Modern Valkyrie: Geri Iannaconi

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01_momI knew who the first Modern Valkyrie would be as soon as I started thinking about the project. I chose one of my personal heroes. She’s an advocate for arts in education that I’ve know for a very long time. She was my very first art teacher. She taught me how to draw, that oil paints were not for kids and that Playdough doesn’t get used over rugs.

I’ll never forget her critique of my first installation piece. I called it Twine Spider Web Covering The Entire Backyard. She told me I just had to make sure my father could get out of his car and to the back door.

If you haven’t figured it out yet, our first Modern Valkyrie is my mother, Geri Iannaconi.*

What she fights for:

A world where the arts are valued as much as other disciplines and used as an educational tool to keep learning fun.

Where she’s from:

Geri was raised in Union City, NJ, but has lived in Bergen County for 30+ years.

For the past 14 years Geri has been the Director of Marketing & Performances for Arts Horizons, a non-profit organization that brings art programs and assemblies to school. Arts Horizons works with visual artists, dancers, musicians, storytellers, etc. to develop their own brand of enrichment programs.

Before that, she was the Arts in Education Chairman for the NJ PTA and the Cultural Arts Chairman for the Bergen County, NJ PTA.

She’s a visual artist and her most notable works are oil paintings. In the last few years she has also been rediscovering her love crochet and taking water color classes.

Geri has three artsy daughters: a crafter / entrepreneur (that’s me), a dancer and a musician. There are rumors that she’s married to a talented piano player, but there are no witnesses to confirm that fact.

Her superpower:

Networking. Geri is comfortable making friends everywhere she goes, and as a result she knows everybody. Or will. Eventually.

Her Achilles heel:

Caring too much. And cats are her Kryptonite.

Her weapons:

Being open and friendly and listening to people’s needs.

Her heroes:

Her three AMAZING daughters.

* Most entries to the gallery will be interviews, but my mother just announced her retirement and I wanted to surprise her.