By Elizabeth Brannon
How many of you have a favorite duo? Simon and Garfunkel? Peanut Butter and Jelly? Batman and Robin?
You may not know that Flower Mound has a dynamic duo for the arts – Sue Ridnour and Krissi Oden. Sue is the Director of Library Services and Krissi is the Community and Cultural Arts Program Manager.
These two town employees do not work as artists but they facilitate the arts in Flower Mound. Initially, Sue was the main person who supported the arts, but since Krissi came on board, they work collaboratively to support the arts.
Under the leadership and support of Sue and Krissi, the town of Flower Mound has added many new works to the arts on display here in Flower Mound as well as opportunities to participate in art. We’ve featured many of the arts programs in previous columns. This month we’re here to present this fun and dedicated duo.
Sue has worked for Flower Mound for 21 years, initially hired as the children’s librarian in 1999. In 2013, Sue became Director of Library Services.
Sue is a Cheesehead. She’s a Wisconsin native, who still cheers for all things Wisconsin or Aaron Rodgers related. Sue knows how to drive in snow. In high school, she was an NMSQT (National Merit Scholarship Qualifying Test) finalist, but she confessed that as a kid, she never caught on to mystery of Christmas Eve.
Her dad, who was a fireman, used to take Sue and her brother out to look at the lights and decorations on Christmas Eve. When they returned, Santa had been to her house and left all the presents. She never could figure out how Santa always got to her house when she was not home.
Sue attended UW Madison – and was in Wisconsin when the Miracle on Ice happened at the 1980 Winter Olympics: members on the USA hockey team at the Olympics were from Wisconsin, where Sue says it is VERY COLD.
Sue came to Texas in 1984 because of a spouse transfer, and moved to Flower Mound in 1986. Her two daughters are LISD graduates. She obtained a Master of Library Science degree at Texas Women’s University, and says she loves living in Flower Mound and serving this community.
She participates in local organizations because she enjoys giving of herself and because she thinks it’s important to be involved (Rotary Club, Girl Scouts, Band Boosters, Youth and Family Counseling, etc.). Sue collects alphabet books, like the Texas alphabet book or museum alphabet books and, in fact, says she owns 200+ alphabet books. Sue says she always looks to see how the authors handle q, x, z. She says she’s like the “crazy cat lady.” Sue confessed she learned the Texas Pledge when she started attending town council meetings! She’s got a wacky sense of humor and is sharp and smart and a lot of fun to be around. She’s also a real visionary in terms of the arts and the possibilities of the library.
Krissi always knew she would be in art. She’s from a tiny town in Texas that didn’t offer art in schools, so her mother drove her 90 minutes to take private art lessons. Krissi moved to Denton, and graduated from University of North Texas with a BFA in art history and a MA in art history with a museum education certification.
Krissi worked in museums and worked at the Meadows Museum at SMU, which she says is an amazing museum and hidden gem. Krissi wrote programs for teachers based on art works in the museum, and used the art work as jumping off point for all disciplines.
Following her work at the Meadows Museum, Krissi worked for Big Thought, an art education non-profit in Dallas. She researched how art impacts students. She’s done curriculum writing for places like AT&T Stadium, the Mercedes-Benz Stadium in Atlanta and the State Fair of Texas. Teachers can follow her curriculums as they tour students through the buildings and areas.
After working for Big Thought for four years, Krissi got another degree – an MAT (Master in teaching for art education). Krissi taught art in high school and loved that job, too. Krissi has displayed her own art at ArtHouse and regularly displays works of art that were created by Flower Mound artists and LISD students and staff.
The job Krissi holds in Flower Mound is a perfect job for her, as it’s the culmination of all her other jobs – teaching, writing, creating public art, facilitating art events, non-profit work and arts programming.
Krissi was on her way to a PhD in art education when the Flower Mound job became available. Krissi says all her voids are filled with this job and she can do all the things she loves. She loves integrating art into every facet of living. “Art is everyone’s friend and related to so much of life,” says Krissi. In her work as the Program Director, Krissi can work with many other Flower Mound departments, including Parks, Library and Technology, to name a few.
The Library is going to have creation lab in the spring and will continue to support quality of life and education through arts programming. Our library is the gallery for the art treasure hunt creations and one of the spaces in town to work with Krissi for public art and arts events
There has been a lot of positive feedback about arts projects thus far, and Flower Mound has won a few awards for their art programs. Some events now have their own items in the budget (Chalk the Walk, treasure hunt, etc.) The arts in Flower Mound have come a long way in these past few years. In addition to the huge talents these two bring to Flower Mound, they also offer an odd assortment of interesting personality quirks.
Krissi is addicted to Food Network. Sue is addicted to “The Great British Baking Show.’” Sue and Krissi are both avid “Schitts Creek” fans.
Krissi gets up at stupid o’clock to run.
Sue is a fruit cake fanatic. Yes, she not only loves fruit cake, she makes them and gives them to people as an act of kindness or education.
The arts in Flower Mound are in good hands with this dynamic duo! 2021 has many art programs and events planned, pending a good outcome from COVID-19 challenges. We can’t wait to see the new opportunities as this year unfolds.
Collaboration Thoughts: Alone we are smart; together we are brilliant. – Steven Anderson
Elizabeth Brannon serves on the Flower Mound Cultural Arts Commission.