Biography

Gregory Mills: Sculptor, Photographer & Teacher

Gregory Mills: Sculptor, Photographer & Teacher

I am a technologist, sculptor, photographer, videographer, audio technician, graphic designer, exhibit specialist, woodworker, facilities manager, security manager, teacher and student. I love learning new skills and don't stop until I have mastered the subject, then I move on to something else that interest me. Since I finished school I have spent a n average of 5 hours a week for the past 20 years doing continuing education.

I have found the perfect job and a way to use all those skills at the Polk Museum of Art in Lakeland, Florida where I am the Director of Security, Operations & Technology. I am in charge of the Museum's security and the facility as well as the operations staff and security officers. I am in charge of all technology (computers/network infrastructure & audio visual) and I do all the photography and video productions and even shot, directed and produced a TV commercial by myself. I have worked at the Museum for over 20 years with most of that time as both the Exhibits Manager and Technology Manager. As the Exhibits Manager I was in charge of installing the exhibits and I have hung over 40,000 works of artwork and been in charge of installing over 300 outdoor sculptures.

I also teach digital photography classes for adults/teens at the Polk Museum of Art or as private lessons. To improve my photography skills, I have taken 58 online classes through creativeLIVE.com. I am now taking IT certification courses through ITpro.TV and each week I listen to various technology podcast to be able to keep up with current technology trends.  

My alma matter is Appalachian State University in Boone, North Carolina where I graduated with a BFA in Studio Arts and a minor in Industrial Technology. My concentrations for my major was sculpture, painting and printmaking however my minor in Industrial Technology has served me equally well since it taught me how to fabricate things in wood, metal or plastics. This means that when I come up with an idea, I already know how to fabricate it. After college, I did a three year apprenticeship with sculptor John Henry before going to work for the Polk Museum of Art.

Each week I run the sound for the contemporary service at First United Methodist Church in Lakeland. As a sculptor I have made liturgical furniture and crosses for several churches in Florida and North Carolina. Most of my free time is now spent fixing up my first home (see photos HERE), playing Minecraft or playing with my dog Paisley.

My friends and coworkers tend to call me a real-life MacGyver but I describe myself as that of a laid back perfectionist. I am a perfectionist, but anything out of my control, I let go, deal with it and move on.

Curriculum Vitae

Professional Experience


Polk Museum of Art in Lakeland, Florida

Director of Security, Operations & Technology (1996 - Present)
Polk Museum of Art in Lakeland, Florida

(Note: Former position was Exhibits & Technology Manager until summer of 2015 when I started doing technology full time and in 2016 I was also put in charge of the facility and operations staff as well as the security officers)

Responsibilities as Director of Security and Operations:

In charge of operations staff and building maintenance

  • Coordinate with vendors and maintenance contractors to keep the Polk Museum of Art in good working order
  • Oversee operations staff and make sure they are keeping the building clean
  • Oversee operations staff as they assist other departments including doing event setups
  • Oversee contract security staff including doing all training
  • Manage the maintenance, facility and security budget
  • Oversaw the installation of a new fire alarm system (2016-2017)
  • Oversaw the installation of a new burglar alarm system (2016-2017)
  • Installed new building wide security cameras system with more than 35 cameras (2014)
  • Installed over 20 outdoor security cameras (2017)
  • Disaster & Hurricane Preparedness Coordinator
  • Responsible for conducting annual hurricane training
  • Wrote the Museum's disaster manual and update it yearly

Responsibilities as Director of Technology:

  • Network Administrator managing a 30+ workstation network with Windows 10 computers. Network is run by a VMware server running 2 virtual Windows Server 2012 R2 servers and Barracuda and Synology backup servers. I also manage another onsite physical network for the Lakeland Montessori Middle School and a third physical network for security/HVAC/industrial controls/Internet of Things.
  • Responsible for all aspects of computer and network security, which includes a UTM, Content filters, local and server based firewall/anti-virus, multiple backups with encryption for offsite backups, and cloud based backup systems.
  • Responsible for all maintenance, upgrades and acquisitions of computers, digital signage and AV equipment.
  • Rebuilt and redesigned the Museum's new website with Matt Belcher (Assistant Curator for Exhibitions and Design)
  • Administrator for the Museum's email using Google Apps for Non-Profits.
  • Managed iPad deployment of 20 iPads to teach digital photography and art to children and teens in 2015.
  • Designed and implemented the Museum's wireless network which consists of two physical networks and 4 virtual wireless networks (one for the public, one for the Montessori Middle School, one private network for the Museum and one for IoT/Internet of Things) and 9 enterprise class wireless access points.
  • Official Museum photographer, videographer, producer and editor
  • Produced, filmed and directed a TV commercial for MIDFLORIDA Mayfaire by-the-Lake in 2013 which aired in 2014, 2015 and 2016. Edited the 2016 commercial in Adobe Premier
  • Produce videos of lectures as well as video content for use in the galleries and for the internet
  • Photograph artwork and events for publication in catalogs, magazine, promotional materials and on the internet
  • Managed the migration from a 25 year old PBX phone system to modern VOIP based hosted voice phone system.
  • Conceived of, designed and implemented the Museum's Video & Digital Art Gallery
  • Create and produce content for multiple digital signage displays

Past Responsibilities as Exhibits Manager:

  • Responsible for the installation and maintenance of exhibits including transportation, crating, design, exhibit graphics, hanging, lighting, exhibit fixture construction, etc.
  • Frame artworks with museum quality framing techniques.
  • Responsible for the long term care of the Museum's permanent collection as well as environmental monitoring and control.
  • Repaired damage to sculptures in the Museum's collection as well as works in the Florida Outdoor Sculpture Competition.
  • Proposed the Florida Outdoor Sculpture Competition to the City of Lakeland. Wrote the initial guidelines of how the competition would work. Oversee the installation of the competition in Lakeland and Winter Haven each year.
  • Produced maps, gallery handouts, orthographic and isometric prints with CAD software; create vinyl graphics and text with a cutting plotter; create multimedia presentations and lectures.
  • Served as Acting Registrar and Curatorial Department Head on three occasions for a total of 1 1/2 years, performing all the duties of a registrar including condition reporting, producing legal contracts and making shipping arrangements as well as overseeing the Curatorial Department budget.

Audio Technician (1998 - Present)
First United Methodist Church in Lakeland, Florida

  • Responsible for setting up and taking down instruments and equipment used in the contemporary worship service including piano, two keyboards, bass, two or three guitars, 10 to 12 vocal mics, monitors, etc.
  • Run the sound for rehearsal and during the worship service.

Polk Museum of Art offers many different types of art classes including photography, drawing and painting

Polk Museum of Art offers many different types of art classes including photography, drawing and painting

Photography Teacher (2010 - Present)
Polk Museum of Art in Lakeland, Florida

  • Teaching adult digital photography for beginners and intermediate students in summer, spring and fall Art Classes. Classes are for 6 weeks, 3 hours each week. Classes cover buying a digital camera, how to use them, how to upload photos, and basic photo editing. Workflow, backing up your photos and other best practices are also covered
  • Teaching Intermediate to Advanced Digital Photography in Summer Art Classes. Topics include macro photography, portraits, flash and studio lighting, wildlife, landscape and sport photography
  • Digital SLR Photography for beginners and intermediate students
  • Teach day long photography workshops for beginners and intermediate students
  • Lectured on portrait photography techniques as part of the Annie Leibovitz: Women exhibition at the Polk Museum of Art
  • The Art of Framing & Hanging
  • Setting up a home photography studio
  • Studio lighting
  • Spoke to Polk County art teachers on photographing artwork (2014 - 2015)
  • Spoke to the Lakeland Art Guild on photographing artwork (2016)
  • Taught workshop on photography for public relations professional (2016)

Photography Teacher (2011 - 2012)
Lake Wales Public Library in Lake Wales, Florida

  • Taught day long Saturday photography workshops for beginners and intermediate students
  • Point & Shoot Photography
  • Intro to DSRL Photography

Photographer (2001 - Present)

Freelance

  • Photographed wounded veterans as a personal project 
  • Commissioned to take photographs of an artwork by Loren Tilden for The Artist's Magazine (2010)
  • Photographed sculptures, two dimensional artwork and exhibits for numerous catalogs, brochures and publications
  • Commissioned to take fine art photographs for presentations and awards
  • Photographed events for First United Methodist Church, Lakeland, Florida 
  • Fine art photographer specializing in cityscape and night photography
  • Portraits including engagement, birthday and special occasion photographs
  • Studio portraits on location such as wedding receptions and birthday parties

Preparator (1992)
Catherine Smith Gallery at Appalachian State University, Boone, North Carolina

  • Responsible for the installation and deinstallation of all exhibits
  • Oversaw the installation of the Rosen Outdoor Sculpture Competition at Appalachian State University

Sculpture Studio Supervisor (1991 - 1992)
Art Department, Appalachian State University in Boone, North Carolina

  • First Undergraduate at Appalachian State University to receive an instructional assistantship to supervise other students in the sculpture studio
  • Responsible for enforcing all safety protocols, including OSHA regulations
  • Responsible for all upkeep and maintenance of sculpture studio equipment
  • Assisted art students and professors in technical aspects of fabrication, equipment use
  • Helped sculpture professors prepare demonstrations and lectures

Lectures and Teaching Experience

Numerous lectures, hands on classes, workshops and presentations given to schools, colleges, antique clubs and churches

  • Beginning to Intermediate Digital Photography
  • Event Photography for Public Relations Professionals
  • Photographing Artwork for Publication
  • Intermediate DSLR Photography
  • Intermediate to Advanced Digital Photography
  • The Art of Framing & Hanging
  • Portrait Photography
  • Point & Shoot Photography
  • Introduction to DSLR Cameras
  • Using Computers and the Internet
  • Sculpture
  • Caring for Art & Antiques
  • The Artwork of Gregory Mills
  • Faux Finish Painting Techniques
  • Art and Chemistry
  • Color Theory
  • Life as an Artist's Apprentice
  • Careers in Art
  • Adult Sunday school leader
  • Point of View Gallery Talk on Photographer Carlton Ward at Polk Museum of Art

Education

Apprentice to Sculptor John Henry (1993 - 1996)
Parkers Lake, Kentucky and Miami, Florida

  • Fabricated, transported and installed Henry's sculptures from miniature to monumental scale
  • Fabricated numerous editions of Henry's sculptures
  • Assisted with the patination of Henry's bronzes and preparing the aluminum pieces for automotive paint finishes
  • Repaired and refinished Henry's sculptures as well as for other artists
  • Assisted with the day-to-day running and upkeep of the studios in both Miami and Kentucky
  • Built and assisted with running Henry's Gallery in Miami, T.Curtsnoc Fine Arts
  • Constructed additions and made improvements to both studios
  • Photographed Henry's sculptures for publication
  • Fabricated the award trophies for the National Foundation for the Advancement of the Arts

Bachelor of Fine Arts (1987 - 1993)
Appalachian State University in Boone, North Carolina

  • Major in Studio Arts with a concentration in Sculpture. Areas of study included carving, casting, modeling and construction
  • Minor in Industrial Technology. Areas of study included wood technology, industrial metals, industrial plastics and drafting
  • Secondary concentrations in painting and printmaking
  • Additional course study included performance art, photography, fibers, jewelry making and art history
  • Very involved with the Tri-State Sculptors Guild
  • Enrolled in Watauga College Interdisciplinary Studies Program within Appalachian State University from 1987 to 1990

Academic Awards

  • The first Undergraduate at Appalachian State University to receive an Instructional Assistantship (1992)
  • Dean's List
  • Scholarship from RJ Reynolds Tobacco Company (1987)
  • 1st Place in the North Carolina High School Art Competition (1987)

    Continuing Education

    MABE Lunch & Learn - Audio and Sound 101 (June 23, 2017)

    • Compression techniques
    • Proper gating
    • Good EQ practices 
    • Ringing out monitors
    • Microphone polar patterns

     

    Lynda.com (2012 - Present)

    • Lightroom & Lightroom Mobile: Raw Workflows with Ben Long
    • OneNote Essential Training with David Rivers
    • Learning Instagram with Garrick Chow
    • Premiere Pro CC 2015 Essential Training with Ashley Kennedy
    • Pinterest for Business with Cynthia Sanchez
    • Premiere Pro CS6 Essential Training with Abba Shapiro
    • Learning LastPass Password Management with Suzanne Kaye
    • Nikon D800 Essential Training with Ben Long
    • Windows 8 Essential Training with David Rivers

     

    Medical Prep 101 & 201 (December 12 & 13, 2014)

    • Two day medical crash course on dealing with medical emergencies when help is not available such as after a natural disaster or when on wilderness excursions
    • Topics included:
      • Physical Assessments
      • Taking blood pressure
      • Post-mortem care
      • Drug calculation
      • Austere rehydration
      • Camp design and human waste management
      • Women's health
      • STD's
      • Child birth

     

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    IT PRO TV certification courses (2014 - present)

    • Strata IT Fundamentals classes for CompTIA exam FC0-U41
    • A+ Certification classes for CompTIA exams 220-801 and 220-802
    • Topic covered include classes on:
      • PC Hardware
      • Networking
      • Laptops
      • Printers
      • Operational Procedures
      • Operating systems
      • Security
      • Mobile Devices
      • Trouble Shooting

     

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    Mentor Series Ultimate Photo Adventure: Montana/Yellowstone National Park (2012)

    • 4 Day photo trek/workshop in Montana and Yellowstone National Park
    • Mentors were Dave Black (Newsweek, Sports Illustrated), Bob Smith (National Geographic Conservation Society) and David Tejada (NikonNet, Fortune Magazine)
    • Topics covered included: wildlife photography, landscape photography, portraits using speedlights and light painting

     

    creativeLIVE Online Courses (2010 - 2014)

    • Studio Photography with Zack Arias
    • Wedding Photography with Jasmine Star
    • Children's Portrait Photography with Tamara Lackey
    • Experimental Portraiture with Jeremy Cowart
    • Posing and Lighting with Bambi Cantrell
    • Foundations of a Working Photographer with Zack Arias
    • Nikon D7000 - DSLR Fast Start
    • Street Photography with Lighten Up and Shoot
    • Anatomy of a Photoshoot with Mark Wallace
    • Exploring the Light with Rick Sammon
    • Beauty and Fashion Photography with Matthew Jordan Smith
    • Setting Up a Home Studio with John Cornicello
    • Wedding Photography Weekend with Zach and Jody Gray
    • The Boudoir Workshop with Christa Meola
    • Photoshop CS5 Intensive with Lesa Snider
    • Glamour Photography with Sue Bryce
    • Posing Masterclass with Bambi Cantrell
    • Lightroom 4 Fundamentals with Laura Shoe
    • Lighting Essentials Workshop with Don Giannatti
    • Fundamentals of Digital Photography 2012 with John Greengo
    • Post Wedding Workflow with Zack and Jody
    • Getting Published. Shooting an Editorial Weddingwith Jasmine Star
    • Speedlights 101 with Mark Wallace
    • Fashion Flair for Portraits and Wedding Photographers
    • Using Wacom Tablets
    • Nikon D800 - DSLR Fast Start
    • The Ultimate Lightroom Workflow with Jared Platt
    • Tabletop Product Photography with Don Giannatti
    • Photo + Video Fusion with Vanessa Joy and Rob Adams
    • Pets and People Photography with Vicki Taufer
    • Skin. The Complete Course with Lee Varis
    • Photoshop for Photographers with Ben Willmore
    • Light Painting with Ben Willmore
    • Modeling 101 wityh Yanna House
    • Working with Models with Matthew Jordan Smith
    • Workflow + Album Design with Khara Plicanic
    • Photoshop Deep Dive: Selections with Lesa Snider
    • Photoshop Deep Dive: Adjustment Layers with Lesa Snider
    • Lightweight Location Lighting with Kevin Kubota
    • Photoshop Deep Dive: Bridge with Lesa Snider
    • Photoshop Deep Dive: Blend Modes with Lesa Snider
    • Wedding Cinematography with Rob Adams and Vanessa Joy
    • Efficient Lighting & Post-Production with Jared Platt
    • Color Management with Eddi Trapp
    • YouTube Marketing
    • HDSLR Cinema with Vincent Laforet
    • HDSLR: Moving From Still to Video with Vincent Laforet
    • The Art of Filmmaking and Editing with Jeff Medford and Ross Hockrow
    • Graphic Design for Everyone with Lesa Snider
    • Lightroom Video Enhancing Secrets and Photoshop Integration with Jack Davis
    • 101 Solutions to Common Photography Problems with Roberto Valenzuela
    • Illustrator for Beginners with Erica Gamet
    • After Effects for Beginners with Jeff Foster
    • Creative Studio Lighting with Lindsay Adler
    • Thinking Outside the Box with Joel Grimes
    • Revitalize Your Workflow with Lightroom 5 with Julieanne Kost
    • Speedlight Basics with Mike Fulton
    • Creative Wow: Infrared Photography with Jack Davis

     

    Traviss Technical Center in Lakeland, Florida (1999 - 2000, 2003)

    • Electricity I
    • Electricity II (National Electric Code)
    • Industrial Motor Control
    • Architectural Drafting with AutoCAD
    • Network Support Services

     

    Chicora Foundation Conservation Workshops (1996 - 1999)

    • Housekeeping for Museums
    • Conservation of Works on Paper and Works on Canvas
    • Integrated Pest Management for Museums
    • Disaster Preparedness for Museums

     

    Larson Juhl in Atlanta, Georgia (1998)

    • Professional Picture Framing Course

     

    Asheville Buncombe Technical College in Asheville, NC (1989)

    • Cabinetmaking (20 hours per week for 1 semester)

    Security Training

    Private Firearm Lessons
    High Point Personal Security Training with Jim Clark (2014)

    • 20 hours of one-on-one firearms training with both pistol and shotgun
    • CCW
    • More information on the instruction is HERE

     

    Fighting Pistol
    Tactical Response (2015)

    • 2 day class to teach you to survive a gunfight and protect yourself and others with a firearm
    • More information on the class is HERE

      Awards, Commissions, Publications and Exhibitions

      • The Up Side of Down Town Visitor's Guide cover inset photo, published by Lakeland Downtown Development Authority (March 2017 - August 2017) Note: photo was used to promote as Red, White & Kaboom! but is actually from Mayfaire Saturday Night 
      • Art-I-facts Magazine Fall Season Preview 2016, Volume 18, Number 5, page 24. Photo of Ruben Ubiera painting a mural at Polk Museum of Art
      • Cover of Lakeland Visitor's Guide the Upside of Downtown (May - August, 2016)
      • Two photo in OnView Magazine, April/June 2016 page 119 (2016)
      • Commissioned to design a build a cross for the new administration building at First United Methodist Church in Lakeland, Florida (2015)
      • Photo in September/October 2014 issue of Museum Magazine, an American Alliance of Museum's publication, on page 24 of a father helping his son make a skateboard in an article about Innoskate.
      • Many of my Lakeland photos were used to decorate an Applebee's restaurant at 230 Arteva Dr, Lakeland, FL 33809 (2014) 
      • Front cover and listed as a Contributing Photographer for the Lakeland Chamber of Commerce 2014 Guide to Lakeland.
      • Commissioned to design a build a cross for the new education building at First United Methodist Church in Lakeland, Florida (2014)
      • Lead photo and table of contents photo in "Show Shots" of the August issue of Sunshine Artist 2014 200 Best (2014)
      • Hometown Heroes 4 person exhibit at Gallery 2125 in Lakeland, Florida March 21st - June 2014. The exhibited paid tribute to the men and women in the military and public services along with their families. I exhibited 7 of my Wounded Warrior series of photos.
      • Full spread front and back cover photo on Art-i-facts Magazine, Volume 16, Number 3, April-July 2014 along with four photos of Mayfaire by-the-Lake on page 9
      • Fine art photograph of Lake Morton published in Gross Point Magazine (Michigan), page 26, February-March, 2013 Issue
      • Cover photo of Art-i-facts Magazine, Volume 15, Number 3, Spring-Summer 2013 along with three photos of Mayfaire by-the-Lake on page 9. One photo on page 13 of Polk Museum of Art's Summer Art Camp and three photos of the Florida Outdoor Sculpture Competition on page 23
      • Commissioned to design a cross for the chapel at First United Methodist Church or Orlando, Florida (2012)
      • Cover photo on Art-i-facts Magazine, Volume 14, Number 3, Summer 2012. Photos of the Florida Outdoor Sculpture Competition on page 8 and 17. Photo of Mayfaire by-the-Lake on page 18
      • Commissioned to create a fine art photograph of part of downtown Lakeland that included a sculpture by Bill King. Photography was then presented to both Mr. King and to the University of Florida, Gainesville when he received an honorary doctorate (2011)
      • Commissioned by the Florida United Methodist Foundation to design and fabricate a cross used as a retirement gift (2008)
      • Commissioned by the estate of Fonchen Lord to evaluate, repair, relocate and rehang her sculptures on the Polk Community College, Winter Haven campus as well as at Florida Southern College in Lakeland, Florida
      • Commissioned to design and fabricate a sculpture that is a functioning garden gate for a private collector in Winter Haven, Florida (2006)
      • Won a competition to design and build a sculpture for College Heights Park in Lakeland, Florida (2005)
      • Featured artist in Today and Tonight Magazine (2004)
      • Platform Florida exhibiting artist (2004)
      • Four person exhibit at Arts on the Park in Lakeland, Florida (2002)
      • Commissioned to design and build an outdoor sculpture for an Orthodontist's office in Lakeland, Florida (2001)
      • Commissioned to design and build several crosses for a private collector in Lakeland, Florida (2000)
      • Commissioned to design and build a cross for Christ United Methodist Church in Lakeland, Florida (2000)
      • Listed in Who's Who of Business Professionals
      • Two person exhibit at Polk Community College in Winter Haven, Florida (1999)
      • Commissioned to design and build an altar and cross for the fellowship center at First United Methodist Church in Lakeland, Florida (1999)
      • Designed the communion set used in the Contemporary Worship Service for First United Methodist Church in Lakeland, Florida (1999)
      • 4 Young Sculptors, an exhibit in Hot Springs, Arkansas (1995)
      • Senior Show at Appalachian State University's Catherine Smith Gallery in Boone, North Carolina (1993)
      • Designed the stain glass window cross for Stokesdale United Methodist Church in Stokesdale, North Carolina (1987)

      Interests and Endeavors

      • Fixing up my new home and yard
      • Home automation - Almost every light in my house can be turned on and off with my voice commands through one my my Amazon Echos
      • Enjoy listning to audio books, especially books by Vince Flynn and Brad Thor
      • PC Gamer (Fallout and The Elder Scrolls franchises and anything produce by Bethesda Game Studios are my favorites)
      • Avid viewer/listener of technology podcast including:
      • Certified in CompTIA Strata IT Fundamentals and currently studying for CompTIA A+ and Net+ Certifications
      • Member of InfraGard, a partnership between the FBI and the private sector to protect our national infrastructure
      • Went to Yellowstone and the Grand Tetons for 10 days by myself to take photos (2012)
      • Certified in CPR, AED and First Aid
      • Former licensed journeyman electrician which I did for fun
      • Proud owner of a Shih-Tzu named Paisley
      • Won Best Handler at Imperial Polk Obedience Club dog training (1998)
      • My previous dog, Munster, played Toto in Theatre Winter Haven's production of The Wizard of Oz staring Lindsey Alley (1998)