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2013 Twenty Questions Interview : Ken Hillberry

20 Questions Interview
with Ken Hillberry

Kreative U Founder; Creativity Workshops Facilitator for Older Adults


Ken Hillberry1. What's your name?

Ken Hillberry.

2. Where are you from?

Originally from West Virginia, have lived in North Carolina for 29 years.

3. Who are you today?

I am a creative, visual, thoughtful, passionate, energetic, curious person, somewhat vocationally and professionally eager to realize more of my artistic abilities.

4. What do you do? (Elevator speech)

I presently work (full time) in the grocery business, and outside of this I do my art, facilitate creativity workshops and classes for older adults.

5. What's your story (how did you get here)?

Growing up in a creatively-aware and nurturing environment, my early and developing curious nature was fed by my parents to allow me to recognize and welcome what talent and skill I have today. My art education began with a correspondence type introduction in my early adolescent years, was minimally treated academically until I entered the collegiate level. Having earned a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree, the challenges continued.

I quickly discovered the pains of having to correspond my studio art training to the commercial venues in existence. My 4-plus years of pursuing a “dream” were almost for naught, accordingly I did my best to adapt through graphic and technically illustrative venues, eventually trekked into my own business experience opening a proprietary business (twice) as a gallery owner. It was during this phase of my career, that I discovered a path, which I walk to this day. Hence …who I am today.

6. Why is creativity important to you?

Creativity is ultimately an endowment which we all hold in common, a characteristically inherent trait that can be either subliminally or consciously nurtured. I feel that this shared attribute is both sociologically and psychologically necessary for any of us to balance life and age with well-rounded cultural disposition, not to mention health and wellness.

7. When/how did you realize you had a creative dream or calling to fulfill?

The game changing “ahah” timeframe occurred a few years ago while taking an arts education course while I earn a certification in arts management. My background in facilitating studio art classes, public speaking and innate knack to work with people coupled with learning the community need and place for the niche for especially working with older adults.

8. How did you embrace it?

Naturally and with conviction…began to soak up resources and ideas to design and implement specific environments for adult learning. I began what I refer to as Kreative U, a series of creativity workshops, still in its infancy stage here. Momentum is slow but steady, however optimistically, the challenge is one I welcome and am working.

9. How did that feel?

It is exhilarating most of the time, disappointing occasionally, overall so rewarding.

10. Where has your journey taken you?

The journey continues…I feel I’m on a road which is becoming more and more utilized by individuals, fellow creatives, ancillary occupations, businesses, even governments entering the on-ramps!

11. What challenges have you faced?

Over and above those already mentioned, qualification and credibility are issues that are at the forefront. Opening the doors of opportunity to allow for such programming to a traditionally clinical mind set is a constant challenge. Also, attaining response from the potential participants is one of continual adjustment.

12. What worked for you?

The ability to record and refer the invigorating results of what has been accomplished in the programming I’ve done, the national recognition of such successes, the support from the various related fields of study and practice in working with the arts and health and wellness. The references are all around and the population of this age group is growing every day.

13. What didn't work for you?

Negative thinking (mine), closing doors (them).

14. What three tips can you share to help others starting on a similar path?

  1. make the choice to be a proactive contributor
  2. act on it
  3. find and utilize all worthy resources to aid in developing this much needed expertise

15. What are you working on now?

I am continuing to fine-tune the workshop series I have begun. The latest programming includes seasonal senior “silver” arts camps, regularly scheduled social and creative outings for older adults (Cinema Gold) to add in the near future. This all entails gathering coop artisan to collaborate in the development of such offerings.

16. What's coming up for you in the next year?

Just mentioned it!

17. What else do you desire/dream to do?

I age as gracefully as possible, continuing to enrich myself (referring to question #6 above).

18. How will you make that happen?

Enjoy the journey, serving my creative process, and giving back as much and often as I can.

19. What one question would you like to answer that hasn't been asked?

Are there relationships between kinds of education (in place) that promote whole person education and cultivation of creativity?

Apply this to current educational system(s) and those delegated to older participants.

20. What's your Web site addresses? and •