When it came time for Lisa Reavis Drum to plan her retired life she didn’t envision days of lounging in her pajamas, frolicking on a tropical beach or spending her days shopping until she dropped.
Instead she rebelled against her former corporate life and threw a streak of blue coloring in her hair and whipped out her paints and brushes to return to her true love: art.
Drum was born to Clyde and Francis Reavis. She was raised in Yadkinville. She had a strong family that provided strong examples of what she wanted to become in her own life.
“My father was very community focused,” Drum said. ‘He was always involved in sales. He believed in honesty and he believed in building the community and I have been waiting for all of working life to be able to have the chance to come back to this community and help as well.”
Drum said that her grandmothers gave her tremendous examples of what it meant to be a strong woman.
“My grandfather on mother’s side died before I was born,” Drum said. ‘She raised eight kids, took care of the farm, worked and made a life for her family. My other grandmother was more of the power behind the throne you might say. My grandfather was in politics and she would drive him to be successful.”
Drum attended Forbush High School and went on to study art with a concentration in business at the University of North Carolina at Greensboro.
“When I got out of college I was very idealistic and wanted to be an artist,” Drum said. “I did freelance for several years and I had a craft consignment shop in the mountains. I taught classes at Surry Community College.”
Drum’s art is what would lead her to the love of her life. Drum met her husband, Jim, when they were both entering art in the Sun Bonnet Festival in Yadkinville. Jim was a professional photographer and the two hit it off with their similar personalities and their shared passion for the arts.
“We don’t argue about art,” Drum said. “We don’t always see things eye to eye but that’s what art is about. Not everyone sees it from the same perspective so there’s nothing really to argue about in my opinion.”
Drum said that while she was working on some freelance work for RJ Reynolds Tobacco Company she was offered a job in the corporate offices in downtown Winston-Salem. The tobacco company had hired Drum for several freelance projects and finally decided to offer her a permanent position in their art department.
“I worked for the art department for several years. In those days we did art much more mechanically because we didn’t have the computers and the software that we have today so there were over 90 of us in the art department,” Drum said.
Drum bounced around to different positions in her department working in special projects and audio/visual. Through her changing roles with the company she was able to find an area that would satisfy her professional needs.
“I was able to parlay that into what was the love of my life at Reynolds which was database marketing,” Drum said. ‘I spent most of my career in consumer marketing, specifically database, where we’re marketing to consumers that are of legal age that want to have information about our company. We decided what types of programs fit well with the audiences that we wanted to go up against.”
Drum said that her complete devotion to her career put a halt to her artistic endeavors.
“Strategy and art are very closely related and so I didn’t really do any art for a number of years because working 60 hour weeks took it all out of me,” Drum said. “I moved to an area to gain more managerial experience a few years ago and it didn’t have strategy work associated with it so I started redeveloping my art skills.’
Drum dedicated 30 years to RJ Reynolds before she decided to take her retirement. As her retirement approached she began to wonder what she was going to do with her time and her focus turned back to her art.
“As some of my best friends and mentors at Reynolds were leaving it started me thinking about what I was going to do in my retirement,” Drum said. “I did decide that I wanted to be an artist.”
Drum learned of open studio space in the Yard at the Yadkin Cultural Arts Center and she saw it as a perfect opportunity for her to pair her passions: art and socialization.
“I have three goals for the rest of my life,” Drum said. “I want to create art but even more important than my art is that I want to build the arts community in Yadkinville and Yadkin County. I could do my art out of my house but having worked in a large work family all of these years sociability is very important to me.
“I’m a very extroverted person so my last driving need is to be somewhere where I can interface with a lot of people on a daily basis,” Drum continued. “When you look at my studio you can see that one of the most important things to me is that I have a huge social area and I can have meetings here and friends can stop by and sit with me.”
Drum said that aside from her art she has a desire to be a mentor for members of the community. She says that she had extensive experience acting as a manager and mentor in her professional career and she would like to find a use for it in her retired life.
“I’m not sure how I’m going to fit that into my retired life but I will be doing it in some way because I really like helping other people to grow and to become more comfortable in themselves so that they become more successful,” Drum said.
Drum also became more active in the community upon retiring joining the Yadkin Community Foundation Board, the United Fund Board and the Yadkinville Rotary Club. These are just some small steps she’s taking towards fulfilling her need to be more involved in the community.
“When it came to doing things in the community when I was in my career, I typically gave money and Jim gave his time,” Drum said. “He’s on numerous boards and volunteer groups and I’ve always wanted to do that but didn’t feel I could when I was in my career. So now I am looking for different areas where I can volunteer with my areas of strength.”
Drum said that she hopes to be able to enjoy a moderately successful art career while still being able to serve her community with what she has to offer.
“Here I am going into retirement and starting this great art career,” Drum said. “I don’t know that I’ll sell a lot of artwork but I hope see some of my stuff sell. My goal is to break even because art is not something that you really make a lot of money on. If I became the next Andy Warhol or Picasso, that would be just fine. But I want to satisfy my creative needs and I want to help the community.”
Reach Lindsay Craven at 679-2341 or at email@example.com.