Josephy Center for Arts and Culture
Cheryl North Coughlan, 49, of Joseph is well-known in the community through her work as executive director of the Josephy Center for Arts and Culture in Joseph. It’s a job she really enjoys and is passionate about, and that is important to her.
She graduated from high school in St. Louis, Mo., in 1986 and went to Bard College in the Hudson Valley outside of New York where she received her bachelor’s degree in Art.
After Bard, she moved to New York and worked at a public relations office that handled publicity for PBS and at a photo stock agency. It was during this time that she met husband Brian Coughlan, a fifth-generation Wallowa County boy who now owns Eastern Oregon Landscaping in Enterprise.
Brian had come to New York to visit his school chum Tyler Hays and stayed, working for an Internet company that did ticketing for symphonies. Cheryl and Brian met by chance and discovered they lived in the same neighborhood. They married in 1999.
They moved back to Wallowa County in 2001 with their two children, Ella, 16, and Henry, 13, and Cheryl worked as a court clerk at the Wallowa County Circuit Court for 10 years before moving to Josephy Center.
She enjoys doing things that benefit the community and is on the committee for The Big Read, joined the board at Josephy and worked on the board until hired and is on the board of the Wallowa County Chamber of Commerce. She’s played a big part in making the Barn Tour Map, which should be completed in January.
Q. Why Wallowa County? You were a big city girl.
A. We came back because Brian had family here and once we got here we realized it’s really an ideal place to raise kids and allows them more independence. I actually really like living in a small town. I am kind of a city person, but I like the dynamic of knowing everybody.
Q. What has Wallowa County taught you?
A. I think, Wallowa County has really taught me to have a good work ethic. A lot of people work really, really hard here whether they are working on ranches or at their jobs. A lot of people own their own businesses and they commit a lot of time, and that helped me come into this job. I was influenced by people who are really dedicated to what they are passionate about.
I think it’s also taught me to appreciate the physical beauty of this place. I grew up in the suburbs and the city, and I think what makes this place special is the beauty and remoteness. We complain about the remoteness, but it’s what makes it special. If we were an hour from Portland we wouldn’t be the people we are.
Q. What is the first book you can remember checking out of a public library for yourself? And what book that you’ve read recently can you recommend?
A. “Where the Sidewalk Ends,” by Shel Silverstein. I was seven or eight and checked it out of the University City Library in Missouri. I liked it because each page had a different story and there were drawings. For a kid it was humorous — for an adult it had a different side. I just read “A Gentleman in Moscow” by Amor Towles. I bought it at the Bookloft in Enterprise. It was funny and smart and a great story.