One on One: Melissa Turnage and Jarrod Allen

One on One Turnage Allen October

As a creative, you want to feel like you are crafting something that matters. Every step in the creative process brings you one step closer to that final product that just might change lives. This month, we brought together a designer and dancer to talk about how they are their work.

Meet dancer Melissa Turnage

Turnage is an artist in residence in the Arts in Medicine program at UAB Hospital and has more than 40 years of experience in dance and arts education. She has worked in numerous arts and educational institutions and has written dance curriculum for several programs.  She is an adjunct professor of dance at Birmingham-Southern College, where she teaches and writes ballet curriculum.

Meet industrial designer Jarrod Allen

Allen is an industrial designer at Appleseed Workshop, where he focuses on the intricate, complex aspects that bring depth to the company’s unique projects. Prior to Appleseed, Allen spent 15 years designing, managing, and selling fresh food displays for retailers like Whole Foods, Boar’s Head, and Publix. He is also the owner of a leather business called Hide and True, where he handcrafts belts and other leather goods.

What is the most rewarding part of you what you do?

Allen: My job is about balancing the engineering and artistic side of things. I enjoy hearing a vision from clients and building that story for them. When creating a space, design plays a crucial role. For example, I think about something as simple as a doorknob to a restaurant and all the people that are going to walk through that door and put their hands on it. I have to be considerate of who is going to engage my work.

Turnage:  In my job at UAB, we are hoping for patients to have little moments of creating art that serve as an escape from reality. I remember working with a group of adolescents in a psych unit, and one man had never tried dancing before. Something happened and he became the movement. When the music stopped he said, “I am a dancer and I never knew it.”

Is there anything else you’d like to add?

Allen: Many times in life we are just passing each other on the streets, never really connecting. In our jobs, we can care for each other in little ways.

Turnage: There’s a wholeness in healing, and that’s where the arts come in. We forget how connected we all are.

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