condensed and edited by Mary Architzel Westbrook
LINDA MCGREEVY AND HER HUSBAND, TIM COOPER, ARE EXECUTIVE OFFICERS OF THE NARO EXPANDED VIDEO ARCHIVAL LIBRARY, FORMERLY NARO EXPANDED VIDEO. SHE IS A PROFESSOR EMERITA IN ODU’S ART HISTORY DEPARTMENT, AND IS AT WORK ON A BIOGRAPHY OF KÄTHE KOLLWITZ, THE GERMAN PRINTMAKER AND SCULPTOR.
I grew up mostly in Savannah, an Army brat. After college, I worked as a newspaper ad artist, but that drove me nuts. Two deadlines a day, drinking after lunch. I thought, “If I keep this up, I’ll be a drunk.”
I went to the University of Georgia and earned my Ph.D. in art history. It was the early ’70s, and it was important to my generation of art historians – and to me – to bring women artists into focus. We’d been ignored.
I met Tim in 1978. I was teaching at ODU. He was working for his father and living in a communal house in Colonial Place. We liked the same artists, the same films; sometimes, we say we’ve lived half our lives in the dark.
We got married in 1988 and bought the Naro in 1996. The previous owner took all of the movies with him, so we started out with only the sign and shelving and our own personal collection of about 3,000 movies. We bought and bought. Now we have more than 43,000 titles. We’re the only video store of this size left on the East Coast.
For years, our revenue had been going down. We couldn’t cover expenses. One of my graduate students eventually asked, “Why don’t you become a nonprofit?” It was a reasonable suggestion – we’d basically been one for years. Some wonderful young people worked on a Kickstartercampaign this summer and fall. People also came into the store to drop off donations. By the second day, we reached our goal, $25,000. We extended the campaign.
I’m so glad the store is here and surviving. Dogs are in there and everybody’s talking to everybody. It’s a community experience. That’s why people come to cities. They want to meet people. They want experiences. You can’t get that from streaming. People still love the store.