Ashley Miller, Arts Advocate for Teens

Ashley Miller, Arts Advocate for Teens

Ashley Miller has landed in a music lover’s paradise. An insatiable music acionado and voracious reader, Ashley works in the Creative Studios at Sewell Mill Library & Cultural Center, a so-called “library of the future.” As one of the library’s senior assistants, she plans programs for teens—potential young authors and musicians. “I lucked out when they were choosing staff,” she says, “and James Mitchell, the manager, picked me to run the music programming here.”

The gorgeous 28,000-square-foot facility, opened in 2017, blends colorful children’s and teen spaces, a computer room, recording studios, an art gallery, art classrooms, an outdoor amphitheater, a black-box theater and, of course, a state-of-the-art library. “The creative studios have computers for making digital art, practice
rooms for music recording, podcasting and video editing. There is a video studio with green-screen professional lighting and cameras and there’s a studio with recording software and musical instruments to borrow when you’re here. And it’s free!” she explains.

She came up with an Open Mic Night once a month to bring in performers of all ages to experience some time up on the stage. “I tell people it’s an opportunity to perform in a casual, welcoming environment. The majority of participants are teens with very little experience. Each time they come back, I can see their crowd interactions and performance skills improving. We have a great variety of performers with experience as well, and I love seeing them talk to teens to offer advice and encouragement. You should see the looks on the kids’ faces.”

She’s also excited to work with local authors, like novelist Laura Silverman. “Our author events allow kids to rub elbows with possible mentors,” she says. As for working with teens every day, Ashley chuckles and says, “I’m used to their attitude—I get along with them really well.”

During time off, Ashley loves to peruse used-book stores with her daughter, Bella, and husband, James—especially the Book Nook in Marietta. “It’s basically wall-to-wall books. It’s a reader’s paradise! And I like heading to Good Food right across from the library, for lunch. They have a fun vibe, with good music and lots of fresh food choices.”


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