Support the Timberjay by making a donation.

Serving Northern St. Louis County, Minnesota

Local teacher debuts creativity series on Instagram

David Colburn
Posted 8/9/23

COOK- Folks who know North Woods School art teacher Rachel Betterley know well that her passion for creativity runs deep. It shows through her own painting and pottery, pageantry and parenting, and …

This item is available in full to subscribers.

Please log in to continue

Log in

Local teacher debuts creativity series on Instagram


COOK- Folks who know North Woods School art teacher Rachel Betterley know well that her passion for creativity runs deep. It shows through her own painting and pottery, pageantry and parenting, and through her nurturing creativity in others through her teaching and philanthropy. For her, creativity is a conduit for fulfillment, growth and healing and it’s central to who Betterley is and what she does.
And now she’s bringing that passion to a new venue and endeavor, an Instagram Live video series called Creative Conversations, where she highlights the stories and insights of other creatives with the hope that viewers will take away something encouraging and inspiring.
“Learning the art of expression can start with listening to a story, life hack, or tip, you know, inspiration from some cool people with some pretty rockstar journeys,” Betterley said. “In order to get people to be inspired to create, they need to see all the different ways people do that. And one of the ways I could showcase that is through Instagram Live.”
“People featured will come from many different walks of life and ages,” Betterley continued. “Artists, educators, musicians, social media gurus, pageant titleholders, public figures, philanthropists, parents, and more. Their commonality? Confidence in what makes them unique to empower their goals. You might be surprised at HOW these people utilize their craft and the many ways they go about doing it to better their personal wellness, trauma recovery, or the lives of others. And, you might hear some of my own personal #artheals stories along the way.”
While the series is still in its infancy, Betterley has already featured a diverse array of creative people and content areas to inspire her audience.
Her first guest, Ryan Daniel, is the owner of Twin-Cities-based Zandolee Media Group, a video and image production company that develops corporate media and also creates wedding videos and photography. The two crossed paths about a decade ago when Daniel was working with the Miss Minnesota pageant.
“I’ve actually known Ryan for quite a while, and Ryan has his own podcast as well,” Betterley said. “I’ve done a lot of work with him with Zandolee Media, that’s kind of the start of how I grew interested in being in front of a camera. He’s really built that confidence in me to want to host and take that leadership role in front of the camera, and I feel very comfortable. So, it felt only fitting to start with him because he’s a person who helped shape me into the public figure I am and into the media person I am. He has tons of wisdom and I still feed off that today.”
For her second episode, Betterley drew on her pageantry background, and the current Mrs. Great Lakes Petite welcomed two other Petite USA pageant family members, national Mrs. Petite Allison Wilkinson and Mrs. Florida Petite Kasi Gonzales, to the broadcast to talk about the ways in which art is infused in the pageantry world.
“At the end of the day, it’s about treating your pageant journey like an artist does a canvas,” Betterley said. “Pageantry is like a form of performance art.”
In her Aug. 3 episode, Betterley, a self-professed rock and metal music fan, featured Chaz Wagner, lead guitarist, drummer, vocalist, and founder of the Native rock band War Bonnet. Wagner’s interview highlighted how Betterley likes to approach each episode.
“With Chaz in particular, I had to do homework. I wanted to make sure I knew exactly what I was getting into as far as conversations. I do a very broad outline of themes or topics I’d like to hit,” she said. “For Chaz. his topics were education, inspiring authenticity, and preserving culture. Those topics feed into subtopics for what you’re going to do for the questions. Sometimes I type out a couple of questions that advance normally for each topic, but then those questions will stem into sub-questions that are more casual and on the fly, based on what they’re talking about. It really is 50/50 because if you just followed a script verbatim, it’s very boring, it’s very interview like, it’s not a conversation. So, you have to be creative. And sometimes with creativity, you have to just let it be what it wants to be, let it manifest with how the conversation wants to unfold.”
Betterley has been learning the technical hoops of Instagram Live, too. For example, she’s discovered that it seems to work best when both she and the person she’s interviewing are using their phones, rather than computers. Production elements such as lighting, clothing, hair styling, positioning, and backgrounds all work together to create a visually compelling video.
“It’s got to have longevity to it,” Betterley said. “It’s not like you’re having 1,000 people tune in live. You can post the live video and people can watch it later. Chaz’s interview is at 900 views, so people want to watch, but they won’t necessarily want to show that they’re watching live because you can see who’s doing that. Not everyone, but in many cases they watch later. So, I take that into account. It’s being filmed and it’s going to be posted. It’s got to have longevity to it.”
Betterley said she’s not certain how often she’ll do Instagram Live interviews and post reels.
“I won’t necessarily do it every week, because that’s a lot of work,” she said. “But I definitely want to do it bi-weekly or once a month.”
Betterley has plenty of ideas of different artists to feature on the show, from photographers to cosplay artists, but she plans to be thoughtful and deliberate in the way she introduces the aspect of the power of art for personal healing to the broadcast.
“It’s getting the right person on at the right time that feels like the right fit,” she said. “It’s a really deep conversation. I do think bringing that on with the right person will come in due time.”
App subscribers can find Betterley’s Creative Conversations on Instagram at @rachelbetterley.