Sunday, July 21, 2024

Ten Questions with Melody Matheny, Attraction Designer

Melody Matheny (Photo credit: Kirk Marsh)

HISTORIC TRIANGLE — “Ten Questions with” is a series that allows readers to get to know local business leaders, volunteers and community members in the Historic Triangle.

This week, meet Melody Matheny.

What is your job title and description?

As an Attraction Designer, I combine an establishment’s facilities with storylines or history to visually communicate and provide meaningful experiences to guests.

How do you interact with the local community?

I’d love to be involved with any company, big or small, who has an important story to tell. Did your parent start your business and you’re continuing their legacy? Did you start your business from a passion to serve your community? Is your company involved in telling important history relating to the Historic Triangle? No matter what your story is, it’s important to the tapestry of our city, and it’s MY passion to help you tell your stories in not just emotional ways, but ways that help your business to thrive and make an impact.

Who do you interact with the local community?

Being involved with business owners, decision makers, investors or company visionaries is where I work the best. I try to push peoples’ minds into how to grow and make a difference in realistic ways through the physical environments that their guests interact with.

What is something about your job most people wouldn’t know about?

Making things beautiful is one thing, but being a great designer is all about psychology. The psychological path of how a person moves through space and being able to nudge their mental state, educational comprehension and emotional reactions through the visual environment.

How do you define success?

To me, success is finding joy in your everyday life and feeling the freedom to truly be yourself. Achieving the real work/life balance that suits YOU. And being surrounded by friends and family who love you and support you.

Photo credits: Kirk Marsh

What is your most successful accomplishment to date?

Having been chosen by the Port Authority of Jamaica to design a cruise port for its over 500-year-old historic city of Port Royal, famous as the pirate capital of the Caribbean during the Age of Sail. I was able to study with the Institute of Jamaica and the local population to determine the important takeaways to portray and how to do that sensitively and honorably to past and present residents while providing an impactful experience for foreign tourists. It was presented to the Prime Minister of Jamaica and was approved on the spot. The port is opening in phases and welcomed its first cruise ship in 2020.

How long have you lived/worked in the Historic Triangle?

I grew up here and moved away after high school. I’ve been gone for 25 years and just returned this past year in 2023. So I’m back now as an adult and parent and LOVING it more than ever!

What is your favorite part of being in the Historic Triangle?

DoG Street is the heart and soul of our town; the whole community gathers there constantly and it makes us all feel connected. To each other, to our city and to the past. It reminds me of European plazas and it feels truly like home.

What do you do for downtime/to relax?

Explore our area, visit friends and family, make new friends, learn more about history, and let my kids be kids. Watching them grow and connect with our wonderful town residents and our natural environment here is so fulfilling!

What is the next step in your journey?

I’ve been working for theme parks and cruise ports all over the world for the last 25 years on telling all sorts of stories, both real and invented. I’ve brought my knowledge and skills home, to Williamsburg, and it’s my clear intention to help my favorite city in the world and its residents tell its stories for future generations to learn from, take pride in, and to carry on our legacies. I’m ready to get started.

To see her projects or reach Matheny, visit her webpage.

Do you want to learn more about your community and the people who live and work in the Historic Triangle? We are looking for people with interesting jobs, super volunteers, or community leaders to showcase. Reach out to let us know if you (or someone you know) would like to be considered for Ten Questions.

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