Baristanet Profile: Deborah Guzmán Meyer

Name: Deborah Guzmán Meyer

Where do you live? Montclair

When did you move there? 2009

Where did you grow up?

Although I was born in New York, my parents — both immigrants — decided to move back to the Dominican Republic when I was five years old. I grew up speaking Spanish and returned to the United States at age 15, speaking very little English. We lived in Inwood for a year and then moved to Yonkers, N.Y. where I finished high school. I never ever thought I would live in New Jersey.

How do you make a living? OR What is your everyday passion?

I am an artist and educator. Art is a way to communicate without words, and I naturally gravitated to it. As an educator, I am hyper-aware of how art can bridge the gap when all else fails. All people need art, but especially young people who don’t yet have the words to express their emotions. I truly enjoy being able to spark the bug of creativity in students. I’m a freshly minted certified art teacher and will be teaching art at Bloomfield H.S. this Fall. I also teach art at the Montclair Art Museum. Check out my website here.

Coffee, tea or … ? Always coffee! In the Dominican Republic, I grew up drinking “cafe con leche” which is more milk than coffee, every morning before school. I cannot start my day without it.

What’s your idea of a perfect weekend day? A perfect weekend day is one when there are no obligations. The day will unfold as it will, without the stress of schedules and events. Bonus, I have an art project to immerse myself in all day long.

What’s your favorite local restaurant? There are so many good ones, how to pick just one. For breakfast, we like Marcel Bakery. For lunch, Jackie’s Grillette. For a dinner date with the hubby, De Novo European Pub.

What’s on your nightstand? A coaster for my coffee or water. My kindle with a word game and whatever book I’m reading now. The latest New Yorkermagazine.

What are you listening to? I go through phases with music but I mostly listen to indie/ alternative rock and Latin music. I have a playlist I created called “Joan of Arc” and it’s all women artists, from Lana Del Rey, Bjork, to Shakira.

What are your current indulgences? Ice cream and words with friends.

What talent you would most like to have? I would love to be able to play an instrument very well, but I never learned. I’m teaching myself to play the ukelele, but my teacher could be doing a better job.

What’s the worst-kept (or best-kept!) secret about Montclair? The best-kept secret are the town pools. Underutilized, which is fine by me because they are never crowded and pleasant to take a dip in. I hope they will open this summer.

What do you hope they say about you at your funeral?

I hope it is said that I tried to be a good daughter and mother, sister, friend, wife, and human. Sometimes I was successful, sometimes I was not. I hope it is said that there was no art form that I was afraid to try and that art is why I got up in the morning, every day. Then I want everyone to watch a slide show of every single thing I made. Ha!


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