Meet Bolt of Inspiration Winner, Hailey Rorie
For arts and culture to be recognized, they must be championed.
And, those champions deserve to be recognized, too.
The success and future of the creative community in Charlotte depends on the talent, passion, persistence and ingenuity of those making art here. But, it also requires the patronage of those who can create spaces and invest their resources, their connections, their knowledge and their faith in local individual artists and cultural organizations doing the work.
Hailey Rorie is one of those champions.
Each month, Charlotte Is Creative, in partnership with The Savage Way and the University of North Carolina at Charlotte, recognizes individuals who create opportunities for regional artists with a Bolt of Inspiration, a moss art lightning bolt made by The Savage Way. Today, we’re proud to present Hailey with a Bolt.
Hailey is a leader who has played an integral part in building a strong sense of community in Ballantyne over the past 10 years. She has supported innovative nonprofits like the Isabella Santos Foundation, Classroom Central, the YMCA and helped establish community programs like Markets at 11, an open-air market in Ballantyne’s Backyard that has impacted hundreds of local artisans.
In tandem, Hailey was instrumental in establishing #CreateBallantyne, an initiative that engaged organizations such as Blumenthal Performing Arts, ArtPop Street Gallery, The Savage Way, Charlotte Is Creative and others to bring a renewed sense of art, culture and entertainment to South Charlotte.
She has worked to establish new relationships and opportunities in an area of the city that, until the opening of Ballantyne’s Backyard and The Amp Ballantyne, had been somewhat of a cultural desert.
Of this, Hailey says, “Being a part of such a massive transformation was exhilarating. It proved my theory that people just want to feel connected and inspired. We all want to make an impact, to be a part of something positive. And with the help of so many incredible partners and friends, that’s what we created in Ballantyne. That’s the power of art and community.”
These days, Hailey is undergoing her own creative journey, looking for new challenges and opportunities to explore and put her talents and passions to work. But, before she set sail, The Biscuit caught up with her for a little chat:
How long have you lived here?
Sixteen years – I moved in January 2007, six months after graduating college.
Where does your work ethic come from?
I’d have to credit the long line of ancestors whose grit and loyalty shaped me into who I am today. I grew up in the Midwest on our family farm that’s been passed down through five generations.
A strong sense of purpose and responsibility is instilled at a very young age on a working farm. There are no days off. There is no tolerance for laziness. Quitting is not an option. Community is everything. And, the farm comes first. Always.
Our livelihood was quite literally at the mercy of the weather, and my parents made sure my three sisters and I understood that money and respect do not grow on trees. They’re earned.
What were your first impressions of Charlotte?
Charlotte’s small city feel and sweet southern charm had me at “hello.” When I moved here, I was fresh out of college with a less-than-mediocre job and a pile of student debt. But, there was something so alluring about the culture, and I remember feeling like Charlotte was oozing with opportunity.
What are your impressions now?
Despite its massive growth, Charlotte has remained a very connected and highly collaborative city. I’ve met some of the kindest, most supportive friends and colleagues in this city, and that has been such a gift!
What inspires you?
People who’ve overcome adversity against all odds and still choose kindness. We all face hardships, but I’ve learned it’s how you react in those high-pressure situations that matters. To remain positive, humble and committed to creating an opportunity out of a challenge is the epitome of strength and power in my book.
What are three goals you have for the next six months?
As I approach my next chapter in Charlotte, I’m hopeful to join an organization that’s aligned with my goal to positively impact people’s lives.
I want to find balance. As a working mom, that’s virtually impossible but oh so important. 2023 has been a year of tremendous growth for me, and if there’s anything I’ve learned, it’s that it’s okay to set healthy boundaries. Brave, even.
Finally, I’m scheduling time to volunteer as a family. Our boys are finally at the age where they can grasp the pursuit of helping others. And, it’s important to me to show them that there are many less fortunate people right under our noses.
What’s a book/podcast everyone should know?
The podcast Happier with Gretchen Rubin.
What makes you laugh?
Anyone who can find the humor in day-to-day life. The everyday nuisances are monotonous, but they’re also quite funny, especially when you surround yourself with a village of like-minded people who don’t take themselves too seriously.
My friends and I always say, if you can’t jump in the trenches and laugh with me, we probably won’t be friends. Humor is such a great way to keep life in perspective.
How do you relax….or do you relax?
My family would say I’m a zero-to-100 kind of person. I spent most of my downtime chipping away at creative projects around the house, so it’s not uncommon to find me teetering on a ladder covered in wallpaper glue or browsing the local antique store for a bargain find that will inspire me to rework a whole room. Interior design has become my creative outlet. I love bringing a vision to life that adds character and functionality.
What’s your superpower?
Determination. My mother has always said when I get knocked down or life throws me a curve ball, I have a way of landing on my feet. I’m the last to admit defeat, and come hell or high water, I will find a way to reach the goal and find the right people to support me in the effort.
REACH OUT TO HAILEY
Connect with Hailey on LinkedIn or follow her on Instagram – @haileyrorie.
2023 BOLTS OF INSPIRATION
Hailey joins an incredible group of Charlotteans who have been struck by their own Bolts of Inspiration this year:
Apply for FREE Studio Space at McColl Center
Once again, Charlotte Is Creative’s Space Program has partnered with McColl Center through the H.U.G. Micro-Grant Program, to provide a four-month mini-residency in one of the Center’s artist studios.
The creative selected for this program will also enjoy access to the McColl Center’s incredible workshop (and people who can teach you how to use them), as well as access to the vibrant community of artists working in this acclaimed facility. At this time, this opportunity is open to visual artists (painters illustrators, sculptors, wood and textile artists and more).
If you know a visual artist who needs space to grow or prepare for their next step, PLEASE SHARE this with them.
✅TIMEFRAME: Mid-November 2023 – Mid-March 2024
✅DEADLINE TO APPLY EXTENDED: Oct. 30 at 11:59 p.m.
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