January 23. 2018 3:51PM

Karina Kelley • 32 • Manchester

What is the best career advice you ever received?

Not exactly career advice, but my college painting teacher always said, “Paint what you see, not what you think you see.”

Why did you choose your profession?

I enjoy being creative and seeing new things — being in marketing and the arts allows me to share my unique perspective with the world and it’s hard getting bored.

What motivates you to give back to your community?

New Hampshire tends to be an older demographic, so I think infusing the state with creative energy is the best way to give back. So many people are content to rest on their laurels, I feel that if you want to see change you need to act.

What advice would you give your 22-year-old self?

Study abroad when you are in college or take a gap year after you graduate and travel!

What would make New Hampshire more attractive to young professionals?

I think more cultural activities including art, galleries and music, and, of course, better restaurants! I think venues like this encourage conversation and diversity and make our cities and towns better places to live.

What was your last major achievement?

In the fall of 2017 I opened a contemporary art gallery with my business partner Bill Stelling. It is called Kelley Stelling Contemporary and is located on Hanover Street in Manchester. The gallery is dedicated to the presentation of works by emerging artists in 2D and 3D formats. Our goal is to educate and expose contemporary art to a broad mix of artists, collectors and art lovers in and around Manchester.

Volunteer activities: Present: 2017 Currier Museum of Art Gala Chairperson for the Heart of the Arts Gala, which raised over $125,000 for arts programming and included doubling the prior year’s sponsorship amount to $41,000; 2017 NHIA Committee Member for Gatsby at the French Gala; New England Foundation for the Arts (NEFA) Advisory Council Member. Past: National Alliance for Mental Illness (NAMI) Fundraising Volunteer; Kimball Jenkins School of Art, Vice President of the Board of Directors and Board Member.

What's in the photo: Artwork by Mike Howat that can be seen in Karina's gallery.