Radio Maine Episode 21

Emma Wilson: Emma Wilson: Art as the Great Connector 

 There is much about Portland Art Gallery director Emma Wilson that may surprise you. Emma has been a traveling military spouse (caring for three children while their father served in Iraq), spent time as a social worker, and has strong ties to the non-profit world. Her early love of art, growing up with access to New York’s renowned museums, stayed with her as she moved around the country. She realized quickly that art is a tie that binds, and sought out the company of like-minded art-loving souls wherever she went. Emma and her family eventually moved to Maine, returning to a place that she had first gotten to know as a child, during extended summer stays on Casco Bay’s Long Island. In this episode of Radio Maine, host Dr. Lisa Belisle speaks with Emma about her love of Maine, art and family, and about forging a new way forward through Covid for Portland Art Gallery artists, and the community that supports them.


Dr. Lisa Belisle:

Hello, I'm Dr. Lisa Belisle and you are listening to Radio Maine. Today I have with me in the studio, Emma Wilson, who has previously joined us remotely when we were still doing the COVID thing. We're still kind of doing the COVID thing, but today, we are actually fully vaccinated, things have opened up, and I'm able to now have a conversation in person with my close friend and the Portland Art Gallery director, Emma Wilson. Thanks for coming in today. 

Emma Wilson: 

Thanks for having me. 

Dr. Lisa Belisle: I really enjoy the opportunity to talk to people in this setting–particularly when it's people that I know, because sometimes I learn things about them that I didn't know, as a result of spending many hours in a professional setting, or maybe at a cocktail party at events. So I'm not going to grill you too much, but I think that this will be a fun conversation. 

Emma Wilson:

Yeah. I'm looking forward to it. Absolutely. It's great to be sitting in this space with you. 

Dr. Lisa Belisle:

 I guess I want to start with the Maine connection. You're not originally from Maine.

Emma Wilson:

I am not originally from Maine. However, my grandmother was born on Beckett Street, in the East End (Portland, ME) and she was one of five kids. And I grew up coming to Long Island because they had a family place that had no electricity, no running water, all of those wonderful features of those island places. And I have this photograph actually that I came upon recently of me on the shoreline on Long Island.  I'm probably in third grade and I do have these memories of our family driving through the night from New Jersey, or maybe it wasn't through the night, but it felt like it, one of those old station wagons, and there were four of us. We used to be able to lay the seats down with our sleeping bags and we'd arrive at the ferry and we’d take the ferry out and then we would take the ferry out and then the person would meet us on the other end and we'd be there for a month. So then there was a long stretch of my life where I really didn't have much time in Maine, but I moved back here in 2007. So it's been wonderful. 

Dr. Lisa Belisle:

You spent quite a bit of time going about the country as a result of being affiliated with the military or having a spouse that at the time that was affiliated with the military, what was that like for you? 

Emma Wilson:

It was such an adventure. I mean, there were aspects of it that were challenging and all that, but there's just such good people everywhere and around the country. At the time I was living in New Hampshire, I had just finished up my master's in social work.  I met my former husband while I was doing my field placement at the New Hampshire state hospital. And then he went ahead and was accepted into medical school in St. Louis. So we moved there for four years and we had two children there and then we moved to Tacoma, Washington. I had never been to the Northwest. I'll never forget driving through the Rockies and driving through those ranges for the first time. It was just amazing. And then we moved to Augusta, Georgia for four years. And then it was during that time that he was applying to positions and we knew we wanted to get back into New England, although we really did love the Northwest. 

Emma Wilson:

But there was a strong family pull and connections to the Northeast. So we knew three years into our time in Georgia that we were going to be coming to Maine. And then we moved here and it's been a great journey. So, and while we were in Tacoma, we had our third, our third child can't forget mentioning him. So, yeah, but it was such a great adventure and there's different cultures in all of those different places used to sort of just make this joke, like in St. Louis, people would ask you like which high school you went to. That was the big connector, you know, and out in the Northwest, it was like, what was your favorite coffee spot? What was your favorite blend? You know, and down south, it was where it was your church home? And, you know, Northeast it's, where'd you go to college? But there's all these different sort of caricatures of different places around the country, but we made such strong connections and such strong friends with every place we landed and the philosophy I with each spot we moved was, you know, Tom was so busy, I was really building, you know, the connections with the community and whatnot, but it was registering to vote and finding the local museum because the museum really was your introduction into what was happening within the community, where we just moved. 

Emma Wilson:

So that became a really important tradition with us. 

Dr. Lisa Belisle:

Did you learn about art growing up? Was your family interested in taking you to the museums? Or how did this come to be? 

Emma Wilson:

Yeah, definitely. I was born in New York city. My mom still tells the stories of bringing me down to, you know, to the Museum of Modern Art for my classes when I was four years old, my sister uncovered some of those images and had them framed, which, you know, they always like to say, “ you have such talent!” I'm like, “no, really I don't, you do.”

Emma Wilson:

But my mother, you know, always instilled that in us.  My father was a lover of music. He also loved fine art and appreciated it, but his passion was really around music, but my mother, the visual arts for sure. And then my sister Marion she is a full-time artist. And so it's been a part of my life. We were always going to something or being exposed to something or we always had the coffee table books, it was just a big part of our life.

Dr. Lisa Belisle:

So how does that move you towards social work?

Emma Wilson.

Maybe those were the other aspects of my family moving me towards social work. But no, I'm the youngest of four.  We all had different areas of interest. My oldest sister is a writer and Sarah is a lawyer and Marion's the artist. And I sort of was finding my way. I'm quite a little bit younger than the three of them. They were all very close in age. I think part of navigating my childhood and navigating my friendships, my social connections. I think that sort of fostered this interest. And also there was a strong interest in sort of social justice areas and understanding what makes people tick and why they do certain things and how they connect. And so I was working at a school outside of Boston, right out of college and I was teaching. And at that time they called our students, you know, these were 16 to 20 year olds. 

Emma Wilson:

They were behavior disordered, emotionally disturbed kids. I'm like, that's awful. Like, how can you say that? But, you know, it was an enlightening experience. I loved working with the students meeting and working with their families, finding out where they were coming from each day and bringing that into the classroom. I did always try to integrate manipulatives or activities even at that time in terms of not necessarily art, but oftentimes people aren't as comfortable communicating verbally, but maybe something can come out in other ways, whether it be movement or through, through drawing or art. So anyway, it was always there. And then I applied to BU and was accepted and started that path. Before moving around the country, although I did practice clinically around the country as well.

Dr. Lisa Belisle:

When you moved to Portland, you then were affiliated with the art museum in Portland for a little while. 

Emma Wilson:

I was, so when in Georgia and three kids under the age of five, husband deployed to Iraq, kind of having to figure out where, how I was going to navigate that and still being very much a part of the community. I was offered a position at a local museum and it was, you know, it was the right number of hours. There was enough flexibility for me to manage a lot of these other areas in my personal life. And so I accepted it and it was really wonderful. It was a wonderful way to understand and learn more about the south. And so I, then when we moved to Portland, I signed up for the docent class at the Portland Museum of Art and Dana Baldwin who went on to become one of my closest friends.  She was the director of education at the time and just wowed me with her knowledge and in engaging us in the understanding of how to talk with people about art, as opposed to lecturing people about art, it was a really, really important distinction. And so then there was a position that opened up and it was the school tour coordinator, three kids, again, school hours was like, I applied, was offered the position I was there for about four years. Yeah. So I did not return to clinical work when I moved to Maine. 

Dr. Lisa Belisle:

So this idea of talking with people about art and doing it differently than sort of talking at people, what types of things have you carried on into the work that you do today? 

Emma Wilson:

Yeah, it's really important to listen to what it is that people are feeling or responding to when they're looking at works of art or when they're listening to a work of music or whatever it might be. But that is something that I really focused on, or it really was trained when working at the museum with Dana and then also it was modeled for me a lot within my own family of origin and whatnot. So it's an opportunity for us to interpret and talk about what's going on now, what's gone on in the past. I mean, it's so important as a vehicle for conversation. And it's such an important vehicle for expression. So I think that has been a connection for me all along. So not sure if that answers your question. 

Dr. Lisa Belisle:

Yes. You definitely answered my question.  I have always been impressed with your ability to know people well, and I know that I can only speak for the Yarmouth/Portland area because this is, I've only known you since you moved to Maine, but you are very strongly connected in the community.  I know that, you know, people on a really personal way for my birthday this past year, you picked up this book called Flowers for Lisa, which I’ll show to the people. This is not one of our gallery artists, I will say, but it is a very talented individual and you actually ended up connecting without even knowing this was going to happen to this artist. I hope I'm not mispronouncing your name, Abelardo Morrell. Tell me about that. 

Emma Wilson:

So this book was introduced to me by one of our other artists, Emily Blaschke. And then I had a sticky on my computer for, I don't know, months because I wanted to look it up. It sounded so interesting. I thought of you, whatever. And then finally did, and then after finding the book and whatnot, I was delivering work to one of our clients. And while there she introduced me, she said, oh, this was my friend. And I regret not remembering her name, but, actually her husband is a wonderful artist and photographer and told me his name. And I was like, oh my goodness. I know! That’s Flowers for Lisa! 

Emma Wilson:

So it was just the way the world of Maine works. There's all these connections that are constantly happening. I'm always saying we’re the big, small town or big, small state or whatever we are, but we're definitely very connected in this state. And so that was fun to sort of have an opportunity to be one degree of separation from, from the artist. And thank you for your kind words in terms of, you know, I am so fortunate. I'm so grateful constantly for the people in the community that we have in Yarmouth and in Portland, and have been really encouraged along the way and really supported. And, it's been something that I'm very grateful for. 

Dr. Lisa Belisle:

Yes. You and I have walked around Littlejohn (Island) together. You have walked around Littlejohn and Cousins (Island) with other mutual friends. So, that community connection seems really strong and really important to you. 

Emma Wilson:

Absolutely important. Yep. It’s critical.

Dr. Lisa Belisle:

Thinking about what the art gallery has needed to do, particularly since the beginning of COVID, but even really before that, I'm fascinated by the idea that you don't necessarily limit yourselves to what most art galleries do.  You and I, and the owner, Kevin Thomas worked on this, off the wall piece, which was done a couple of years ago. We'll probably do another one. We just haven't this year.  But this ended up being really a lovely way of getting to know artists better and showcasing, not just the work, but the person. So the photography by Sean Thomas and you know, the interviews actually that Kevin and I worked on together. And, you know, the coordination that you did with all of this, this was just a way to introduce people like, you know, Darthea Cross to, you know, people who come into the gallery because sometimes the things that you see on the wall are just kind of a representation of almost like the iceberg tip of what's really going on beneath the surface. And I believe that “Off the Wall” really enabled us to kind of get a little bit deeper.

Emma Wilson:

Yeah, absolutely. I mean, as you know, there's no standing still, when it comes to thinking about marketing outreach when it comes to Kevin, which is fantastic. I mean, that's what I think helps to set the gallery apart is that we're always looking at ways to engage with our audience and not everybody engages with art the same way and not every client engages with us as a gallery the same way. So it's really about trying to find different communication styles, right? And to find that connection and way to introduce our artists, to people who, you know, are interested in them, or maybe curious and interested in purchasing their work and therefore supporting an artist‘ s livelihood. This was a piece that we redid, we featured many of our artists.  We have ideas about what we might like to feature in the future if we’re able to create another one. 

Emma Wilson: 

 Some people just love having something to thumb through and that tactile experience of having something that they can hold. But then also the visual images are so critical and then learning a little bit more, not where somebody went to college, but what's important to them find out a little bit more in that that way sometimes you might connect with a piece of artwork differently because you've made a connection with that artist and something that has completely different to do with the composition or palette. So we find that happens a lot. 

Dr. Lisa Belisle:

Well, I'm one of those people. I mean, when I was growing up, our family focus was not art. And although my parents certainly didn't discourage us from liking art, we, I was the oldest in a family of 10, so we were not going to the Portland Museum of Art as a family or the MoMA or the Met or any of the art museums. This is something that came to me later in life.  And so for me, the story and the person and the artist, which really probably is related to the work I do in medicine, was extremely important. So now I'll look at a piece of art and one of the emails that goes out through the art gallery. And if I know the artist, I can say, wow, that really speaks to me. That's really something that I kind of feel like I'd like to have in my home, and I can't imagine I'm the only one who feels that way. 

Emma Wilson:

Oh, definitely. I mean, okay, this is a really bad example, but we've all met that kid that we're like, we're never naming our child, that name because we can't live with that person, not a kid, but no, I mean, I think if you feel a sensitivity or an admiration or whatever it is that it strengthens that, and you want to feel joy in your home and you want to feel comfort and you want to feel love, and you want to feel all of those sort of positive things. Obviously we all have a wide range of emotions when we're in our own homes, but to be able to make that connection, it adds value, you know, it adds value to the experience of the art buying. You know, in terms of storytelling, I mean, you’re a natural–your writing and your medicine and all of the work that you do.  You're constantly looking for that story and engaging with people around their story and so open to learning more about people.  That's just the way you do naturally it seems.

Dr. Lisa Belisle:

Thank you. You can tell Emma and I, it's basically a mutual admiration society, so we could do this with each other all day. Because we do really appreciate one another and have known each other a long time. We won't bore anybody. Well, a good friendship, that's never boring, right? I'm looking at this piece that's behind us, that is an Ann Sklar piece. And what you're describing is something that really is, particularly true with Ann Sklar. So, Ann Sklar was supposed to have an opening in the gallery. And she's located in Florida for a part of the year. So she had come up and she was ready and there was a fire. We had a fire in the gallery in 2018 and we needed to move off site. And Ann and her family were really wonderful about their willingness to do this. 

Dr. Lisa Belisle:

But when I look at this piece and I love Ann's work anyway, but when I look at this, I just think fire, I think fire and Ann and her kind of just stepping toward something that really could have been very problematic, you know, she could have said, oh my gosh, I worked so hard and there's this fire and I'm just going to give up, but she's like, no, we're going to have an opening and we’re going to bring my family along and we're going to do this off site. 

Emma Wilson:

I just respected and was so grateful to her that she had that attitude and was able to sort of push forward with it.  I think of it also, what I see is that Ann has a certain tenaciousness and spitfire in her. She's strong but she's also very humble and modest. And so yeah, that strength coming through, I mean, she just has such a strong sense of color and embracing that, but, oh, that was such a night. But we happily are reopened. You know, we were able to really work together as a team and be able to come through that. And there were a number of transitions at that time. And we're stronger than ever. And, we have people like Ann, artists like Ann and many others in “Off the Wall” that just have worked so hard and stayed with us and keep pushing themselves as artists. And we're better than ever.

Dr. Lisa Belisle:

Well, that actually leads into the next question. So I was actually wondering if you were going to, because you and I are so closely connected. If you actually answer the question before I asked it, I bet you probably would have, but I'll ask it anyway. This most recent transition back to in-person openings, you've now had a few and it's after having spent more than a year, not doing in-person openings and having the virtual openings with their Matterport, so people could do a tour of the gallery. Tell me what that's been like. 

Emma Wilson:

It's been exciting, it's been scary, it’s been a learning process, it’s been hard work, it's been productive and it's been exhilarating. I could go on with the list of different adjectives. I'm sure.  We have an amazing team. And so I am very, very lucky to work with an amazing team who has that attitude of not like we're going to close this as doom and gloom. We can't do it. We have to figure out what we're going to do to push through, to make it happen. And that all relates to how we are as people, you know, and who someone like Ann is. So, we were told, obviously we needed to shut our doors in March of 2020, and then Kevin and myself were just really looking and what are we going to do? 

Emma Wilson:

Like, we can't close, you know, we can't close. And so we worked very hard to transition to a strong online platform. Kevin is a marketing genius. And so we're so fortunate to have his leadership through that time, because we really were able to create, we already had a lot of the backbone that we needed in terms of a strong website and some good database, but we really needed to amp it up. And so we had and in those moments, people, oftentimes they just want to know what to do, right? So we had artists looking at us like, what are we supposed to do? Like this is, and we're like, paint, create, whatever it is, just keep doing it just, and they're like, great. This is like, this is like a dream for me. 

Emma Wilson:

Like, you know, cause this is what they are being given there. Like it gave themselves permission, the opportunity to just go and focus really on their artwork because that's what so many people needed the time to be able to do. And then we, meanwhile, became very focused on our virtual presentations. We're really lucky to have this relationship with Sotheby's and Alexa Oestreicher had offered us an opportunity to do a Matterport for another install collaboration. And then they allowed us, or partnered with us to be able to use that program continuously. And that has made a big difference. But the things that make a big difference is, you know, strengthening that online, the Matterport walkthrough, people on our website. I mean, we can tell from Google analytics, people are really curious about that and it gives them an opportunity. 

Emma Wilson:

We have people walking into the gallery now they're like, we just miss this. We just miss standing in front of a work of art and being able to just have that experience with that, whether you like it or don't, it doesn't matter. It's just having that in-person experience. Matterports are like the closest thing it could get. For virtual openings, our artists also were like, what are we going to do? Or like, we're going to have openings. We're not going to have them in person, but we're going to do it virtually. And so we were able to continue to work with, you know, Sean Thomas did the video and we were able to use the resources that we had in terms of our client outreach database. And so people wanted it, we kept hearing responses from our clients like this is so great. 

Emma Wilson:

That, that is energizing. And people started to gain confidence in buying work without seeing it in person. And that was critical. So it all, it wasn't like one piece worked. It was like everybody was working together for that common goal. But we were all, panic’s not the right word. We were all definitely concerned. I mean, there was such concern for what was happening in our world. Absolutely. And then you bring it down to your own personal world and sort of see, okay, how are we going to function? You know, what are we going to do today? And how are we going to, how are we going to get through this? And so it has been a journey. And so we have every intention to continue with our virtual openings and with our Matterport, that's the way we stay connected with clients that are in California or England or wherever.  You know, we are shipping all around the country now to people who feel like they have an understanding and know our artists. They feel like they know us as people at the gallery. And you know, there's the building of a trusting relationship. So it's been a journey. It's been exciting, but those early curbside deliveries, when I'd be driving up and I like, can't see the person and I'm like, okay, I'm going to leave it at the garage door, you know? And then I get in the car and I drive away and then they come out and take their artwork. And then you talk on the phone. I mean, you know, those are just sort of priceless experiences where we're going to have to remember with each other that are very different from what we had anticipated. 

Dr. Lisa Belisle:

I’ve also been impressed with the people that work with you in the gallery, I believe one of the people started working for free at the beginning of the pandemic and said, I just want a job. I know that you guys are closed down, but it was like, I'll do anything I'm going to jump in. And so people like Emma and Emily and Missy now Emi Schneider, you know, these are all people who really have just kind of persisted, okay, this is what we're gonna do. We're gonna, we're gonna move through this. And I think that you're right, it goes along with what you've already described about your artists.

Emma Wilson:

Absolutely. You know, there's a certain work ethic that some people, you know, there's a certain that, that you can tell. So Missy came to work with us in 2018 and she is also one of our represented artists. And she says, this was right after the fire. Really. We had half opened up and Missy joined our team and it's been such a joy to work with her. And she has a way of talking about art and understanding art. That's been, that's been really impactful when she's talking with clients and also she works so hard on her own practice. And so going into, COVID she sort of looked at us like, okay. So I think she anticipated, we were not going to be shutting down. We were still going to be trying to figure it out. 

Emma Wilson:

I mean, she definitely wasn't able to work in the gallery. It's not like we could, you know, weren't able to offer her that opportunity, but she embraced that next step. Emma, she reached out, she's like, I just want to volunteer. And so we were able to arrange for her to be able to do some inventory work in the beginning, she was able to work with us in terms of getting images, because that was becoming so much you know, having the digital images was increasingly important in our communications.  and just recently graduated from art school. Didn't anticipate being in Maine, all of a sudden she was planning to be in New York.  But fortunately for us, she ended up being in Maine and then once things changed, we were able to offer her a position. 

Emma Wilson:

She works with us full-time so that's been phenomenal. And then Emi of course has been an intern, she's relatively new, from here and Bowdoin. And then Emily Blaschke, she works with us as needed. It’s the PRN version, you know, for the medical world when we need it. But, Emily has a certain fearlessness to just enter into the fray and just be like, okay, what can I do? Well, that's how she responds really well in that type of moment. So, she's very loyal. And then of course, there's Kevin, you know, my colleague. He is tireless and just constantly thinking about how to engage with our audience. And broaden our audience, sell artwork, you know, strengthen our artists and just really being a tremendous communicator with everybody that we work with. So we also paid very close attention to trying to respond to people and stay connected with people. Because even though, you know, it's not perfect, but you know, we try really hard to respond to people quickly when they have an issue, we have an inquiry or if it's an artist or whoever it might be and to follow up because oftentimes that's what people need. You know, they need a little follow up. 

Dr. Lisa Belisle:

It is important to remember that as much as we think about artists as maybe having a glamorous life and they get to do what their passion is, they also need to pay their bills. So, this is what you are operating with Kevin and the others in the gallery. It's a small business and you're working to support artists. You are working to make it possible for them to do what they need to do. And so when you talk about marketing and you talk about outreach, I mean, this is all done as a means of connecting buyers to the art, because you want the artists to be able to continue to do the work that they do. And that for you, must've been an interesting leap to going from social worker, to working at the art museum to then being invited to work as a gallery manager. Tell me about that.

Emma Wilson:

The leap. So definitely, moving from the nonprofit sector into a small business sector it's a different frame of reference, but then again, there's a lot of similarities, right? So, when I first was offered the position, I thought, well, how am I going to find that mission moment? Because I had done nonprofit work forever and or clinical work. And so everything is about that sort of understanding, that drive or that mission moment. And it didn't matter anymore. Like that just sort of eased up. That was my own voice. That was my own thing. But what became really important was just being able, or it continues to be important. It's a responsibility. I feel a sense of responsibility to support obviously my own livelihood and my kids and whatnot, but to support the livelihood of artists and many of them will be the first ones to say, I don't want to handle a transaction. 

Emma Wilson:

I don't want to go to UPS. It's not a productive use of my time, where the way in which I can be more productive and useful is to create this work that perhaps then you can go ahead and market and sell to somebody to enjoy and live with. I also though have this tremendous respect for artists and then now a vulnerability that they experience, anyone can look at a work of art and most people they have some sort of response, they can dismiss it or embrace it with the drop of a hat. And it, you don't know what really went into that from an individual artist perspective. I mean, I definitely had witnessed that growing up with my mother and growing and certainly with my sister. So I have had exposure and an understanding of how hard that is and how important it is to be just very respectful and understand that there's a lot more to it than just putting it on the wall. So, it's been a transition working in a small business, but it's been those same, I think some of those same qualities are the same approaches translate really nicely into this. I mean, it'd be different perhaps if it was a different, like a big conglomerate or something, I don't know that I would probably have a really hard time with it. I can't imagine that, but who knows? 

Dr. Lisa Belisle:

One of the things I've been impressed with is the support that you and Kevin Thomas have always had of younger or newer artists and this beautiful book that just came out.  This is “The Traveling Artist, A Visual Journey.” And this is by Missy Dunaway, who we actually interviewed pretty early on. If you remember, if you have been watching all the podcasts, we talked about her chickens. So if that rings a bell and I mean, it's just a gorgeous, gorgeous book. This is one of the kind of tapestry pieces, and we'll probably get a better picture of this on the podcast online. I love that you've not only been willing to be creative yourselves, but also allow artists like Missy to be creative, to find ways to put themselves out there in the world, to give her a place, to do book signings, to give for a way to promote things in a way that makes sense to her. And I think that for more established artists who can generate work, that they know will sell that, that they're at a different stage, but for earlier artists to kind of give them the way to be successful, to create a livelihood for themselves.  That's really important. 

Emma Wilson:

Absolutely. And it strengthens the conversation along the way. You know, there's so much to be learned from Missy's experience and from what she's doing, and then also to be able to support her in this endeavor. And it engages newer a audience, you know, in it invites people to say, oh, what is going on here? And, and meet Missy, and then also be introduced to the gallery.  I have a tremendous respect for Missy. She has been dogged in getting this book.  One of the ways in which we first were introduced to Missy is, we knew that she was an artist, but then she asked whether or not she could set up a time to show me her traveling, visual journals. And I was blown away. It was a remarkable experience to be able to thumb through very carefully, these gorgeous pieces and works of art. 

Emma Wilson:

And then we met with Kevin and then we started the artist representation experience relationship as, and continue with our gallery relationship as an employee. But yeah, you know, I've learned so much just by Missy going through this process and how she was able to get the book published. And then also we, if we have something that we can offer to promote and help and sustain our artists, then we're going to really work to do it, I mean, I'm not talking about for them to go and sell to somebody else, but I'm talking about like strengthen their career and to be able to introduce something new to our audience and to our clients. They love learning more like, you know, this is a treat for everyone. 

Dr. Lisa Belisle:

Well, I have very much enjoyed our conversation today.

Emma Wilson:

As have I, always. There was the very first podcast where we talked and I was in my living room or my dining room. Yep. That was four months ago. 

Dr. Lisa Belisle:

It was before you moved into your new house, I think.

Emma Wilson:

That’s right. Yep. I was still living in Yarmouth before I moved to Portland. 

Dr. Lisa Belisle:

So you and I will continue to touch base along the trajectory of our lives. So thank you for all the work that you do in supporting artists and for being an important presence in my life. I invite people to go to the Portland Art Gallery, if you haven't met Emma already. Well, obviously I think she's wonderful, but I'm sure you will find that for yourself. If you meet her in person. If you've been in touch with the Portland Art Gallery, you may actually have spoken with her on the phone or had an email conversation, but I've been speaking with Emma Wilson, who is the director of the Portland Art Gallery today.  We are so fortunate to have people like Emma. I am so fortunate to have people like Emma in my life and Emma herself in my life. And I hope you've enjoyed my conversation with her. This is Dr. Lisa Belisle on Radio Maine. Thank you for joining us.

Emma Wilson:

Thank you for having me, Lisa.