What's In Your Office?

Posted by: Elizabeth Applebaum on Thursday, January 12, 2017

Welcome to the office of Elaine (Hendriks) Smith, director of The Berman Center for the Performing Arts. Elaine’s office is fun and organized, filled with surprises. Come in and take a look!

  • Elaine organizes everything in Ink and Volt notebooks with bright tabs to mark off the months, Elaine’s whimsical drawings and goals for the new year.
  • A huge fan of Superhero movies, Elaine has a pop-vinyl doll of Baby Groot (aka Vin Diesel) from "Guardians of the Galaxy" on her desk. She got it from her niece, and "it makes me laugh all day long."
  • Shelves are filled with photos of Elaine’s mother and sisters, husband ("The cutest man on Earth") and her daughter. There’s a flag left by a group that rented the theatre; it’s up high and will never touch the ground, a lesson Elaine learned from her late grandfather, who served with the 42nd Rainbow Division during WWII and helped liberate Dachau.
  • Atop her desk is a tiny "I heart NY" cup. "Why? I have no idea. But every time I go to New York I bring back something" with the logo, she says. (Some items from her collection: a keychain, an umbrella, pj bottoms and gloves.)
  • There is one large brick from the Bonstelle Theatre at Wayne State University, "where I learned to do theatre"; a tacky red purse lamp from her colleague Eric Maher, The Berman’s technical director, who said, "I have a present for you, and it's gross"; the collected works of Shakespeare; and a mug filled with binder clips from her days working as stage manager for Second City.
  • A bulletin board and walls include a picture of Elaine and LLCoolJ (she once managed his tour); gifts from children who were in her theatre camp; photos from Elaine’s trip to Israel; contracts, plans and designs for The Berman’s upcoming performance of "Hairspray"; and a colorful frame made by a woman in Africa, who receives all profits from the sale (which likely will be enough to feed her family for weeks).

And that’s just the beginning.

Elaine’s daughter, Erin, once presented her with a tiny, framed picture of a butterfly drawing and the word "Believe." Erin gave it to her mom when Elaine was having a tough time.

"I surround myself with things that are important in my life," Elaine says. Then when there’s a bump in the day, she just has to do is look around at photos of her family, of the Baby Groot, of the butterfly, and all those tough moments just vanish.


Elaine (Hendriks) Smith on April 27, 2017 at 8:22:04 pm said:
Thank you for spending the time with me, Elizabeth. It was fun!
Pete Sheehan on March 14, 2017 at 10:11:35 pm said:
What a charming thumb nail sketch. A conventional interview might not have been able to capture the flavor with such flair.
guest on March 14, 2017 at 7:28:30 pm said:
So cute and interesting to see! Great idea to show what people have in their offices!
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