Chocolate Meltdown role is a sweet gig

Sherri Krazl with her husband, David, and their two children, Makayla and Zackary. CONTRIBUTED
Sherri Krazl with her husband, David, and their two children, Makayla and Zackary. CONTRIBUTED

Sherri Krazl supports the arts through creative fundraiser.

Chocolate Meltdown is gearing up to celebrate all things chocolate.

The event is a fun and delicious way to support two local arts organizations — Oxford Community Arts Center and the Miami University Art Museum. The popular event, attracting chocolate lovers, bakers and artists, will return to the Oxford Community Arts Center on Saturday, Jan. 20, from 1-5 p.m. (Visit www.chocolatemeltdown.com for details.)

We spoke with Sherri Krazl, one of the co-chairs of the “friend-raising” event, to find out about what’s in store for this year’s Chocolate Meltdown as well as why she believes in promoting arts in the community. She also shared about her role as the coordinator of marketing and communications at the Miami University Art Museum.

Q: Tell us about yourself?

A: I graduated from Wilmington College with a degree in Communications. I'm originally from New Carlisle, Ohio, then Wilmington. My husband, David and I live in rural Butler County with our two children, Makayla and Zackary, and our horses, dogs and chickens. I have worked as the coordinator of marketing and communications at the Miami University Art Museum for six years.

Q: Can you talk about your role as the coordinator of marketing and communications at Miami University Art Museum?

A: When it comes to my job, I enjoy the opportunities in my role to work with students on campus through organizations and internships at the museum. I also enjoy being an advocate for the arts at Miami University, helping to promote the wonderful and huge assortment of arts and culture programs and exhibitions all over Miami's campus, in Oxford and the surrounding communities. On the Oxford campus alone this spring, for instance, there are 15 unique exhibitions, 18 lectures plus 14 other special events including workshops, receptions and a conference - and that's just the visual arts. The best place to discover all there is to offer is online at www.MiamiOH.edu/arts-culture.

Also, I'm excited to be involved in activities that expand the reach of the arts at Miami. I edit and publish a bi-annual magazine called Visual Arts at Miami (the online companion blog is at blogs.MiamiOH.edu/visualarts) and serve as an advisor for the student organization, The Arts at Miami (TA@M).

Q: What’s the coolest part of your job?

A: I get to help spread the word on campus and across the region about Miami University Art Museum, a nationally accredited art museum. We have a great resource available for learning and experiencing arts and culture, which is located on the edge of Miami's campus.

Q: What are some of your hobbies when you’re not working?

A: Horseback riding, camping, singing, and photography. Also, I enjoy spending as much time as possible with my family.

Q: Can you give us a couple examples of other ways you’re involved in the community, Oxford and the arts?

A: I serve as one of the 4H advisors for our 4H Horse club, Butler County Bandits and I am a member of the Butler County Ohio Horseman's Council. I also serve on the Oxford Visitors Bureau Board of Directors.

Q: Why did you want to be involved with Chocolate Meltdown?

A: It's a fun event that allows us to work with another wonderful arts organization here in Oxford, and connect with the community in a fun way. The first Chocolate Meltdown happened many years ago here at the museum, but about four years ago, we started chatting with Oxford Community Arts Center (OCAC) about joining forces and bringing it back. I'm involved because of the fun factor and I enjoy helping to plan, organize and publicize events - and because it helps promote and build awareness of the Art Museum, where I (work in) marketing and communications.

Q: Your colleagues like to call this a “friend-raiser” event. What can attendees expect?

A: It's envisioned as a great networking opportunity to meet new friends, as well as to get people to come in and enjoy a fun event. And, by the time they leave, they will know more about both organizations - Oxford Community Arts Center and the Miami University Art Museum. There are a lot of people who don't know there is an art museum in Oxford, or a community arts center, but by visiting, they have a chance to find out more, explore, or pick up information. Just stepping in the door has created an awareness for of all the many things that are available for individuals to participate in at the Oxford Community Arts Center. We also have a booth about Miami University Art Museum. Guests come in, they buy their tickets, taste chocolates, register for a door prize, and it gives them a chance to support local vendors…Also, we try to make it a unique, fun event that's family-friendly, affordable and something that will peak everyone's interest in "Who are these organizations that are hosting this event?"

Q: What are you most excited about as far as this year’s event?

A: I'm always excited to see the families going through. I love watching the kids participate as they learn about chocolate, decorate a cupcake, or dip fruit in chocolate. I enjoy that. With all the tastings that take place in the ballroom, it's fun to see the buzz around all the vendors. They all have such different products, and each of them are super-delicious. They're fun to look at and taste. It's great to see people socializing in that space, supporting the arts and getting out in the winter…It's a rain or shine event, regardless of the weather.

Q: Why would you encourage the community to participate?

A: It's something fun to do on a cold, winter day. It allows you to try something new. We have four or five new vendors this year. And, even the return vendors are bringing new things every time they come. On top of that, you have all the baked goods from people that are trying out recipes, and then to have the art exhibition in conjunction with all of it, and the trivia and fun activities, it's just a well-rounded, family-friendly, fun afternoon. People love food-related events, whether that's trying a new restaurant or a new dessert. It's a great chance to get out on a Saturday. Come out and enjoy the event, and explore Oxford.

Q: Why do you feel like it’s important to give back to the community?

A: Community is important whether it be your community of coworkers, the school community, family/friends or the physical community that you live or work in. People contributing financially, or with their time and talents not only strengthens the groups benefiting, but it also creates connections of caring people to keep things moving in a good direction.

Contact this contributing writer at gmwriteon@aol.com.

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