We had the good fortune of connecting with Wimberly Thomas and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Wimberly, why did you pursue a creative career?
Really and truly, I didn’t choose this career. It chose me. I was raised in the home of a Southern Baptist preacher and a high school art teacher. Mom started teaching all four of us kids classical art technique at a very young age, working in mediums of oils, acrylics, and watercolors. So being raised in an artistic household, it is no wonder the arts seemed like the best fit for my career. I am the youngest of four. Eldest sister, Elizabeth, is a doctor in New Orleans. Eldest brother, Wes, is a former Marine and now works on a base in Corpus Christi. Elder brother, Graham, works for a newspaper in Arkansas. And I teach music in metro Atlanta. We all went our own ways. Even though I am the only one that works exclusively with the arts as my career, my siblings and I hold our own unique artistic mindset, either through execution of the craft or appreciation of it.
Can you open up a bit about your work and career? We’re big fans and we’d love for our community to learn more about your work.
I am what I call a holistic artist. I pour every ounce of my being into my music and my artwork–mind, body, and soul. Creating beauty is one thing I really enjoy, but being able to share it is what sets my soul on fire. Seeing others appreciate it or critique, seeing something new through their perspective, maybe something I didn’t notice before, is always an exciting venture. I am entering into my seventh year of teaching public schools. It was not easy getting here. I had many rejections for being either over qualified or under qualified. I had to work shifts at Dairy Queen and Blockbuster. For awhile I worked at the YMCA and daycare centers. I also would work on staff at churches, but my true love is sharing my craft to where others can enjoy and appreciate it in their own way. That’s when I knew that teaching was the way to go. Getting a teaching license in music is not easy. We’re talking a 5-6 year bachelor’s degree plus teaching exams. Once you’re over that hurdle, it’s worth it.
Any places to eat or things to do that you can share with our readers? If they have a friend visiting town, what are some spots they could take them to?
I would take my best friend kayaking as this is a hobby of mine and with living in a waterfront home, it’s a natural decision. But if they had never been to Atlanta, the Georgia Aquarium, World of Coca-Cola, and Fernbank Museum and Science Centers would be at the top of the list.
Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?
I would like to give a shout-out to my teachers over the years that encouraged my artistic abilities. Mom, first and foremost, trained me very early in classical art techniques. Uncle Ron, Aunt Polly Bostic, Aunt Pam Thomas, Dad, Grandma Pat, and my late grandmother Elizabeth Perry, a concert pianist in her own right, were always huge advocates for my music. Bob Jones, David White, Lynn Hill, Ronnie Russell, Jan Thomas, Becky Miller, Charles Daley, and Terry Watts oversaw my musical training in church. Sheila Richardson, Martha Autry, Andy Sanders, and Jennifer Sills were my music teachers in primary school through high school. Jay Dean, Maryann Kyle, Lois Leventhal, Dana Ragsdale, Larry Smith, Greg Fuller, Patricia Malone, Geoffrey Squires, Paul Watkins, and Leigh Mason oversaw my musical studies through graduate school. It takes a village to raise a competent musician.
Livingston Elementary Chorus Covington, GA