Being called “executive director” is quite the privilege, something people strive for over the course of a career. Andrea Johansson already has it on her resume before the age of 30, although it’s an interim position for the Morada Way Arts and Cultural District. Anders Urbom stepped down from the position in July.
“I just came on the board in June and it just happened to be weird timing because the director stepped down, so I volunteered in early July,” Johansson said. “It’s entrepreneurial and on my own time, and it’s not easy.”
Founded in 2011, the Morada Way Arts and Cultural District hosts monthly art walks on a tranquil stretch within a few blocks off U.S.1 every third Thursday.
So the Weekly asked…
Full name: Andrea Ann (Cockerham) Johansson
Hometown: I’m from Islamorada, born and raised. I graduated from Coral Shores High School in 2010.
Family: My husband’s name is Lex Johansson and we will be married two years in November. We met in Gainesville; I was actually a trainer at a gym he worked out at.
What do you do as executive director? I am charged with leading our organization by the premise of our mission. Myself and our operations coordinator organize and put on our monthly Art Walk and all other events and fundraisers.
How many artists showcase their work there? We see anywhere from 20-50 artists and vendors. Obviously, we are a seasonal community so we see more artists in fall and winter. As the Art Walk continues, we plan to add more value to artists than just a physical presence. We plan to give them the opportunity to be on our website’s artists directory so consumers can find them after the Art Walk.
What’s your favorite part about your position? I have always been a creative person and the community I surrounded myself with in Gainesville helped mold my entrepreneurial mindset. Not-for-profits are entrepreneurial pursuits to create impact or solve a problem. Art and cultural districts literally change economies, especially in small towns like Islamorada and Key Largo. My favorite part about my interim position is that I know every second I spend focusing on it, I am helping the Florida Keys and my hometown.
Current full-time job? I have been building my career in real estate since 2015 in Gainesville. After moving back to Islamorada, I now work with Coldwell Banker Schmitt Real Estate Company as a broker/associate.
Are you an artist? I love artistic expression. I never expressed myself in traditional forms of fine art, like painting or four-dimensional art, but I have always been creative through writing and forms of acting.
College: I went to the University of Florida in Gainesville. My degree is in family, youth and community science, a derivative of sociology. I minored in anthropology. In the next two years I plan to get my master’s in real estate, hopefully from UF.
What’s your favorite Keysy thing to do? Probably drink a cocktail at sunset at a bay-front bar or at home or on a boat.
What’s your best professional advice? You can’t be great in anything you do unless you prioritize yourself and your health. Too often, people mistake someone who is disciplined in their pursuits for someone who is selfish. How can you show up for your partner, your friend, your company or your community if you can’t first show up for yourself?
What’s your favorite saying? Great minds discuss ideas; average minds discuss events; small minds discuss people. – Eleanor Roosevelt
Dream meal: you’re sitting in a diner eating… what are you eating and who walks in and sits down next to you? If I am going to eat out and eat the yummiest dish, it would be pizza. I love talking to people who have no underlying agenda and don’t think within one paradigm – the two people that come to mind are Henry Flagler and Elon Musk.
What would you consider your greatest success? That is a great question that I don’t know the answer to. I don’t think it has happened yet.
Handiest skill: Not sure, maybe the ability to look at the bigger picture in every situation.
Biggest inspiration: I think it is amazing how athletic the women who compete in the CrossFit Games are. They inspire me to be the best athletic version of myself.
What would you take with you on an island: Whatever was going to allow me to make fire for the longest duration of time.
Favorite local artist: I have always loved Pasta’s work. My college graduation present from my dad was a limited edition print of the Keys to Life. I find this to be the quintessential image of community in the Florida Keys. It is my Islamorada tree of life.
If you could meet one artist, dead or alive, who would it be? My interpretation of art is being creative. I would want to talk to Henry Flagler about the railroad and Florida land development in general.
Finish these two sentences:
My husband would describe me as: Extreme
My autobiography would be titled: Caffeine