Q&A with Chloe Crum
Class of 2011 graduate Chloe Crum is the recipient of the 2016 Edward L. Whitbeck Memorial Award, the greatest distinction bestowed on a graduating student by UALR. Crum, a Donaghey Scholar at the university, opened up to the e-Mustang staff about her work in Nicaragua, her recent stop-motion films and her dedication to community service.
Tell us about your background.
I’m from Little Rock. My dad is a radiologist and my mom is an artist. I have an older brother, Max, who also went to CAC and is currently getting a Ph.D. in Economics. I was recently married in May to Kaley Crum. I have had several jobs, from studio assistant, radiology assistant to cake decorator. I fell in love with baking and edible art. My life goals are to leave a positive impact on people through creativity. I think that art can help bridge gaps, heal wounds and educate.
As part of your final project at UALR, you led a jewelry making class for Nicaraguan women previously trapped in prostitution. Tell us about your experience working with these women and how it impacted you.
This project was the most challenging and rewarding leap of faith I have taken. It was obvious to me that God was letting all these people fall into my life in order to get me to Nicaragua. Once I was there, I learned far more than I could ever teach. I learned that life is hard outside the walls of safety I grew up in. I also learned that God will use whatever crazy interests you might have, like Spanish and metalwork, and put it to good use. I was forever changed by the experience, and my heart is still there with the people of Nicaragua. I can’t wait to return, Lord willing.
This year, your stop-motion film was accepted into eight film festivals and won several awards (including Best Student Film at the Indie Film Festival in Switzerland). Tell us a little bit about how you began animated filmmaking.
I was captivated by a commercial about a stop-motion film. It showed all the intricate miniature work that went into making this elaborate illusion. I was enchanted. I grew up with an artist as a mother, and at CAC, I was very involved in all forms of theater, from acting to props, sets, lighting, the works. This was the whole package. You build your own miniature set, your cast, your script, lighting, characters and props. It is like a huge theatrical production, only made into miniatures, and you play all the parts. It was tons of hours and painstaking work, but such a rewarding a joyful process.
What was the positive reception like for you?
The reception I received was shocking. I had one week of training in North Carolina on how to use the software and had no editing experience. My professors were raising some serious eyebrows. But after I began the process and showing people my work, they were thrilled. One instructor sat me down and told me I HAD to enter the film into festivals. So, I did. I was shocked it was accepted into any, but eight was far more than I had dreamed of.
Tell us a little bit about meaning behind this “J.C. Hopper Custom Menswear” and the message you hoped to get across.
The tale starts in a tailor shop that is owned by J.C. Hopper, who happens to be a cricket. He is threatened by the evil mayor Dung (who happens to be a dung beetle). However, when the Mayor finds himself in a bind concerning his wardrobe, Mr. Hopper comes to the rescue. The message and meaning speak to the Biblical message of turning the other cheek. Although he has been wronged, Mr. Hopper still helps out the man who tried to ruin his life. It’s also a bit of a statement on the state of most politicians.
We heard you have been involved in organizations including World Services for the Blind, Make-A-Wish Foundation, Community of Grace Health Center. Tell us a little bit about what motivates you to serve.
My whole life I have been surrounded by people who serve, utilizing whatever skills they might have to help others. I have merely been imitating all the marvelous examples in my life. They served and taught me that it isn’t about me, but about helping others and sharing God’s love.
When you’re not working on films or at your job at Natalie Madison’s Artisan Cakes, how do you spend your time?
I’m a craft and book junkie. I knit, sew, embroider, do metalwork, and weave baskets. I love to cook, bake and garden. I’m essentially an old lady.
What is your fondest CAC memory?
My fondest CAC memory is all of the crazy dress up days — particularly when Julie Pritchett and I dressed up as Mr. and Mrs. Killgore. I was Mr. Killgore.
How do think your experience at CAC shaped the person you are today?
CAC was my second home and family. I learned to be dedicated to my studies, driven (thanks to Coach Brady, Coach Q and of course, Coach Sullivan), passionate and creative thanks to Hannah Sawyer and the theater department. I learned service and perseverance from Mustang Missions. CAC has everything to do with who I am today, and I will forever be grateful for all of the opportunities it has afforded me.