Who is Trish Oxford?

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Who is Trish Oxford?

Guest post by Katie Cook, WFU '15 |@WakeReynolda 


“Every character counts.”

It seems like a simple statement, but Trish Oxford taught me that for those in the world of digital communications, it’s actually more of a mantra.

Trish is no stranger to strategic audience engagement at Reynolda House, a passion and drive that has helped her become Assistant Director of Marketing and Communications. In her new role she will be at the digital easel of multiple online platforms, including the Museum’s new website, social media, and email.

From living in an artist’s colony in Panama for a summer after college to earning her Masters of Fine Arts degree with a concentration in video art from the California College of the Arts, art has always been a part of Trish’s life. After moving back to North Carolina with her husband, she utilized social media to successfully grow and establish the duo’s small furniture business.

It wasn’t until 2012 when she joined Reynolda House as Audience Engagement and Communications specialist, however, that Trish had the opportunity to utilize both her artistic eye and digital expertise simultaneously in her career.

I had the opportunity to sit down with Trish and learn more about her connection to Reynolda House, as well as the Museum’s newly engaged digital audience.


What does Reynolda House mean to you?

Trish: Reynolda House, to me, is basically a lens to look at other things; anything really. What I love about Reynolda House and my job is that I can find connections constantly. Whether it’s something in history, the art world, or even something that’s about the human condition, there’s always something new to explore.


How did you find yourself at Reynolda House?

Trish: In school I was looking at how identity was perceived through the digital world, specifically ethnic identity and female identity and how it was flattened online. After working in the technology sector and opening a furniture business with my husband, I basically put my foot down. I had always worked to make ends meet, so I could be an artist, and I just decided to find a job that married both sides of me. I was applying to all sorts of arts organizations in town and this one at Reynolda House came up. It was a part-time position, which was not ideal, but I just decided to take a leap and it eventually grew to this.

Now I’m full time and I’m doing what I studied in school, but with real-world application by asking questions like: what is the identity of Reynolda House? How can we transfer that real kind of magic that someone feels when they come here online? I know that kind of romanticizes what it is I do, but that's ultimately the goal: to make someone remember their visit and encourage someone to make that first visit. Just that engagement is so important.


What is the museum’s digital audience?

Trish: Our digital audience to me is basically anyone that would enjoy coming to Reynolda House and be open to finding some sort of connection here. Maybe they live in Australia or England, but they’re interested in hearing our story, which makes them members of our digital audience. They want to walk through our digital doors (laughs). I think adding the art collection to the Reynolda House website just opens us up this experience to the public even more.

You just have to have that attitude, like, a willingness to dig deeper. There’s no real guide for it. It’s all about looking for the connections and thinking to yourself “who wants this message?”


What is your fondest memory of Reynolda House?

Trish: I actually had an amazing moment last week! They were rehearsing for the Brooklyn Sounds concert on Sunday, and I wanted to do a post that showed a sneak preview. I got a chance to just walk from my desk to the auditorium and listen to an amazing cellist, pianist, and violinist practice. They were in the heat of making this music and would cut and be like, “could you tell I messed up?” and this or that. It was simply artists at work.

The reason I think it’s my greatest memory right now is because it reminds me that this building is just alive with activity. It’s abuzz and full of energy. All of our efforts are built around this passion for the art, our history, and this community.            


Is there anything else you would like to say?

Trish: Something really important to me is diversity, whether that’s ethnic diversity or diversity of experience. I was born in Winston-Salem and I’m proud to talk about Reynolda House and its history, but the face of what it means to be southern is changing. I am a southerner,  even though my parents moved here from the Philippines. 

The Winston-Salem community has changed and I think it’s important that Reynolda reflect this multiplicity of views and to find common ground, especially through art and R.J. Reynolds’s story of success.

I just want it to be apparent that it’s important to me, as a mission, to reach out to communities that haven’t always necessarily felt that their story is a part of this larger story of American history when, in my opinion, it is and always will be.  


Follow Trish Oxford on Twitter @trishatreynolda; Instagram, instagram.com/trishatreynolda; and Facebook, facebook.com/trishatreynolda.


Trish Oxford in other news:

Cook is an intern in the Museum’s Marketing & Communications Department who loves all things Reynolda. 


Well said!

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