Innovating Through Artistry

Archive for April, 2008|Monthly archive page

Character Matters

In Entrepreneurial Tool Box, The Idea, WEBSITES & BLOGS on April 29, 2008 at 7:50 pm

Yes, your character does matter but what about the characters you create? Do they matter? Do you know how to create continuous cash flow from your art, illustrations, designs and characters?

In 2006 the licensing business netted more than $180 billion dollars in retail sales. Turning your art, illustrations, designs or characters into a branded image allows you to be able to become recognized as an artist through many different kinds of promotional marketing tools. There are few rules with regards to where your images can appear and you have control over which kinds of items or markets you pursue to have your artwork promoted in or through.

Jeanette Smith, Sr. Vice President of Character Matters, with more than twenty years of experiencing in the licensing industry is someone you need to know. Character Matters has been building character for for a long time with over 100 years of combined experience creating, developing, and licensing recognizable characters, as well as inventing new products and product lines.

Besides, branding and promotional marketing through characters, designs or illustrations provides extraordinary tools for connecting emotionally with your audience. Can you think of a better way to connect with potential buyers of your work while simultaneously creating a continuous flow of cash from your art?

Jeanette Smith is responsible for building the Dilbert brand from its infancy into a global corporate icon. Every idea, image, illustration, design and piece of art starts somewhere. What can you do with yours through licensing?

About Character Matters
Our characters represent a wide range of types and styles – from real people to illustrations to animation.

Character Matters offers:

Character Development
Original concept and creation
Development of your character idea
Renovation of an existing or dormant character
Strategic marketing development services
Retail displays concepts
Product development
Intellectual property development
Promotions & events
Editorial & design treatments

I met Jeanette Smith at the SEA ( Self Employment in the Arts) conference back in March. She is not only very passionate about her work but excellent at what she does. You can reach her at to find out more about her services.

Orchestrating Collaboration at Work

In Entrepreneurial Tool Box, The Idea, WEBSITES & BLOGS on April 29, 2008 at 1:17 am

If your passion, like mine, is working at the intersection between art and business then this book is for you!

Orchestrating Collaboration at Work, by Arthur B. VanGundy and Linda Naiman, offers seventy activities for those who want to use the arts to create transformative learning experiences in organizations.

Using painting, poetry, storytelling, music, sculpting and improvisational theater as the basis for the activity,each offers skill development in creativity, communication, teamwork, innovative and collaborative leadership. “You can use them as quick icebreakers or brainjuicers at meetings or training sessions, and as a means of mediating dialogue to stimulate employee engagement. These activities act as catalysts for conversations that really matter and provide an antidote to information overload” says Linda Naiman.

To provide a context and a rationale for using the arts in business, you will also find insights, observations, and advice derived from interviews with leading researchers, educators, change agents, artists and practitioners, including: business author Margaret Wheatley, poet David Whyte, actor Richard Olivier, and John Seely Brown, former chief scientist at Xerox PARC.

About Linda Naiman
Linda Naiman, founder of Creativity at Work, is recognised internationally for pioneering arts-based learning as a catalyst for developing creativity, innovation, and collaborative leadership in organizations. Working at the intersection of business, art and science, she helps organizations generate breakthroughs in business performance, through coaching, training and consulting.

Linda began her career as a design consultant in marketing communications, leading multi-disciplinary teams on projects ranging from annual reports, to marketing the launch of shopping centres; winning numerous industry awards in graphic design and illustration. Her art is marketed by, New York and Casa Art Gallery, Vancouver. Linda’s background in art and design led her to explore artistic processes and their applications to leadership and transformation.

Linda’s writings on creativity and innovation have appeared in numerous business journals including Perspectives on Business and Global Change, published by the World Business Academy.

Linda’s work has been documented in several books: Artbased Approaches:* A Practical Handbook to Creativity at Work (Chemi 2006), Wake Me Up When the Data Is Over: How Organizations Use Stories to Drive Results (Silverman 2006), and Artful Creation: Learning Tales of Arts-in-Business (Darsø 2004). Her work has also been featured in The Vancouver Sun, The Globe and Mail, and on TU Danmark TV. Interviews by the media include Canadian Business Magazine, CMO,, CBC Radio, and National Public Radio.

Linda is an associate business coach at the University of British Columbia, and an adjunct faculty member of the Banff Centre Leadership Lab. As a speaker and workshop leader, Linda has presented at business conferences in Canada, the US, Argentina and in Europe.

Arthur B. VanGundy Ph.D., has designed or facilitated brainstorming retreats for over 20 years for clients such as: Air Canada, Hershey Foods, Kraft Foods, Monsanto, Quaker Oats, S.C. Johnson Wax, the Singapore government, and Sunbeam. He is considered a pioneer on idea generation techniques and has written eleven books including: Techniques of Structured Problem Solving, Idea Power, and Brain Boosters for Business Advantage. He wrote the creativity training program for the American Management Association and the creativity chapter for The American Marketing Association’s Marketing Encyclopedia.

About Arthur B. VanGundy
Arthur B. VanGundy is Professor of Communication at the University of Oklahoma and President of VanGundy & Associates, a creativity and innovation consulting firm. He has over 23 years experience in higher education and idea generation training and facilitation. His academic degrees are from Ohio Wesleyan University (B.A.), Miami University—Ohio (M.S.), and The Ohio State University (Ph.D.).

VanGundy has developed three idea generation aids: The Product Improvement CheckList (PICL), the Circles of Creativity (1985), IdeaPro idea generation software (in progress), and wrote the creativity training program for the American Management Association.

His books have been cited over 100 times in such journals as

Management Science,
Decision Sciences,
Academy of Management Journal,
The Journal of Product Innovation Management,
Journal of Advertising Research,
Psychology Today

Transforming Careers through Intellectual Entrepreneurship

In Entrepreneurial Tool Box, Interesting Articles, The Idea on April 26, 2008 at 9:11 pm

“The primary mission of IE ( Intellectual Entrepreneurship) is to educate students to be citizen-scholars—individuals who creatively use their intellectual capital as a lever for social good.”
—Dr. Richard Cherwitz, IE Consortium founder, University of Texas-Austin

While the following link to this interesting article is a long read, and while at first you might wonder how does this apply to the arts, read it because it completely does. The work of Rick Cherwitz at University of Texas- Austin is ground breaking and applicable regardless of if you are currently in school or have long graduated.
Exploring All the Options: With help of mentors, students find new paths

Human biology major Justin Jefferson snaps on a pair of bright blue rubber gloves as he prepares to give an informal tour to a recent visitor at a University of Texas at Austin animal behavior research laboratory. The 20-year-old sophomore moves with ease from room to room—one minute inspecting small vials of bloodless brain tissue pulled from a freezer, and the next stroking a large, white rat in his hands—all the while explaining how he helps graduate students and faculty with their research at least 12 hours a week.

“We do many things in our lab, but our main goal is to look at gene expression in rats, and study reproduction and puberty of the rats, mainly at the molecular level,” says Jefferson, who an hour earlier was carefully measuring cellular and molecular changes in brain samples at another lab across campus.

As part of a research study on reproduction in rats, human biology major Justin Jefferson (right) collects cells for graduate student Deena Walker to observe under the microscope at an animal behavior research laboratory on campus. Walker was Jefferson’s mentor last fall when he was enrolled in the IE Pre-Graduate School Internship Program. Photo: Christina Murrey.

Anyone who talks to this confident, young scientist would find it hard to believe that he went to a high school that offered few science classes, or that he felt overwhelmed by his first year at college…

The Journey of Selling a Book

In ENTREPRENEUR THE ARTS, Entrepreneurial Tool Box, The Idea, Writing on April 23, 2008 at 12:09 am

As many of you know, from reading my blog, I have climbed several tall mountains and swam the distance between two continents writing, developing, editing and securing an agent for my book. And yet, I still must do more to demonstrate to six remaining publishers that my book Build a Blue Bike: Ride Your Artistic Blues to Creative and Financial Freedom, is one they MUST decide to BUY and publish.

For those of you who are little unclear about the publishing process, let me remind you: If you wish to publish a book you write, you can seek out small publishers directly to see if they are interested, or of course, you can simply decide to self publish. However, if you wish to land a household name big publishing house to pick up your work, who has the marketing muscle and distribution savvy to get your book into Borders (never mind that they might file for bankruptcy for the moment), then you must be represented by an agent. Only agents can talk to household name publishers, which means you have to be one of the roughly 3% of book proposal submissions they accept to represent.

I have managed to jump through that hoop, and I have a great agent, Susan Schulman. I know she will do a fine job selling my book once our economy perks back up. It might as well require a new president who values the arts, one with democratic stripes, to get it sold. So in the meantime, I have been working hard to add a new leg or arm to my strategy to continue to strengthen my possibilities of getting my work finally published.

My newest strategy has been to take an online marketing course by Peggy McColl and Randy Gilbert. These two individuals are considered to be the gurus of online marketing and are wildly successful at it both with their own books and with helping others. Of course, my purpose in taking this class is to build my knowledge of how to get my book to sell well through various distribution channels I can develop once it is published. However, since it has not been sold yet, and therefore is not yet in print, I have been working hard trying to come up with a strategy to be able to use what I am learning from this class now.

With the blessings of Susan Schulman, my agent, I am in the process of creating an E-Book, which will be called Starving Artist Not!: Changing History One Artist at A Time. This E-Book will be a resource guide of artistic entrepreneurs across the country that offer classes, workshops, mentoring programs or any other artist entrepreneurial service for sale. This resource guide will allow those of you interested in arts entrepreneurship, but not sure who to turn to or where to start, to have a deep resource filled with ideas, contacts and useful information.

I am currently in the process of building it and welcome comments, as well as the names of any artists you know that I should include!

There are days I wake up and wonder if all of this work is worth it.

But that thought rarely lasts more then a moment, because I know my journey is worth the tough climb. I know I am and will continue to make a difference with the vision I have to teach artists to become more entrepreneurial and resourceful.

I am just grateful that pursuing your passions, like falling in love, offers us blindness or a kind of naiveté to problems or difficulties we will surely encounter, and that under any other circumstance we would likely see. This offers each one of us a form of self protection- an insulation from reality that we need to act in the first place.

But when you really love something or someone you will climb every mountain and swim every ocean needed to make it work if your feelings are real– no matter how hard it is or how much work it takes.

So which ocean shall I swim and which mountain next must I climb?

The Role of the Arts in Community Development

In Entrepreneurial Tool Box, Interesting Articles, The Idea, WEBSITES & BLOGS on April 20, 2008 at 8:54 pm

Americans for the Arts, the nation’s leading 45 year old nonprofit organization for advancing the arts in America, has an established Institute for Community Development and the Arts. This Institute provides a research-based understanding of how the arts are being used to address social, educational, and economic development issues in communities across the country.

If you are thinking about what kind of business you can create, this kind of research might be very helpful for you to read.

Areas of research and publication have included at-risk youth, artist training, economic development, arts and civic dialogue, public housing, cultural tourism, and program planning and evaluation. You can click on any of the reports below to read them.


Arts Programs for At-Risk Youth: How U.S. Communities are Using the Arts to Rescue Their Youth and Deter Crime

Building Creative Economies: The Arts, Entrepreneurship, and Sustainable Development

Cultural Development in Creative Communities

Cultural Tourism: Bridging America Through Partnerships in Arts, Tourism and Economic Development

The Arts in Times of Trauma

The Arts, Religion, and Common Ground

Just Another Reason to Entrepreneur The Arts

In Interesting Articles, WEBSITES & BLOGS on April 20, 2008 at 8:24 pm

On April 1st, 2008, Americans for the Arts released a report called Creative Industries 2008. This report presents a detailed analysis of arts-related businesses, institutions, and organizations in the country’s 50 most-populated cities. The study reveals that arts-centric businesses represent 4.3 percent of all businesses and 2.2 percent of all jobs in the United States and that the arts are a robust and formidable economic growth sector.

The entire Creative Industries 2008: The 50 City Report, as well as additional reports on states and U.S. Congressional Districts, are available online at:

What do you see?

In Creative Support, Emotional Intelligence, Entrepreneurial Tool Box, The Idea, WEBSITES & BLOGS on April 18, 2008 at 7:55 pm

While attending the AIE conference last week I went to this great presentation given by John Cimino from an organization called Creative Leaps. John is an opera singer and works to integrate the arts into the classroom and the boardroom.

Here is a little bit from a presentation he gave that I thought was really fascinating. This part of the presentations focused on a few ways to change ones realities using artistry to increase creativity, discovery and learning:

It is not logic which guides discovery and artful creativity, but perception and imaginative insight.

Now, imagine learning as personal discovery. (Vico)

What can you learn about yourself from The Sun Sets Sail by Rob Gonsalves?

“All our knowledge has its origins in our perception.“ Leonardo Da Vinci
How do your perceptions about this image change what you know?

This simple two dimensional picture of a three dimensional object does not always give enough information to distinguish the front from the back faces. Therefore, the eye will pick one side as being the front and transform the image into a “projected” three-dimensional object allowing us to alter our view of this simple image.

One purpose of art is to alter the quality of our attentiveness — to enhance, refresh and sharpen our perceptions.
What details in this next image enhance, refreshen and sharpen your perceptions?


The reality of this simply line drawing by Alizz is that it is nothing more then a number of straight and curved lines.

And yet, instead, we all see something different based on how we perceive it.

For me I see the back of a woman with flowing hair and a flowing skirt and a pretty bow in her hair. This has a lot more meaning, and evokes my imagination. Because I choose to see it this way, my reality has changed into something that I can discover and learn from instead of seeing it as a bunch of straight and curved lines.

The arts inhabit and thrive at this cusp of perception and meaning-making, flexing both in favor of creativity, discovery and learning.

While it is strikingly simple to understand this, it is truly profound when you begin to consider what you can do with your artistry to enhance others creativity, discovery and learning with any subject matter that interests you.

I really enjoyed meeting John and find his work and ideas exciting.

About Creative Leaps
We are learning specialists, performing artists, scientists and renewal partners working in the corporate and educational arenas. Our clients are leading Fortune 500 companies, centers for leadership and professional development (including the Center for Creative Leadership), research institutions, Federal agencies, colleges and universities, and centers for teacher training and renewal. Major corporations including General Electric, IBM and Fannie Mae as well as top government agencies from the White House to the Social Security Administration have recruited Creative Leaps International for keynote presentations and professional learning initiatives aimed at catalyzing executive thinking, renewal and change.

If you are an artist are you naturally a leader?

In Emotional Intelligence, Entrepreneurial Tool Box, Leadership on April 16, 2008 at 7:10 am

This quiz was developed by John Cimino, Creative Leaps Intl

Take this little quiz and find out:

Here is a list that Eliot Eisner from Stanford University developed on how the mind processes art:
1.Qualitative relationships in the absence of rules
2.Acting flexibly with purpose to approach a goal
3.Learning to explore possibilities within a medium
4.Using imagination to see multiple perspectives
5.Learning to pay attention to nuance
6.Surrendering to processes rather than leading
7.Learning to use language figuratively
8.Creating emotionally what cannot be expressed literally
9.The qualitative features of the arts and the world

Now here is a list created by The Center for Creative Leadership on the Creative Competencies of Leadership:

1.Noticing – slowing down, taking in more
2.Subtle representation – eye for detail & relationship
3.Fluid perspective – attuned to multiple points of view
4.Using R-mode – non-verbal, intuitive processing
5.Personalizing work – arts interests spill into work
6.Skeptical inquiry – preserving the questions
7.Serious play – learning and exploring without rules
8.Portraying paradoxes, conflicts, unknown – mystery
9.Facility with metaphor – generative thinking
10.Making shared meanings – engaging creative tension

How many, if any, from each list are a mirror image of the other? How many, if any, match?

Ok– Think you have it figured out? Here are the answers:

The Minds Processing of Art
1.Qualitative relationships in the absence of rules
2.Acting flexibly with purpose to approach a goal

matches Creative Competencies
7.Serious play – learning and exploring without rules

The Minds Processing of Art
4.Using imagination to see multiple perspectives
matches Creative Competencies
3.Fluid perspective – attuned to multiple points of view

The Minds Processing of Art
5.Learning to pay attention to nuance
matches Creative Competencies
1.Noticing – slowing down, taking in more

The Minds Processing of Art
7.Learning to use language figuratively
matches Creative Competencies
9.Facility with metaphor – generative thinking

The Minds Processing of Art
8.Creating emotionally what cannot be expressed literally
matches Creative Competencies
4.Using R-mode – non-verbal, intuitive processing

Regardless of how many of these you figured out, we, as artists, need to learn how to develop and use our natural skills to lead. Leaders build their visions, unit people and thrive. It’s time we as natural leaders, and as artists, do too.

Common Ground (AIE) Conference

In Current Events, WEBSITES & BLOGS on April 11, 2008 at 2:03 pm

For the past few days I have been in Albany, New York attending the annual New York State Arts In Education (AIE) conference. This conference brings together over 200 administrators, teachers, teaching artists ( to learn more about teaching artists go to the ATA) and community members. The programing and sessions for this conference contribute to fresh curriculum design, school reform and new models of classroom learning in the arts for the state of New York.

My interest in coming to this conference stems from my interest in the work of teaching artists and the teaching templates that this growing movement of teachers are creating, to be able to focus on integrating the teaching of art (music, creative writing, dance, theater etc.) into all subject matters in the classroom (math, social studies, science etc.).

What was incredibly interesting for me was to witness the evolution of entrepreneurial-like teaching development processes, created by artists, which in many ways is a first in the arts! These teaching artists are learning how to create integrated partnerships with K-12 schools ( sometimes facing resistance from other teachers and administrators and having to learn to overcome them), while focusing on developing individually designed programming to meet the needs of each school, using innovative, integrated cutting-edge teaching of artistry by combining it creatively into the subject matter of math, social studies and the sciences, AND finding a way obtain funding for it. This process is VERY entrepreneurial, and, I think can serve as a step towards integrating the business world’s need to economically advance and innovate by utilizing the benefits that can be taught to help them do this through artistry!

The process itself requires the three legs of the stool I feel need to be taught in all art: the highest level of artistry, the integration of art into all aspects of life and thought, and the understanding of the creation of value– ethical, moral and financial– from everything that is created.

Chicago Arts Partnerships in Education’s (CAPE), Founder Arnold April, is one of the key leaders of the development of this new movement of teaching and the establishment of it being a field of study.

What pleased me greatly about attending this conference was the openness to incorporating business into the conversation. Many I spoke with, including the Director of Arts Education for The New York State Council of Arts, Amy Duggins Pender, were interested in the benefits that teaching artists could bring to business and that in turn, through serving business objectives, would in turn bring to the arts through greater financial support.

As I write this post to you, reflecting on my time at AIE, I am waiting in the Albany airport in hopes that my cancelled flight from this morning will take off this evening. (Ughh. The joys of flying.) But, this horrible delay did allow me to return to the conference just in time to hear the final presentation at the conference given by the new executive director of The New York State Council on the Arts, Heather Hitchens, over lunch; after all NY politics is rather exciting these days ( thanks to former Gov Spitzer’s resignation) and I was sure, as the new executive director of the council, she would have something interesting to say about it all.

It also allowed me to be present for AIE’s raffle drawing which included a grand prize of 2 free nights at The Crowne Plaza Hotel and conference center in Albany. I guess I was meant to be there because I won. In all the raffles I have entered, I never win. AIE’s conference is again in Albany next year, so I guess I am suppose to come back.

If you would like to know more about this conference you might want to check out the following organizations that help orchestrate it. AIE is coordinated by Partners for Arts Education for the state through collaboration with the New York State Council for the Arts and The Association for Teaching Artists, Empire State Partnerships, New York Foundation for the Arts, NYS Alliance for Arts Education and the NYS Education Department.

Achieving The Changes You Want

In BOOKS: Learn and Grow, Emotional Intelligence, Entrepreneurial Tool Box, Networking on April 9, 2008 at 5:04 am

Maybe you have not made it yet, the changes you want, but you know what it will take to. Hard work. Willpower. Self-discipline. And if you have been working on trying to make the changes of your dreams without success, you may think its because you are not trying hard enough.

In a new self-help book by Alan Deutschman, called Change or Die: The Three Keys to Change at Work and in Life, Deutsmann explains that failure is not a byproduct of laziness or lack of self-control. In this book, Deutschman, was determined to get to the bottom of what makes people and corporations able to change- especially when they have tried and failed. What he found is that people get unstuck not through willpower but through finding a mentor — someone who’s reached that same goal; so that the “if they can do it, so can I” mentality will take over.

By identifying and learning the new skills necessary from your mentor, this will allow you to “reframe” who you are — a thinner you, a successful salesperson, an artistic entrepreneur — instead of the one, in your own mind, who failed over and over. By shadowing the person you identify as a mentor, your chances for true and lasting change dramatically are altered.

Ironically Deutschman’s book title comes from those who literally have to change or die–its reference comes from people like heart-bypass patients, who must change their lifestyle or face surgery after surgery or death. Astonishingly, nine out of ten of these individuals Deutschman, through his research, learned don’t make the changes that would save their lives, though the stakes couldn’t be higher.

After Deutschman came upon this statistic, he heard about a doctor who had turned those numbers upside down. Dean Ornish, M.D. a San Francisco Bay Area professor of medicine, requires patients to make the most radical changes of all, including switching to an extremely low-fat vegetarian diet and doing regular yoga and meditation practice. Yet nearly eight in ten of his patients- many of them steak eating CEO’s- make those major changes and maintain them for years after they’ve left Ornish’s program.

According to Deutschman, the key to the program’s success is the relationships his patients develop by showing up to support groups and classes that are the program’s hallmark. They find others like them going home to chant “om” or munching on kale and realize it can be done.

So think about the parallels to this story in your own life and desire to change. Change is a result of allowing yourself to truly be influenced and surrounded by those who are “walking the walk”, so you too can learn how to.

Maybe this means surrounding yourself with new people that are achieving what you dream. Or maybe this means seeking out several mentors who you will shadow and heed their every word of advice until you have achieved your vision.

If you always do what you have always done, you will always get what you have always gotten….

Turning Dance Steps into Business

In Interesting Articles on April 8, 2008 at 7:41 am

Are you looking for a way to transform your art form into a business? The artistic director of the New York Baroque Dance Company not only successfully built a business using hers, but also transformed the employees of one particular business, a restaurant, by doing so.

This article appeared in The New York Observer and was written by Bryan Miller.
“As you walk around the room, I want you to have the feeling that you are connecting the earth with the heavens,” exhorted Catherine Turocy, a dance instructor and choreographer who specializes in 18th-century minuets.

Two dozen students, equally men and women, most in their late 20’s, formed a single-file line and strode around a large conference room-chins up, arms loose at their sides, and giggling sporadically as they marched out of step like a slipshod army platoon.

“A low face conveys a sense of loss!” Ms Turocy continued. “If you walk around with a low face, that shows everyone that you are submitting to a greater power.”

The group was summoned to a halt and separated into two long rows, square-dance style, as the teacher picked up a batch of long red feathers and passed them out to the line on her left.

“In a classic minuet,” explained Ms. Turocy, a small, spiritual woman with tied-back chestnut hair, wearing a long blouse and loose black pants, “the gentleman offers the feather to the lady, the lady accepts with a forward bow, and the dance begins. I want you to feel your head floating on top of your spine.” She clicked on a small boombox that played Handel’s Water Music . The pas de deux began.

This was not a night class at the Y for ex-collegiate hoofers, nor an East Side theater club’s musical rendition of Barry Lyndon. Flitting around this room were an assortment of busboys and “runners,” the latter a term referring to restaurant employees who shuttle food back and forth from kitchen to table.

But not just any kitchen. This is Per Se, the extravagant sibling of the much much-revered French Laundry in California’s Napa Valley, which is slated to open Feb. 16 in the new Time Warner Center at Columbus Circle.

Chef/owner Thomas Keller, 45, has temporarily shuttered his rustic original establishment and drafted some of his key lieutenants in the hopes of transplanting a bit of fuzzy wine-country hospitality to the glass-wrapped, echoey shopping center, which includes a four-story galleria of retail shops, restaurants and bars.

Per Se, which was designed by globe-trotting Adam Tihany-as, it seems, is every third new restaurant in the city-is said to have cost more than $12 million, which certainly merits a line or two in the Guinness Book of Gustatory Records. Prix-fixe dinners will go for $125, $135 and $150.

The French Laundry is renowned as much for its food as its assiduous service, which is widely hailed as the best in the country. I was a beneficiary of it three times over the years: precise not fussy, smart not smarmy, and everywhere and nowhere according to your needs. And they didn’t know how to minuet.

Service at the New York venture, presumably, will be up to the same standard, and I was curious to learn how they do it.

I asked the folks at Per Se if I could be a fly on the wall for a week to see how they train the staff. They foolishly agreed.

“I think the dance is very good for them; they need to know how to move with grace,” observed Laura Cunningham, the general manager of the French Laundry, who is serving here as a consultant to Per Se, as she peeked in on the hour-long session.

Ms. Turocy, who is the artistic director of the New York Baroque Dance Company, has held these movement workshops for musicians and dancers over the years; this is her first restaurant gig.

As silly as this bowing and scraping appeared at first, the half-dozen or so students I spoke with afterward said they got a kick out of it and maybe learned something about movement as well.

“I liked it,” Rudy Mikula, a bartender, told me. “But as far as I’m concerned, it was as much about bonding among the staff as it was the movement thing.”

Higher-ups in the dining room-managers, captains and waiters-would flap their feathers later that morning.

To read the rest of the article click here.

Networking With A Purpose

In ENTREPRENEUR THE ARTS, Fashion, Music on April 4, 2008 at 1:10 am

“What makes us who we are?
What do we all share?
A story.
Every story has a beginning, a vision, a journey
A struggle
Everyone has a past, a secret, a burden, a weakness, a passion, a dream
Everyone has a story”

This quote has stuck with me ever since hearing it months ago. It seems to fit perfectly to my business concept, Direct Fusion Entertainment. Everytime I strike up a conversation with someone I feel as if they offer their business card to me. Business cards are just empty promises if you do not act them. If you do not believe me, read Keith Ferrazzi’s book, “Never Eat Alone.” I believe networking is essential but, many people are serial business card collectors. If someone hands me a card I will gladly accept it but, with the advice of Lisa and other advisors I feel as if I have the secret ingredient to networking. The secret ingredient being, INTERVIEWS.

Over the past few months of I have interviewed road managers for artists, a founder of one of the largest clothing brand, school administrators, and event planners. These interviews have turned into them sharing their passions, their dreams, and journeys which all equates to them sharing their story. Having their stories laid out in front of me has allowed me to seek key insight into how to develop my business concept of a traveling fashion show and concerts with the target market being college students. As the motto goes, “been there, done that.” These professionals have provided valuable insight into how to shape my business because they have a wealth of experiences.

As of now, market research is fundamental for how I will approach my business idea. I developed a questionnaire for school administrators to answer which will allow me to understand the possibility of bring a fashion shows to their school. The questionnaire is structured in a manner that will allow me to analyze a school’s budget along with how they handle event logistics. Having this information prior to fully launching Direct Fusion Entertainment will allow me to tweak the necessary areas to hopefully, make a success business in the future.

I’m in the process of collecting countless pages of interview reflections verse pages of business cards with empty promises. I am a young entrepreneur but, if you heed any advice from me, remember to learn to share your story with others because you might just help someone spark the next big idea.


Obama Speaks About The Arts

In Interesting Articles on April 3, 2008 at 10:15 pm

Check out this speech Barack Obama gave this week in PA regarding the arts and arts education.

While I am torn between electing a woman as president and the compelling charisma of Barack, this certainly speaks clearly as a great reason to vote for him. I certainly would love to see Hillary speak on the topic as well.

If you did not hear this, here is your chance:

Marketing Research Tool and Advancing Transparency

In ENTREPRENEUR THE ARTS, Entrepreneurial Tool Box, Marketing, WEBSITES & BLOGS on April 3, 2008 at 9:56 pm

If you care about nonprofits and the work they do, and/or are trying, perhaps, to build your own nonprofit and need to learn more about other organizations who may be serving a similar mission, then you need to know about GuideStar.

GuideStar gathers and publicizes information about nonprofit organizations, much of which you can access free of charge by becoming a registered user.

GuideStar’s mission is to revolutionize philanthropy and nonprofit practice by providing information that advances transparency, enables users to make better decisions, and encourages charitable giving.

Core to GuideStar’s mission lies in their belief that the best possible decisions are made when donors, funders, researchers, educators, professional service providers, governing agencies, and the media use the quality information that they providing solutions, through their data, to make the nonprofit sector work better.

Their tools and services help people with a wide range of tasks, including:

charity verification
compensation benchmarking
market analysis

Go to to learn more about the organization and to register.


In Marketing, WEBSITES & BLOGS on April 3, 2008 at 12:34 am

Need to learn more about how to market your organization or new start-up? The helps your organization address its daily marketing needs and longer-term marketing issues. is a project of Arts & Business Council of Americans for the Arts. Arts & Business Council is the national headquarters of the Arts & Business Council Inc., Arts and Business Council of New York, Business Volunteers for the Arts national affiliate network, and operates the National Arts Marketing Project.

This website is rich with marketing support and information. Especially relevant is their hot topics page which offers a wide variety of articles on the following topics:
Audience Development
Buzz Marketing
Changing Demographics
Community Building
Customer Communication

Workshops and training is also offered in the following cities: Boston, Chicago, Houston, Los Angeles, Miami, New York City, Pheonix, San Francisco, Tampa, St Petersburg, Clearwater and the Washington DC Metropolitian Area.

Michael Howard Studios

In Art, ENTREPRENEUR THE ARTS on April 2, 2008 at 4:03 am

flight_to_serenity by Michael Howard.jpg

This painting, by Michael Howard, is titled Flight to Serenity. What I love most about Michael Howard’s work is that as a non musician he is fascinated with and devoted to music.

I met Michael at the IJE (International Jazz Educators) Conference back in the 90’s. Michael impressed me with his salesmanship, approach to marketing his work and of course, with his artwork.

I worked with Michael for a number of years, commissioning his artwork for covers for my mail-order musical instrument catalogs and offering limited edition prints from originals he designed for sale to customers. The years we worked together were some of the best years I had in business.

For more about Michael Howard Studios click here.

Creative Chicago Expo

In Current Events on April 1, 2008 at 8:26 am

This day-long fair features over 20 free workshops and all the top resources, services, and spaces for Chicago’s art community. Whether you work in dance, music, theater, fashion, design, visual art, writing/spoken word, film/new media or all of the above, there will be information you can use and people you should know. Artists are small businesses, and the expo is a place you can find out what you need for your business to thrive.


WHEN: April 12, 2008 10 am – 4 pm •
WHERE: Chicago Cultural Center 77 E. Randolph Street 312-744-6630
COST: Admission is Free :: Bring a Friend!

Special Workshop topics include:

::: Grantmakers’ Forum
::: Tour:Smart with Martin Atkins
::: Ten Steps to Get Your Sh*t Together with Karen Atkinson of GYST
::: Moving from Studio to Public Art with Lynn Basa
::: Art Marketing for Inviduals and Groups
::: Get into the Dance Loop
::: Disability and the Arts
::: Art Opportunities in Chicago Public Schools
::: How to get your Film Made… and Shown
::: Your Elevator Speech, and other strategies for Media Coverage
::: What is a Business Plan?
::: Financing a Creative Business
::: Affordable Housing Opportunities

For more info click here