Mary Ann Caldron
The Perfect Match
by: Samantha Rojas
In September, the U.S. soccer team secured its place in the World Cup 2014 games in Brazil. American fans are already making plans to travel to Brazil for the tournament in the hope that they will be in the perfect place, at the perfect time, at the perfect venue to see The Perfect Match.
At the Broward Cultural Division, Public Art & Design Arts Assistant Mary Ann Caldron is seriously considering flying into the heart of a politically tense Brazil with her husband, who is also passionate about the sport, to see the perfect match the U.S. team plays against other national soccer teams. The 16-year Cultural Division employee, who will retire in February, visited Italy (1990), France (1998) and Germany (2006) for World Cup tournaments.
2006 World Cup
“Perfect match” can also characterize a job or a life partner. At the Cultural Division, a Public Art & Design meeting can barely take place without Caldron in attendance. “I don’t get a lot of stress from my job and taking the minutes from the meetings, because I enjoy it,” says Caldron. “The stress, if any, is making sure that all the elements are in place, just to ensure that the meetings run efficiently…because there are so many things to do to make sure this happens, so that the committee and panel members will be comfortable, resourced and ultimately as effective as possible.”
Caldron is excited to see what will happen at the meetings; she is excited about the conversations that will take place, how each project will evolve. She is excited about her job. If someone needs to know any detail - historic or logistical - about the Public Art & Design Program, Caldron is the resource. Indeed, her specific skills, passion and experience are the perfect match for this specialized role.
Once during her 16-year tenure, Caldron transferred to another County agency to accept a promotion. Six months later she was back. Her position had not been filled and she had, in that time, realized just how passionate she was about the Cultural Division and the mission of the Public Art & Design Program.
As is the case with many perfect matches and moments, everything that has happened in the past finally culminates to bring the person and the moment together. Caldron worked for many years in government, both in Connecticut and Florida. With the City of Hallandale, she worked in the Planning and Zoning Division taking minutes of meetings of the planning and zoning committee and the development review board. She learned - from the inside out - how Broward County is moving forward and what developers are required to do if they want to bring a project to life. Also in Hallandale, she worked for the city attorney’s office, learning about public negotiations.
After that, with the City of Hollywood engineering department, she experienced mixing with the creative sides of engineers. She discovered her passion for the artistic realm and found inspiration while being surrounded by creative types. “I have what I think is no artistic talent,” she laughs. “So I thought, how exciting to be working with people who have it.”
It was with this skill set, passion and experience that she interviewed for the Public Art & Design assistant position with the Cultural Division in 1998. The PAD program needed a person who could handle the very dynamic role of keeping many things in order, including minutes of PAD meetings, multiple artist selection panels, committees and councils; as well as calls to artists and other types of information. Caldron seemed perfect for the job. “Not many people had THAT specific experience and as much of it, as I had, at that time,” she says.
Caldron has seen the Division change much in 16 years, mostly in terms of technology. From slides, to CDs to online application systems, she has seen the Public Art & Design Program evolve and she has also been privy to the intricacies of politics, panels and committees all interwoven with art and diplomacy. “With the PAD Committee, everyone has their own aesthetic as they come in,” says Caldron. “The continual change keeps ideas fresh. It’s interesting,” she says, “because there is a political way of doing things and then there is the artistic way of doing things.”
That’s the whole crux of public art, and it’s also why not every artist is a public artist, Caldron believes. She especially likes artist selection panels, as she feels this is where a project is actually developing, moment by moment - idea by idea.
Married for more than 32 years, Caldron and her husband, Carlo, had a tennis-themed wedding in Connecticut. On the court, during the ceremony, they passed under arched tennis rackets in salute to their vows. Surrounded by friends and family, they sealed another perfect match.
Now she looks forward to joining Carlo in retirement. “We are very independent with our lives. We understand each other’s likes and dislikes,” she says. “However, what helps is that we enjoy doing a lot of the same things. We enjoy soccer and tennis together, to name two.”
Which is why, for today - and when she retires in February - the perfect match that will be at the forefront is the World Cup 2014 soccer match in Brazil.
Back Row -l-r: M. Caldron; G. Kewl-Durfey; L. Fordham; J. Shermer; S. Schultz; R. Nocom; E. Bosworth; J. Leshinsky;
C. Roldan, C. Garrett; O. Pulido; M. Oplesch; A.Clarke & L. Range
Front Row – l-r: E. Cascalheira; T Ly; S. Rojas; C. Seamore & L. Lopez
The Broward Cultural Division is Broward County’s local arts agency, designated by the State of Florida with a mission to enhance the community’s cultural environment through the development of the arts. It’s a lofty mission nestled in a hub of the Broward County government administration. In this swiftly developing business community - home to millions of annual tourists, regular “snow birds,” and a growing population of residents - there lies a unique backdrop of sand, sea, and miles of environmentally-friendly, lush natural swampland, as well as a strategically-central location in the South Florida region. Today, the Division consists of 21 individuals, each independently and uniquely passionate about the concept and application of arts and culture into the daily life of a developing community with a unique predisposition.