COOK – People who know North Woods School art teacher Rachel Betterley know well that her passion for creativity runs deep. This is seen through her own paintings and ceramics, finesse and parenting, and through her nurturing of creativity in others through her teaching and philanthropy. For her, creativity is a conduit for fulfillment, growth and healing, and central to who Butterly is and what she does.
And now she’s taking that passion to a new venue and venture, a live video series on Instagram called Creative Conversations, where she highlights the stories and insights of other creatives in hopes that viewers will take away something encouraging and inspiring.
“Learning the art of expression can start by listening to a story, a life hack or advice, you know, inspiration from some cool people with some beautiful rock star journeys,” Butterly said. “To get people inspired to create, they need to see all the different ways people do it. And one of the ways I can show that is through Instagram Live.”
“The people featured will come from many different walks of life and ages,” continued Betterly. “Artists, educators, musicians, social media gurus, pageant winners, public figures, philanthropists, parents, and more. Their similarity? Confidence in what makes them unique to achieve their goals. You might be surprised HOW these people use their craft and the many ways they do it to improve their personal health, trauma recovery, or the lives of others. And you might hear some of my personal #artheals stories along the way.”
While the series is still in its infancy, Betterley has already introduced a diverse array of creative people and content areas to inspire its audience.
Her first guest, Ryan Daniel, is the owner of Twin Cities-based Zandolee Media Group, a video and imaging production company that develops corporate media and also creates wedding videos and photography. The two crossed paths about a decade ago when Danielle was working with the Miss Minnesota Pageant.
“I’ve actually known Ryan for quite a while, and Ryan has his own podcast as well,” Butterly said. “I worked with him a lot with Zandolee Media, that’s kind of the beginning of how I got interested in being on camera. He really built that confidence in me to want to host and take that leadership role in front of the camera and I feel very comfortable. So it felt appropriate to start with him because he’s someone who helped me become the public figure that I am and the media personality that I am. He has a lot of wisdom and I still feed off of that today.
For her second episode, Butterly referenced her pageant background, and the current Mrs. Great Lakes Petite welcomed two other members of the Petite USA family, national Mrs. Petite Allison Wilkinson and Mrs. Florida Petite Kasi Gonzales, to the show to talk about ways through which art flows into the world of wonder.
“At the end of the day, it’s about treating your journey as an artist to a canvas,” Betterly said. “Performance is like a form of performance art.”
On his Aug. 3 episode, Betterley, a self-proclaimed rock and metal fan, introduced Chaz Wagner, lead guitarist, drummer, vocalist and founding member of local rock band War Bonnet. Wagner’s interview highlighted how Butterly likes to approach each episode.
“Especially with Chaz, I had to do my homework. I wanted to make sure I knew exactly what I was getting myself into when it came to conversations. I do a very broad outline of topics or subjects that I would like to touch on,” she said. “For Chaz. his themes were education, inspiring authenticity and cultural preservation. These topics feed into subtopics about what you will do about the questions. Sometimes I’ll throw in a few questions that progress normally for each topic, but then those questions will turn into sub-questions that are more casual and on the go based on what they’re talking about. It’s really 50/50 because if you just follow the script verbatim, it’s very boring, it’s very much like an interview, it’s not a conversation. So, you have to be creative. And sometimes with creativity you just have to let it be what it wants to be, let it play out the way the conversation wants to go.
Betterley is also studying the technical aspects of Instagram Live. For example, she’s found that it seems to work best when both she and the person she’s interviewing are using their phones rather than computers. Production elements such as lighting, clothing, hair styling, positioning and background work together to create a visually compelling video.
“It should have a long life,” Betterly said. “It’s not like having 1,000 people listen live. You can post the video live and have people watch it later. Chaz’s interview has 900 views, so people want to watch, but they don’t necessarily want to show that they’re watching live because you can see who’s doing it. Not all, but in many cases they watch later. So, I take that into account. It is being filmed and will be published. It should have longevity.”
Betterly said she’s not sure how often she’ll be doing Instagram Live interviews and posting reels.
“I don’t necessarily do it every week because it’s a lot of work,” she said. “But I definitely want to do it every two weeks or once a month.”
Butterly has a lot of ideas for different artists to feature on the show, from photographers to cosplay artists, but she plans to be thoughtful and intentional about how she brings the aspect of the power of art for personal healing into the show.
“It feels like the right person to get the right person at the right time,” she said. “It’s a really deep conversation. I think that with the right person will come in time.”
Subscribers to the app can find Betterley’s creative conversations on Instagram at @rachelbetterley.