Untucked Woman: Heather Rabun

Heather, what keeps you on-the-go? 

Coordinate. Teach. Choreograph. Dance.

I bring people together to create and share in BEAUTY.  I love to co-create through collaboration.

I do this with ART, as a co-founder and director of Beautify Earth (BE), a non-profit arts organization dedicated to ending urban blight.  The BE mural projects I manage involve artists, business owners, landlords, community, city organizations, sponsors and volunteers to bring artwork to otherwise neglected public-facing walls.

I do this with DANCE, as part of a handful of dance companies, including Joule TheatreBODYART, and planning my next move (most likely an art show) for B.E. Dance LA (which incorporates dancing and painting).  

Like any hustler who embraces change and variety, I work the occasional fun dance gig or hair modeling gig - they love me because I'm down for any cut or color! - which keeps me feeling fresh.  As one of our BE board members put it best "I don't think I've seen you with the same hair more than twice".

What's your day-in-the-life?

I enjoy taking my time in the morning, making coffee and a light breakfast, but notice I thrive on days when I either hit 8:30am ballet class or schedule meetings for 9am or 10am.  I often work from my desk at home, will bike to a local cafe, or head to Tuesday Beautify Earth team work-days at Cross Campus in Santa Monica.  I hand-write a to-do list each morning, so my mind can freely flow yet stay on track.

Most everything I do has one goal:  Paint-That-Wall!  So my work consists of lots of follow-up calls, texts, emails, bitmojis, with all the folks involved, boring things like contracts, proposals & budgets, and exciting things like curating the art.  We are like the Tinder for murals - finding great matches between wall owners and artists.  

Wall hunting happens once every one or two weeks, where I will walk around an area, pop into businesses with walls we would like to paint, and start the conversation.  More wall hunting tips coming soon!  Once we have a wall, site visits pre, mid and post painting keep folks smiling.  I like to cluster them on either side of dance rehearsals or auditions and take shared rides around town, as I meet interesting people and get to pitch them to become a Beautify Earth member ;) Creating win-wins!

Evenings can go either way for me - sometimes work or meetings (I'm also on the Pico Improvement Organization board), sometimes social life - I cherish the relationships in my life so I make an effort to stay connected, and often times I get to do both, as I work with some of my best friends!

What do you wear to work?

As I sometimes go between business meetings and dance rehearsals, I tend to go for yoga pants that I can throw a blazer and booties over to look more artsy-professional.  I also have a few pairs of paint jeans and my favorite painting boots that make a regular appearance in the rotation, and I love playing with pops of color.  Every now and then, I feel more fancy and like to throw on a dress or bright lipstick.  It's important that I exude confidence (first impressions are key!) in whatever outfit I wear, and to me that means I look good and am free to really move in whatever I'm wearing.

What's one of the most rewarding parts about your job?

Seeing the positive impact on everyone.  Seeing a business owner's or landlord's heart soften in gratitude as their business picks up, seeing strangers posing for photos in front of the murals each time I walk by, happening upon inspired shares on social media, and my favorite, is seeing our projects inspire others to take action and BE the change in their own unique ways.

What's one of the most challenging parts about your job?

 Spreadsheets and email!  Ha!  No, that's actually the easy part because it's something I have been able to learn.  One of the biggest challenges about my job has more to do with trying to get people to care.  Apathy and fear hold our society back.  How do you change the minds of so many to get them to realize that putting a little effort into what they show to the world will create a huge shift for the better?  We believe that painting a blighted wall with even a child's worst artwork shows the surrounding community that somebody cares, bringing smiles and good feelings to all.

What does an Untucked life mean to you?

An Untucked life means dancing and painting outside the lines.  It means I am valuable in my unconventional, untamed way of contributing to the world.  It means being courageous in forging a new path and creating change.  It means owning my power as an individual to impact the whole.

From your experience, what can we learn from you today? 

Dancing in paint can be slippery! 

Get to know more about Heather...

Personal IG:  @dancinheather

Beautify Earth on FacebookInstagram, and our Youtube Channel

Photo: Jay Kantor of kungfubreakfast.com