where can I learn more about your organization/business and work (websites, social media, etc.)?
Learn more about the Art Farm at Serenbe at www.artfarmatserenbe.com and follow at @artfarmserenbe on Instagram.