Greetings. Founder and Executive Director Johanna Hagarty here! My intention with this first post is to share with you all a little bit of my personal journey of finding my purpose and to encourage you in your quest. I look forward to growing along side of my business, you and the creative community we are surrounded by. Thank you for sharing space and time with us!
Redefining yourself is the main task on the search for one’s true function.
– Johanna Hagarty, Executive Director; Xpand Your Vision
It is no secret that there is a lot of unrest in our current world. With social, environmental and economic issues crippling communities, we are in need of newly designed ideas to move us forward towards harmony. I believe strongly that we all have unique talents and that finding and honing these skills is one of our greatest personal challenges. I myself have always been an individual who empathizes deeply with hardship, and I believe one of my purposes is to improve the lives of others with and through creativity.
If you will, flashback to early 2008 with me (months before the Beijing Olympics kicked off at 8:08pm on 08/08/2008- which I still think is awesome); I had just recently graduated college and had returned from working and traveling in New Zealand. I headed to Asheville galvanized to build my career in arts programming for the underserved. The next several years turned into a winding road full of direct care jobs in the mental health field (let me tell you, it’s very hard to find funding for creative programming this way!), and part time event/festival work. Throughout it all I had that same driving hunger to manifest large scale change accompanied by a perpetual curiosity on how to achieve it.
In my formative days in Asheville, I was lucky to work with a wonderful local publicist and event planner, Erin Scholze of Dreamspider Publicity and Events, who provided me with several of the foundations that I still implement in my work today. I also took my first production company assistant job during this time period. I supported the launch of the local venues Asheville Music Hall and One Stop by booking and publicizing events. These experiences were a large part of initially establishing Xpand Your Vision (XYV) back in 2012. XYV was originally a sole proprietor marketing and publicity business that was created to track the part time work I was being offered in the arts and events world. While I knew publicity and marketing for businesses would not ultimately satiate me, I couldn’t have imagined how my vision would expand to where it is now.
Continuing on my journey, in 2014 and through the spring of 2015, I found myself immersed in working in the economic development arts sector with the local arts council. It was through the production of community-driven events, educational opportunities and creative outreach programs that I found my professional niche. Working alongside local government, businesses, nonprofits and the creative sector, I began to see my dream more tangibly than ever before. These collaborations were the final catalyst in transitioning Xpand Your Vision into the newly formed social enterprising nonprofit that exists today.
Slowly, over the last six months I have worked on creating a sustainable business plan that will enable Xpand to produce creative events and provide funding, development and creative programs to underserved communities in need. While I know my vision is in no way complete, I am electrified at the possibilities and am prepared to redefine my aspirations as many times as needed to find Xpand Your Vision’s true function in Asheville, the United Stated and the world at large. I hope that you feel encouraged in the same way I do in knowing that our journey is a continual opportunity for reimagining and redefining. Your uniquely carved path is waiting only for you to walk down it. Aren’t you curious to know what’s around the next bend?
With wonder and excitement,
Johanna Hagarty: Executive Director