Debra Lee Meese is the Executive Director at the Orange Art Center. As a visual artist, art administrator, and proud mother, Debra brings a creative and innovative perspective to the Executive Director role.
Debra is a native Clevelander who heard her calling into visual art early in life. She was lucky to begin her creative studies while attending Mentor Schools, which offered robust art programs and facilities for a variety of fine art disciplines. With the support of her mother and brother, she went on to attend Bauder Design College in Miami, Florida, where she earned her Associate of Arts degree in fashion design. Debra then continued her art education by enrolling at the Cleveland Institute of Art, where she earned her Bachelor of Fine Arts degree in photography and video. During her studies, she received an Eastman Kodak award for her photography and, subsequently, her work was acquired by the Progressive Art collection. For her capstone project, she created two public art projects, Amid the Noise (a billboard installation) and Lost Voices (a large scale photo projection onto a government building). In the Spring of 2013, Debra completed her formal education by earning her Masters of Art degree in Arts Administration from Savannah College of Art and Design.
Prior to joining Orange Art Center, Debra spent ten years working at the Cleveland Institute of Art in several departments. Most recently, she was in the school’s Institutional Advancement department, where she contributed to the success of their new building capital campaign. Additionally, Debra previously held several creative position, including assistant manager of Gucci’s salon in New York City and Visual Director of Saks Fifth Avenue in Cleveland.
In addition to administration of Orange Art Center, Debra continues to create visual art. She highlights her love of nature and sense of adventure as the inspiration for her work—she tried to capture her sense of connectedness to earth, colors, design, function, and wonder. When she’s not working or creating, Debra is spending time with her adult children, Jacqueline Adele and John William, both of whom reside in New York City.