From freelancing as a graphic designer, dabbling in mixed media, and bringing paint to easel, Zach Kleemeyer is a tinkerer—a curious and multi-talented artist and ally to the arts—and that makes him an excellent fit for the Lehigh Valley Arts Council.
Starting outside Philadelphia, Zach never stayed put in one neighborhood for more than five years throughout his early life, exposing him to a wide range of environments. One of the neighborhoods Zach made an extended stay in was Bloomsburg, attending Bloomsburg University, and graduating with a major in Communications and a minor in Studio Art. At first, Zach was reluctant to embrace the artist lifestyle, feeling like he needed to develop other skillsets. It wasn’t until he found his way to the Lehigh Valley that Zach finally felt comfortable building a career and life around all the forms art takes.
Specifically, Zach thanks the Civic Theatre of Allentown for giving him his start in the arts as an intern and then as staff—in the box office, in graphic design, in marketing, continuing to tinker and explore. He grew to convince himself that a career as an advocate for the arts was something that he could do. The realization that pursuing a career in the field was important came when Zach helped orchestrate his first “showtime”—not a show at all, but the Tonys and Tapas annual theater fundraiser. Now he’s learned that the showtime-feeling, that “good energy,” is irreplaceable, and that the best thing he could do with his skills is to nurture it.
When he’s in the studio, Zach lets his curiosity be his muse. He finds the most inspiration from his artist grandparents, whom he lived with for a time. His grandfather, who is a painter and educator, and his grandmother, who is a quilter and entrepreneur, both provide examples of how to blend passion and practicality. Zach carries that spirit into the office, community, and studio.
As an evolving artist, Zach’s not ready to adopt labels. He’s discovered a love for woodworking, which his grandfather introduced him to after picking up scrap wood off the side of the road. Thinking green and working with recyclable materials has also piqued his interest as he considers new and less environmentally negative ways of self-expression. Zach is more than just a serial dabbler, though, and is beginning to build a resume of accomplishments. In May, he took residence at the Banana Factory and featured his work in the studio space during June’s First Friday. Nonetheless, Zach wouldn’t call himself just a “painter” as he prefers to keep a flexible attitude, which encompasses Zach’s duties at the Arts Council.
Zach’s time as Community Engagement Coordinator so far has taught him a lot about wearing different hats and cultivating an appreciation for the many “small things” that allow the arts to do all they do. Although he knows he has a lot to learn and many hats to try on, Zach looks to his future with the Lehigh Valley Arts Council with enthusiasm and anticipation.
Written by Tyler Raso
Lehigh Valley Arts Council PPA Intern