Innovating Through Artistry

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Contestant #7 Ann Rea

In Art, The Entrepreneurial Artist Competition on January 30, 2009 at 3:07 pm

© Ann Rea. All rights reserved and enforced. Absolutely no reproduction of any kind permitted.
my story
For seven years I didn’t paint or draw anything. I worked at a variety of anxiety producing corporate jobs until I meet two stage-four breast cancer survivors. I realized then that life is too short to avoid pursuing my dream.

It is no accident that collectors comment that my paintings make them feel happy and calm. I started painting again as an active mediation to alleviate anxiety, a concern about the future. Painting the subject of light as color in a moment allowed me to “savor the colors of a moment ™”.

At the end of 2003, I quit my job, sold my house and moved to the beach in San Francisco. With the encouragement of renowned painters Wayne Thiebaud (an American Art Icon) I was finally determined to make a living as a painter and to pursue my dream.

I am reviving the tradition of the French Impressionists, with a contemporary point of view. Winemakers take me on a tour of their vineyards where I plant my easel. Then I paint the colors of the vineyards as they change with the seasons, creating authentic and timeless pieces reflecting the unique beauty of each vineyard. I sell the wineries the reproductions and accessories to retail or to offer as special promotional gifts. In return, they host me at their wine tasting events where I sell the originals to a target rich market.

The collectible status of my work is quickly increasing. My talent is commended by Wayne Thiebaud (an American Art icon). I have collectors across the United States, Canada, and Europe. Since 2007, my paintings, and my business, have been featured nationally on “Fine Living”, and in “Fortune” and “The Wine Enthusiast” magazines. And most recently my business was profiled in the book “Carreer Renegade”, by Jonathon Fields, and published by Random House.

my business
How did I avoid the myth of the “staving artist” and swim with the savage sharks of the art market? I went swimming somewhere else. I invented a new market, one where I could thrive. I built a business that offers value that did not exist before. I created a Blue Ocean Strategy* before I knew that there was a name for it. A Blue Ocean strategy creates value in a market space that did not exist before, making the competition irrelevant.

I established Studio Ann Rea as a sole proprietorship in January of 2004 to overcome the limits of the traditional marketing of art and to create opportunities by controlling the sale and the distribution of my art and to leverage my intellectual property. In 2007, I established Ann Rea Incorporated, an S Corp, as a profitable vehicle for my artistic career and as a business with an expanding catalog of products featuring my images. These products offer more passive forms of revenue.

From these “field studies” I paint in the vineyards I create custom merchandise featuring the paintings of the winery’s vineyards, including: fine art prints, stationary, and accessories. The winery may offer this merchandise as promotional gifts or retail it and double their investment. In return, they host me at their wine tasting events where I sell the originals to a target rich market, wine enthusiasts are collecting personalities.

The unique benefit to the winery is that they gain a permanent presence in the hearts and homes of their customers and they have an opportunity to double their investment.

In 2009, I will be expanding my company’s sales to other markets, including: more fine home décor and gift retailers, private collectors, private commissions, and interior designers.

my lessons
The “current state of the economy” is not the primary reason for a sales decline in 2008. The decline was caused by two major clients failing to meet their legal obligations to assist in the sales of the original paintings of their vineyards at their events. My company failed to respond with consistent marketing efforts to replace the lost sales.

When I refocused my marketing efforts in December 2008, I sold a record of 15 original oils to private collectors.

Four big and hard lessons that I have learned and actions I have and will take:

1. I must maintain consistent and measurable marketing efforts. I have learned that “marketing must be as regular as breathing”.**
· I have begun working with a Harvard graduate marketing consultant at the Oakland SBDC to complete and implement a measureable and consistent marketing effort.

2. I now realize that in order to thrive I must diversify my income streams so that my eggs are in not all in one basket.
· I am targeting wineries and interior designers and private collectors at affluent events.

3. I must have clearly defined contractual agreements with a means of accountability and teeth to enforce the terms.
· All of my contracts are under review by a business and copyright attorney.

4. I can only be so successful operating alone, I’m going to need a sales force to grow and experienced business advisors or mentors to help guide me.
· I am interviewing an experienced wine country merchandise rep next week.
· I have discovered the world of virtual assistants.

company vision
The vision for Ann Rea, Inc. is to firmly establish itself as the brand of tasteful wine country art and accessories while cultivating satisfying and profitable business relationships and alliances. This system will be repeated with other iconic landscapes, such as: wetlands, parks, seasides, and private gardens.

The goal is to leverage my intellectual property by building a brand that hosts a tasteful catalog of fine art merchandise and books. These products provide a source of more passive income, publishing.

The goal is to maintain simplicity and as little overhead as is possible by expanding on-line sales using affiliate marketing, social networking, and PR.

*Blue Ocean Strategy by Kim and Mauborgne

**Gorilla Marketing, by Leveinson.

The Arts and The Creation of Mind

In BOOKS: Learn and Grow on January 30, 2009 at 12:24 am

9780300105117Although we all know that the arts are often thought to be closer to the rim of education than to its core, they are, surprisingly, “critically important means for developing complex and subtle aspects of the mind”, argues Elliot Eisner.

In this book, he describes how various forms of thinking are evoked, developed, and refined through the arts. These forms of thinking, Eisner argues, are more helpful in dealing with the ambiguities and uncertainties of daily life than are the formally structured curricula that are employed today in schools. Offering a rich array of examples, Eisner describes different approaches to the teaching of the arts and the virtues each possesses when well taught. He discusses especially nettlesome issues pertaining to the evaluation of performance in the arts. Perhaps most important, Eisner provides a fresh and admittedly iconoclastic perspective on what the arts can contribute to education, namely a new vision of both its aims and its means. This new perspective, Eisner argues, is especially important today, a time at which mechanistic forms of technical rationality often dominate our thinking about the conduct and assessment of education.

About Eliott Eisner
Elliot W. Eisner is Professor of Education and Art at Stanford University. Widely considered the leading theorist on art education and aesthetics in the United States, he has won wide recognition for his work both her and abroad. Among his many awards is the Palmer O. Johnson Award from the American Educational Research Associaition. He has been a John Simon Guggenheim Fellow and Fulbright Scholar, and has served as the President of the National Art Education Associaition, the International Society for Education Through Art, the American Educational Research Associaition and the John Dewey Society.

Best and Worst Marketing Campaigns

In Author: Lisa Canning, Marketing on January 29, 2009 at 12:33 am

Below are 13 great marketing campaign to gleam some ideas from and 5 that really flopped. This article was written by Gwen Moran and appeared Entrepreneur Magazine this month, January 2009.

Some marketing efforts manage to hit the ball out of the park. They resonate with the consumer, generate tremendous buzz and even permeate pop culture, becoming part of our lives and linguistics.

In a rather unscientific manner, we’ve gathered more than a dozen of these iconic campaigns and consulted a variety of experts to explain why they were so great. Here’s a recap along with the lessons that can benefit you and your business.

#1. Best making the best of a bad image: Las Vegas’ “What Happens Here, Stays Here” campaign
After a failed attempt to promote itself as a family destination, Las Vegas finally embraced its Sin City image with its “What happens here, stays here” advertising campaign, launched in 2003. It’s still going strong: 2007 marked the city’s fourth consecutive year of busting tourism records. “It resonated because it’s what people already believe,” says Laura Ries, president of marketing strategy firm Ries & Ries.

Lesson: Try to turn negatives into positives.

#2. Best product placement: Reese’s Pieces in E.T.: The Extra-Terrestrial
Some marketing missteps make you kick yourself. Take Mars Inc.’s failure to take the opportunity to include M&Ms in E.T. After Mars passed, director Steven Spielberg went to Hershey’s, which took the offer. It paid off. Time magazine reported in 1982 that Reese’s Pieces sales rose 65 percent in the months after the movie’s release. Even though the movie never mentioned the name of the product, showing the distinctive orange package was enough, and the placement enjoyed heavy promotional support from the manufacturer.

Lesson: Placing your product in the right media vehicle can boost sales.

#3. Best video ad: Get a Mac
Apple’s “Get a Mac” campaign, which launched in 2006, puts the hip, easygoing Mac against the hapless, problem-prone PC. “The message of these ads is clear,” says communications professor Stephen Marshall, author of Television Advertising That Works. “Every one of them says, ‘Don’t be this guy.’ You don’t want to be the PC.” The TV ads also appeared online, and the company released a series of web-only ads to capitalize on consumer interest in the characters. People got the message–Mac’s market share grew by 42 percent.

Lesson: Create engaging characters in your online video to help grow an audience that’s receptive to your brand.

#4. Best contest:Nathan’s Famous Hot Dog Eating Contest
Launched in 1916, this homage to gluttony plasters the Nathan’s name across international media each year. Brothers George and Richard Shea launched the International Federation of Competitive Eating in 1997. The IFOCE organizes and runs more than 80 eating contests throughout the U.S. and abroad, spurring a subculture of competitive eating celebrities who receive international media attention.

Lesson: Don’t be afraid to be outrageous if it suits your brand.

#5. Best use of YouTube: Blendtec’s “Will It Blend?”
Blendtec, a maker of high-end blenders, created a series of online videos that depict founder Tom Dickson using his durable machine to smash everything from small electronics to sneakers to credit cards. The videos are on Blendtec’s site as well as YouTube, where, through viral marketing, some have been viewed more than 5.5 million times. It shows people are interested–and it saves money, since Blendtec didn’t pay for all that band-width. Says Ann Handley, chief content officer of marketing information resource, “They created a campaign that really builds brand awareness.”

Lesson: Use various tools to spread the word about how your brand is different.

#6. Best slogan: “got Milk?”
What better success benchmark than having your slogan work its way into the national lexicon? It’s even better when it includes your product name, says Mitzi Crall, author of 100 Smartest Marketing Ideas Ever. The simplicity of the slogan lends itself to a wide variety of advertising interpretations, ranging from humorous

TV ads to the celebrity-driven milk mustache print series. “The images of glamour and fame contrasted with the hominess of a milk mustache make the versatile tagline a hit,” says Crall. A year after the campaign launched in California, the state saw an increase in milk sales for the first time in more than 10 years.

Lesson: Look for slogans that have the potential for longevity.

#7. Best jingle: NBC jingle
If you can name that brand in three notes, it must be the NBC jingle. Of course, repetition over the years has reinforced the brand, but there’s more to it. “It’s called mnemonics, or sonic branding,” says Marshall. “By adding sound to its brand identity, it adds another way for customers to experience the brand. It especially makes sense because it’s a broadcast medium.”

Lesson: Look for ways to add additional sensory branding elements when relevant.

#8. Best use of truth in a crisis: Tylenol
When cyanide-laced capsules of Extra Strength Tylenol were linked to seven deaths in the Chicago area in 1982, parent company Johnson & Johnson faced a full-blown crisis. While other companies might have lied or evaded the situation, then-CEO James E. Burke issued a full recall of the product and engaged in regular media updates that were shockingly honest for the time. All consumers with bottles of Tylenol capsules could swap them for Tylenol tablets at Johnson & Johnson’s cost. “Telling the truth is always a good long-term strategy,” says Scott Armstrong, a marketing professor at the University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School of Business. “When that’s violated, it leads to a fall.”

Lesson: Be truthful with your customers and you’ll keep their trust.

#9. Best use of social networking to target tweens and teens: High School Musical
After the success of the made-for-TV movies High School Musical and High School Musical 2, Disney teamed up with MySpace in what TV Guide called the social network’s largest campaign. The promotion included a contest where fans showed school spirit by completing tasks such as uploading videos, changing profile skins and texting votes for their school.

Lesson: Find the media your audience uses and go there.

#10. Best celebrity spokesman: William Shatner as The Priceline Negotiator
When William Shatner first started touting’s cut-rate service in 1997, no one thought the relationship–or the company, for that matter–would last more than a decade. But through a savvy reinvention of itself, Priceline thrived with the campy James Bond-gone-wrong Shatner as its public persona. That long-term element is part of the relationship’s success, says Ries. “You get the feeling that he’s very much in tune with the brand and the company. That kind of longevity and dedication can be [very] effective.”

Lesson: A little fun can go a long way.

#11. Best logo: Nike Swoosh
There are a number of rumors about exactly how much Nike paid Portland State University graphic design student Carolyn Davidson for the Swoosh in the early ’70s (actually $35), but it’s been the brand’s mark since it was introduced on Nike footwear at the 1972 U.S. Track & Field Olympic Trials. The reason it works? It’s an “empty vessel,” says Ries. “It’s so simple and visible at a distance. Another logo might have been well-known but wouldn’t have done the brand as much good if it had been more complicated.” Because the Swoosh has no innate meaning attached to it, Nike can use it to build any image it desires.

Lesson: Sometimes too many bells and whistles can make your logo less effective.

#12. Best use of outdoor advertising: The Goodyear Blimp
Is there anyone who doesn’t recognize the blimp when it passes by? “The Goodyear Blimp is its own kind of magic,” says Crall. “If we see it float by when we’re going about our daily lives, we run to get our spouses and children to ‘come see.’ We’re receptive to the brand message.”

Lesson: Be unexpected in how and where you communicate with your customers.

#13. Best use of promotional items: Livestrong wristbands
After the news broke in 1996 that champion bicyclist Lance Armstrong had cancer, he founded his Lance Armstrong Foundation the following year. Working with Nike, the foundation developed a yellow silicon wristband stamped with the Livestrong mantra to sell as a fundraiser. According to, more than 45 million have been sold so far. The bracelets became an immediately identifiable symbol of Armstrong, who often wore the yellow leaders jersey while cycling to seven Tour de France victories.

Lesson: Have a signature look, whether it’s a giveaway or simply in how you present your brand, so people recognize you immediately.

5 worst marketing ideas . . . ever
While some campaigns are notable for their brilliance, others, well, not so much. Here are five marketing efforts we could have done without.

#1. Worst campaign to trigger a bomb scare: Aqua Teen Hunger Force In January 2007, Turner Broadcasting System Inc.’s promotion of its TV show Aqua Teen Hunger Force, which featured small electronic light boards with one of the series’ characters, triggered a bomb scare in Boston.

#2. Worst use of body parts in marketing: Logo tattoos In the 1990s, California eatery Casa Sanchez offered free lunch for life to anyone who got a tattoo of their logo. Nervous about how quickly people were getting inked, the eatery limited the offer to the first 50 people.

#3. Worst sponsorship idea: Bidding for baby naming rights The dotcom era ushered in a (thankfully small) rash of people trying to sell off their children’s names for extra dough. Poor little Widget Smith.

#4. Worst campaign character: The Quiznos creatures Superimposed over a Quiznos sub shop were two disturbing, singing rat-like creatures. Fortunately, the shop got wise and ditched them after public outcry. But it’s an image that stays with you. Go ahead, look them up on YouTube–but don’t say we didn’t warn you.

#5. Worst plague-like sweep of viral marketing: Starbucks’ viral marketing fiasco A free-coffee coupon sent by baristas with no restrictions circulated the internet, causing an overwhelming rate of renewal. Ultimately the coffee purveyor stopped honoring the coupon, causing a mini controversy.

Gwen Moran is co-author of The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Business Plans. Reach her at

How do we change how we perceive the world?

In Author: Lisa Canning, Emotional Intelligence on January 28, 2009 at 12:33 am

dreamstime_2907801An important part of acting more entrepreneurial lies in our perceptions of ourselves and our world. To expand our thinking to include more “possibilites” requires that we find ways to break through the barriers we set up in our minds that do not allow for a world of new ideas to emerge.

You see our mind constructs perception “road maps” based on sensory information it receives. Those road maps materialize like stories, inside our heads, convincing us that we see the world correctly, know the right ” answer” and therefore know what we should or should not be doing or feeling.

dreamstime_6026115The way our minds build our perception ” road maps” begins through our five senses. Our brains takes whatever our senses experience and processes the information it receives and strings it together like a story, a pre-determined outcome, or “mapped” perception of how it interpreted what it sensed.

By realizing that in essence our mind is inventing our perceptions and the stories we tell ourselves, purely based on the way it interpreted sensory data, we immediately have a new opportunity to focus on inventing new experiences for our minds to first sense and then map through new stories that can be the foundation of new perceptions. While it might be a bit disconcerting to realize that your mind has simply “invented” its perception, it also offers up endless possibilities of what your future might hold by realizing how your mind is contributing to the limitations in your own thinking..

Where Fashion Spreads Are Taken Seriously

In Art, Entrepreneurial Evolution, Fashion, Interesting Articles on January 27, 2009 at 12:30 am

This article appeared in the Wall Street Journal on Friday January 23, 09 and was written by CHERYL LU-LIEN TAN

Against the backdrop of a crisp blue sky streaked with stark-white clouds, a well-chiseled, glistening man wearing nothing but goggles, hot-pink briefs and white fur boots is draped over a suitcase. His mouth is ever so slightly ajar as his crotch dramatically thrusts skyward.

For many, the racy image, from a 2007 photo shoot titled “Frozen Margarita” in the French men’s magazine Numéro Homme, may seem more at home in a breathless issue of Playgirl than a museum exhibition. No matter how artfully shot or arresting an image it is, the picture, taken by Dutch fashion photographer Matthias Vriens, is in its essence about an almost-nude man striking a lewd pose.

But now a museum is where you’ll find it. The piece is part of an exhibition that’ll kick off a year-long series of shows that the International Center of Photography in New York is devoting to fashion photography.
“Veruschka, New York”
The series, which will feature hundreds of photographs spread out over seven exhibitions in 2009, is an ambitious — and unusual — undertaking for a museum that has generally showcased works of significant social heft. Cornell Capa, the founding director of the center and a photographer himself who died last May, once wrote that photography had a duty to “provoke discussion, awaken conscience, evoke sympathy, spotlight human misery and joy which otherwise would pass unseen, un-understood and unnoticed.” How does a beefcake shot jibe with that mission?

“Some of the questions that we’ve addressed toward other areas of photography such as photojournalism could also be addressed to fashion photography,” argues Brian Wallis, the center’s chief curator. The photographs “address sociological issues or issues of social history and shape public consciousness and attitudes. All kinds of social views go into the production of images for fashion photography.”

The center began planning this series two years ago. Fashion photography is “an area that involves a lot of inventiveness in order to keep things lively for the reader — to do the same thing month after month, year after year really requires extreme innovation if you’re going to be any good,” says Vince Aletti, a co-curator of the series. “A lot of the people who are working [in it] today are producing some of the most interesting photography out there, and virtually all of that work hasn’t been seen by anyone unless they’re looking very regularly at American and European fashion magazines.”

Indeed, the exhibitions feature the work of several well-respected photographers who are already regarded as artists: Richard Avedon, whose vibrant pictures conveyed the exuberance and motion of fashion in still photographs, is the subject of a show that runs from May 15 through Sept. 6, for example. Hungarian fashion photographer Martin Munkacsi, who shot spreads for ad campaigns and magazines such as Harper’s Bazaar in the early 20th century, also warrants his own exhibition, which is up through May 3. And names such as Hedi Slimane, postmodern avant-garde artist Cindy Sherman (who outfits herself in designer duds for French Vogue) and Juergen Teller (of the haunting Marc Jacobs ads) are included in “Weird Beauty: Fashion Photography Now,” which also has a May 3 closing date.

The concept for the series began with discussions about the Avedon show, which branched out to also include the planning for one on the work of Edward Steichen, a big name in art photography who drew some fire during his time for doing commercial work as chief photographer for Vogue and Vanity Fair in the 1920s; and another about pictures that weren’t conceived as fashion shots but possess a distinctive style element. Called “This Is Not a Fashion Photograph,” that show includes such works as an untitled picture from Carrie Mae Weems’s 1990 “Kitchen Table Series,” which shows a proud-looking, perfectly coifed woman sitting erect at a dining table and staring straight ahead, almost mannequin-like, as a man slouched nearby reads the newspaper. A 1966 Bruce Davidson photograph of a high-school student smoking a cigarette while carrying a switchblade on East 100th Street in Manhattan depicts the young man in a pose that manages to look both semistudied and not terribly unlike the man-on-the-street images that pop up in fashion magazines these days.

Nick Knight, Courtesy of the artist

Nick Knight’s ‘Boned,’ part of ‘Weird Beauty,’ one of the International Center of Photography’s shows.
In the case of the Steichen show, co-curator Carol Squiers says she was interested in showcasing the work of a shooter who was a pioneer in the genre. Mr. Steichen actually produced some of his best work for magazines. The exhibition’s photos from the Condé Nast archives include portraits of such celebrities as Amelia Earhart and Charlie Chaplin. Many of the works are simple, straightforward glamour shots — some of the more striking pieces are the ones with no bold-faced names attached. A 1934 photograph meant to accompany a story on hand and nail care, for example, focuses on a model who is shown dramatically shielding her face with her hands.

Ms. Squiers wants the pictures in the series to convince viewers that fashion photography should be treated as a serious art form. “I hope one thing they’ll get is just the way imagination unleashed on even a subject as limited as a coat or a dress can go in so many different directions,” she says.

Some of the most striking photographs are to be found in the “Weird Beauty” exhibition. A Steven Klein spread juxtaposes a plus-size woman in intimate situations with a young, muscular pretty boy with long hair. “It’s a great female fantasy and one that you don’t often see,” Ms. Squiers says. A Günther Parth spread on hats shows pieces like a bucket hat and a rumpled knit cap perched atop styrofoam mannequin heads with ghastly, eroded features. With their pockmarks and deep indentations, the heads conjure thoughts of horrific flesh-eating diseases, providing a fascinating foil for the expensive, tailored chapeaus.

While American magazines have come under some fire in recent years for promoting so-called heroin chic, many of the most daring pictures were culled from European magazines, such as Vogue Paris and Arena Homme Plus. “I think that U.S. advertisers have a lot of influence in terms of what is permissible for the print or editorial sections,” Ms. Squiers says. “They want pictures where the clothes are shown and there are no disturbing images.”

To be sure, there are some photographs in the series that look so straightforward in concept and style that one wonders what separates them from the pictures in the latest J.Crew catalog. But perhaps the answer is “nothing.” The larger point that this series sets out to make, after all, is that art can and should be found in the most commercial and mass-market forms of fashion photography. Even in a simple shot of a man wearing a suit, staring straight into the camera.

Ms. Tan is a fashion reporter for the Journal.

Funny How Narrow Thinking About The Arts Leads to More Narrow Thinking

In Interesting Articles on January 26, 2009 at 12:06 am

This article written by David Smith, in my opinion, is rather small and narrow in thinking. Not unlike most of the world (for the moment), David Smith is failing to think about the potency and true capacity of the arts as a tool to help the world in many new ways. What is disturbing is that as senior lecturer in American history at Baylor University, and the author of “Money for Art: The Tangled Web of Art and Politics in American Democracy” (Ivan R. Dee), you would hope that David Smith might himself be a bit more actively engaged in innovative thinking. (Then again as a history expert can we expect him to be?)

As a society we need to embrace a fundamental and important shift in our thinking about the meaning of art and what value it holds as a potent underutilized resource. Think underutilized David Smith and you might begin to think bigger and be able to see that the arts suffer from desperately needing the care and concern of someone like Quincy Jones to convince an already “for the arts” President Obama to carve out a future for the arts that is all about BIG PICTURE thinking.

Step one to accomplish this, Mr. Smith, is to put the arts center stage in a cabinet position. By doing so the world will explicitly understand that the arts are going to become an integral part of the world and that they just might hold keys to improving our economy as well as how we manage defense. This is how you begin a new conversation on a new playing field for innovation though artistry.

Step two is to use that cabinet post to begin to integrate the arts into conversations where they presently are only being inserted into dialogue by the most elite organizations and branches of military via the Benjamin Zander’s, Linda Naiman’s, and John Cimino’s of the world. Let’s make sure that the work of these three individuals, who represent the work of say a dozen or so more like them around the country, is readily available to everyone to be used as an innovative tool to economic development and defense management. If it is good enough for Starbucks, The World Bank, American Express and The Social Security Administration, to name a few, then it should be good enough for government to embrace as a great new innovative idea to help others innovate and lead.

Through the inherent ability of the arts to act as a catalyst- a transformer of the mind- they bring, through active experiential involvement, new ideas, the ability to join parties to each other- where before there were no alliances- and to open up dialogue in new ways through their common human element. Here lies important resources that need to take root inside government and industries at large.

Start with the big picture and the small stuff we have been sweating over inside the arts will become easy to solve Mr. Smith. Show our world that the arts belong on the economic and military stage as a resource and once this begins to happen it will be an easy “no brainer” for educational systems to understand why they can NEVER EVER do without the arts inside the school day again.

Thank you Sandy Johnson for forwarding this article to me.


An Old, Bad Idea for the Arts
Why a cabinet-level czar wouldn’t help them
By DAVID A. SMITH appeared in the Wall Street Journal January 23rd, 09

As the economy struggles, one inevitably hears more and more about the very real problems facing the arts. It seems that every time one opens the paper, there’s a new story about a museum having to cut its hours or a symphony canceling performances. New York’s Metropolitan Opera has seen its endowment fall by a third, and at institutions from Boston to San Francisco ticket sales and donations are down. The outlook is bleak almost everywhere.

But despite the severity of the troubles facing arts institutions, they’re nothing new. Nor is the call for a cabinet-level office for the arts. In 1952 the head of the American Federation of Musicians said that “the sad and declining estate” of the arts required nothing less than the establishment of a Federal Department of the Arts. Shortly after, screen legend Lillian Gish appeared before a star-struck Senate committee and all but demanded a Department of Fine Arts. The calls continued periodically, even after the National Endowment for the Arts was created in 1965.

Renowned composer and producer Quincy Jones is the most recent artist to throw his support behind an effort of this nature starting back in November (though he claims he’s been in favor of it for 10 years), and his concerns — particularly about the state of arts education in the country — are well founded. More than 100,000 people have signed an online petition requesting that President Obama create a cabinet-level post for arts and culture, apparently believing that such a step is the best way to arrest the decline of the arts in our broader culture. But this is simply not the case.

ed-ai906_artcza_dv_20090122130549To oppose this post is not to oppose the National Endowment for the Arts or a government role in the culture of the nation. The arts are important, especially in a democracy. But it’s a fallacy to move from that idea to the prescription that all government arts policy should be centralized and placed within a cabinet-level Department of Culture.

The primary false assumption at play here is that more centralization is the best way for the government to address a problem and signify its importance. Accompanying this is the belief, stretching back to the Progressive Era early in the 20th century, that efficiency and better advocacy flow from such centralization.

Many will say (often in a testy voice) that the arts deserve a cabinet-level presence because they are just as important to the country as the Defense Department. While that’s something of an apples and oranges comparison, the deeper problem is that it assumes that the country’s defense and its arts can be furthered via the same sort of bureaucratic means. But while our nation’s defense would collapse in the absence of the centralized power of our Defense Department, having a Department of Culture — or even a “Cultural Czar,” to use that awful label we’ve apparently become so fond of — would be neither an effective nor necessary way to guarantee the health of cultural expression in America.

Art is a type of human expression fundamentally different from the other activities carried on by people in society, let alone by a state. It is a far more individualistic enterprise and has to be conceived — I almost am tempted to say jealously guarded — as such. Similarly, the cultural programs carried out by the American government thrive on the individualism and energy found in their respective agencies. In addition to the NEA, there’s the NEH, IMLS (Institute for Museum and Library Services), Smithsonian Institution, Library of Congress, NPR, PBS, and the cultural programs of the State Department, just to mention the main ones. The NEA, for instance, has transformed itself over the past six years and is enjoying the greatest success and influence in its history. To think of the government’s widespread and variegated cultural programs as the proper responsibility of something as bureaucratically ponderous as a single department is, I think, a way to damage the way people ought to think about art.

Mr. Jones is spot on, however, when he laments the sorry state of arts education in the U.S., and it is true that the NEA is not the best means to address this problem. But the Department of Education should handle the matter if we seek a national remedy. Having a Department of Culture be responsible for advocating arts education would create the impression that the arts are less essential to becoming an educated American than are math, history and science, an idea I suspect far too many people already have. If Mr. Jones decides to direct his energies toward lobbying the Department of Education to make the arts an fundamental part of public education, I’ll gladly and enthusiastically join him in that effort.

Mr. Smith, a senior lecturer in American history at Baylor University, is the author of “Money for Art: The Tangled Web of Art and Politics in American Democracy” (Ivan R. Dee).

Contestant #6 Amy Wachspress

In Entrepreneurial Artist Contest Contestants on January 24, 2009 at 10:58 pm

The Evolution of One Entrepreneurial Artist written by Amy Wachspress © 2009 Amy Wachspress
I have been a writer for as long as I can remember. I spent years trying to get a publisher to discover me, until the day that I got wise. I researched self-publication and the world of independent publishing opened up before me like a door opening onto a field of daisies. In June 2006, my husband and I founded Woza Books to publish my children’s and young adult fantasy adventure The Call to Shakabaz, which we launched in 2007. During the first months after we founded Woza, I felt as if my learning curve was taking me straight up a cliff. I was astounded at how much work was required to simply get the word out to my prospective audience. To date, the book has sold about 1,200 copies, received four national and two regional book award honors, and was released as an audio book in September 2008. The audio book, which just received a Mom’s Choice Award Silver Medal (2009), was produced by Legacy Audio Books, Inc. in a joint venture with Woza. We will split the profits even though Legacy produced the audio book and will do most of the marketing.

A lot of things took me by surprise when I published Shakabaz, but none more than the enormity of the task of marketing and promoting a book, which astonished and overwhelmed me. At the beginning of my self-publishing adventure, I dedicated 90% of my energy and resources to producing the book. I was like a first-time pregnant mother for whom it was all about the birth. But after the baby was born, I had a child to raise. I had to completely shift gears and dedicate my energy and resources to running a publishing business, including the behemoth of marketing, publicity, and promotion. I swiftly realized that if you have a terrific book and you’re no good at marketing then you might as well crawl under a rock.

In my business plan, I should have budgeted ten times as much for marketing as for the production of the book. By the time I had the book in hand, I had spent most of the money I had set aside for my self-publishing adventure. If I ever have enough money to publish my next book, I will spend far less on the production end and budget far more for getting the word out about the book. Since I didn’t have the resources to mount a comprehensive marketing campaign, I relied on the internet and digital media avenues, which eat hours like candy. Marketing a book is a bottomless pit. No matter how much you invest, it’s never enough; you should always be investing more. Reminds me of parenthood.

I took six months off from my job to start Woza and to publish Shakabaz. I spent hours and days marketing and promoting the book, managing my paperwork, and running my small publishing company. I hate bookkeeping, processing invoices and checks, documenting inventory, talking to vendors, scheduling, selling, ordering mailers, and on and on, so forth and such not. All of this stuff is exhausting, overwhelming, time-consuming, and boring. I often wish I hadn’t published the damn book so I would have the time to write again. My stint as a fulltime publisher/author came to an abrupt end when I returned to my day job as a freelance grant writer attempting to put my three children through college, help my husband pay off the mortgage on our house, and earn enough money to pay our medical bills. In short, life picked up exactly where I had left off to publish my terrific, award-winning book. I enjoyed the taste of the literary life I bought with the publication of Shakabaz. More than anything, I enjoy talking with children who have read and loved the book. That is my deepest reward and makes my efforts worthwhile.

I recently published an article in the Independent Book Publisher’s Association (IBPA) trade journal entitled “Just Said No.” The article explains why I chose to say “no” when a bona fide small publisher approached me about publishing a sequel to Shakabaz. I discussed why I prefer to have my own indie publishing company and to self-publish. The gist of the article? I’m a control freak. I have received an extraordinary deluge of emails about that article, all cheering me on. But the truth is, I don’t have the money to publish another book. Even if I did have the money to publish a book, I don’t have the money to market it, and I certainly don’t have the time to market it without any money. So the thought of someone else picking up the tab for all these things has started to look more and more attractive. (Don’t tell my ”Just Said No” supporters.)

Some people are born entrepreneurs, some become entrepreneurs, and some have entrepreneurship thrust upon them. I am the last of these three. I had the time of my life starting Woza and publishing Shakabaz. I still do authorly things when I can spare the time. The book still sells, a couple copies a week, out of my garage. If I sold all the copies I have left, I still wouldn’t make back what I invested in Woza. But truth be told, I was never in this for the money. I think that when love supersedes the desire for profit in someone like myself who has very little business sense, then profit simply loses the arm wrestle. If I were in it for the money, I would have made some, right? I sure did make a lot of love, though.

Amy Wachspress
Woza Books

Contestant #5 Tamera Bourne

In Entrepreneurial Artist Contest Contestants, Writing on January 23, 2009 at 9:49 am

My Life, My Passion, My Dream written by Tamera Bourne
When I first read The Diary of Anne Frank I knew I wanted to write. I was eleven. I started keeping a diary and have not stopped. Her raw honesty about her growing pains gave me comfort in my own struggles. My thinking, at the time, was I could be the next Anne Frank, I could be the young girl that touches everyones heart. Part of me believes that I’m carrying on her dream since she wasn’t able to.

To write means to me that I am able to bring the gift of imagination to people. The joy of opening a book and learning something new, or loosing oneself in a far off place and becoming a character in a story. I always dreamed I was Lucy in The Chronicles of Narnia. I always have a book in my hands and I am typically reading two books at once.

I believe the gift of reading helps everyone to be a better person. Through reading we gain knowledge, confidence, and a desire to spread the wealth of information. We want to communicate what we have learned. We want to inspire people to read the book. I want to be the writer people talk about. I want my books to influence people, to teach them, to bring joy to their lives. I believe I can do this through my newest project.

I call this project “What’s in a Names?” series. I’m researching what all 50 states names mean and how they became that name; also how the license plate slogans were chosen, what it means, and why. I envision this project on multiple levels. First , as two books containing all the information, and these could be sold anywhere — bookstores, travel stores, gift shops and more. I see these two books as the definitive books of state facts. I want people who have a question to immediately think of these books and pull them from the self. Secondly, the states could be split apart and create chapbooks, essentially, that will have the meaning of the name and slogan together. This can be marketed specifically to little gift shops through out that states name. These little books could sit on truck stop shelves in the souvenir section. They would be made for the impulsive buy. A nice memento of the trip that can go into a scrapbook. Thirdly, as a kids version to help children learn more than the capitols in school. I believe the education that children receive when it comes to our states is limited. As a child I was taught the capitols but not much more. How can we expect the children of the World to be knowledgeable when we don’t provide the information. This version can contain a map, CD-ROMs, game, vocabulary, lesson plans, and more. The education version can be tailored to what the school wants.

I believe the ‘What’s in a Name?” series can expand beyond the United States. Each continent can be done, each country of the world, and have their regions broken down. In the United States I could write how each capitol received its name, each river, each lake, major cities, the possibilities are unlimited. I want the “What’s in a Name?” series to be a household name like Chicken Soup for the Soul.

I have never lost my passion for writing. I studied journalism and creative writing. I want to infuse the two and create a publication that is enthralling and educational. I want to pull my strengths as a researcher, writer, and educator into this project, creating a unique piece of work. I have travelled throughout this country and world. I have not seen anything like this idea. I believe it will be fruitful for all.

What would you do?

In Emotional Intelligence on January 22, 2009 at 8:25 am

We live in a world where we don’t know if we are safe anywhere anymore- after all people get shot these days in grocery stores, department stores, on college campuses and at work. I don’t know about you, but I can sort of understand why increasingly we don’t talk to our neighbors and keep to ourselves. Is there anywhere we really feel safe?

I bet the majority of us would say that we feel the safest at home.

So, this past Sunday my husband and I were up at our house on the lake watching on HBO the return of Big Love– you know that show about polygamy? It is rather soap opera-ish and losing quickly, in my opinion, any novelty it had- but none the less we were watching a really tense scene and all of a sudden what appeared to be literally a monster with a shot gun appeared pounding on our back door. He looked like he could have been a bag man, totally disheveled. It looked like dirt was all over his face.

But on closer inspection, as we both walked closer to the door, he was a horror in plain view- dried blood all over his neck, hands and clothes and fresh blood covering his entire face standing at our back door holding a gun.

My husband and I froze and stood there looking at each other and then at the door. Nothing was registering. We both starred at him and then at each other not knowing what to do? And this man kept pounding on our door and pounding.

What would you do in this situation?

It is hard to say isn’t it. Was this person going to hurt us? Was he hurt himself? Was he running from someone or something?

Really it’s harder than ever to naturally have empathy and compassion to help others these days. The world is need of it more than ever as evident by how many stories have we heard where someone was ignored who was hurt and was left for dead because others were frightened or could not be bothered or simply “didn’t notice”.

Well in this instance, my husband and I decided to act. Chuck walked out the front door and there the man stood, having walked towards him around the house, blood running down his face, gushing. This man had been in a snowmobile accident. He had his gun on the back of his sled because he had been out duck hunting and when he crashed into a duck blind ( where hunters hide to shoot ducks) it threw him and his gun 75 feet. And yes, he was drunk.

Needless to say the paramedics took 20 minutes- our house on the lake is way out in the middle of nowhere. The man had trouble breathing and wanted to go to sleep and kept weaving in and out of consciousness and he seemed to be spewing blood from everywhere. It was the most gruesome scene I had seen up close in quite some time. And yet, if we had simply ignored him and not come to his aide he might be dead.

We learned today he had a broken nose, 3 broken ribs, a broken collar bone, jaw and was internally hemorrhaging. I am so glad that we decided to stay home instead of go out for pizza, like we had planned.

Are Schools Killing Our Creativity?

In Emotional Intelligence on January 22, 2009 at 7:37 am

Check out this video presentation below given by creativiity expert, Sir Ken Robinson. It is 20 minutes long and WELL WORTH listening to.

Sir Ken Robinson is an internationally recognized leader in the development of creativity, innovation and human resources. He has worked with governments in Europe, Asia and the USA, with international agencies, Fortune 500 companies, and some of the world’s leading cultural organizations. In 1998, he led a national commission on creativity, education and the economy for the UK Government. All Our Futures: Creativity, Culture and Education (The Robinson Report) was published to wide acclaim in 1999. He was the central figure in developing a strategy for creative and economic development as part of the Peace Process in Northern Ireland, working with the ministers for training, education enterprise and culture. The resulting blueprint for change, Unlocking Creativity, was adopted by politicians of all parties and by business, education and cultural leaders across the Province. He was one of four international advisors to the Singapore Government for its strategy to become the creative hub of South East Asia.

Adam Shames on his new blog wrote about a conversation he had with Ken at a recent presentation he gave here in Chicago at Columbia College. The remainder of this post is from Adam Shames blog Innovation on my Mind.

As part of the Columbia College Chicago “Conversations in the Arts” in December, I talked to Sir Ken Robinson about the need for building creativity competencies in education and organizations. He shared with the audience two main points:

1. That we live in unprecedented times, revolutionary even, which have no historical precedent and that need creative approaches to address our challenges
2. That we have to think differently about our natural capacities—that we have a crisis of human resources and now is the time to tap our own resources more effectively.

According to Sir Ken “the great adventure of America” has thrived on its “multiplicity of talents” and that “like natural resources, human talents our buried deep” and must be uncovered. Too many of us are disconnected from what we are good at doing and love to do, and education’s challenge is to help each person access their great talents.

To do that, Sir Ken said we need more than reform: we need to transform education. U.S. education, like many systems around the world, is still stuck in an “industrial mindset,” sending students through a linear progression of subjects and skills, hoping they pop out at the end of the assembly line to be properly employed. But the world doesn’t work that way anymore. Even a college education is no assurance of a job, so the “economic ideology” behind education is no longer relevant.

Teachers should be hired to teach students, he says, not subjects, and our main goal should be to uncover and unleash the natural talents each of us has. I’m looking forward to reading his new book about talent, The Element, coming out this month.

Who Owns Ideas?

In Art, Cooking & Food, Fashion, Health & Wellness, Music, Risk, The Idea, Theater/Film, Writing on January 21, 2009 at 11:28 am

This interesting article about intellectual property rights was written by Linda Naiman and appeared on The Creativity at Work Blog Jan 6, 2009 Besides providing arts based consulting, coaching and training to corporations, higher education, and governmental agencies, Linda is also an accomplished artist and sells her work online. The image just below is one Linda painted. For more of Linda’s art work click here.
lightbulb-target120A friend offered to download movies free from the internet for our viewing pleasure, and at first I thought that was dandy, but then I thought of all the creatives who wouldn’t be paid a royalty, so I opted instead to rent.

CBC Radio has produced a show on the subject of copyright and the debate on who owns ideas. Jim Lebans, a producer with CBC Radio’s Quirks and Quarks, looks at the tangled world of intellectual property and how the digital age is challenging ideas about who owns our culture:

In the era of the Internet we’re facing a crisis around the new reality of intellectual property and copyright. These legal rights were established over hundreds of years to reward creators of ideas, but at the same time preserve and protect the public’s right to access and make use of the expression of ideas.

But slow expansion of the laws of intellectual property through the 20th century, and more recently the emergence of new digital technologies, the Internet in particular, have upset the delicate balance between the rights of creators and the rights of the public.

Copyright law has been changed, again and again, in what many perceive as an expansion of the rights and control of the emerging “content industries.” Copyright law today covers more kinds of expression, lasts considerably longer, and comes with considerably more stringent enforcement than it has in the past.

The challenges to Intellectual property rights have expanded as well. While in the past the tools of copyright infringement were industrial – printing presses or record-pressing facilities, today they’re available on every desktop. Writing, music, movies, television, indeed every form of communication and expression can be digitized, and perfect copies distributed without limit. As a result the digital revolution has been perceived as a nightmare to the owners of creative property.

This might seem to clearly justify an expansion of IP law and its enforcement, but many critics of the direction IP law has taken disagree. They suggest that the opportunities that digital technologies present, and the abilities they give to ordinary people to make use of cultural material creatively is too valuable to be sacrificed.

This tension has become known as the copyfight, and it’s ultimately a dispute about who owns ideas.

What Services Does Creativity at Work Provide?
Creativity at Work (TM) is a consulting, coaching and training alliance at the forefront of transformational change, through creativity and innovation.

Creativity at Work is a consulting, coaching and training alliance at the forefront of transformational change. We help organizations accelerate business performance through arts-based training, coaching and research-based consulting. Associates include experts from North America, Europe, Australia and Asia to provide you with world-class resources for keynotes, corporate retreats, conference presentations, and consulting.

About Linda Naiman
ln06sm1Linda Naiman is founder of, co-author of Orchestrating Collaboration at Work, and an associate business coach at the University of British Columbia. She is recognized internationally for pioneering arts-based learning for business, using of art as a catalyst for developing creativity, innovation, and collaborative leadership in organizations. She has been featured in The Vancouver Sun, The Globe and Mail,, and Canadian Business Magazine. Clients include Fortune 500 companies, public sector organizations and boutique consultancies in North America, Europe and Asia.

Chicago Classical Artist- Center Stage at Obama’s Inauguration

In Current Events, Music on January 20, 2009 at 6:04 am

I know Anthony McGill. I knew him way before he won a single audition. Anthony I am so proud of you!

This article was written By DANIEL J. WAKIN
Published: January 18, 2009 in the New York Times
Yes, the inauguration — but first, the music. In the moments before Barack Obama is sworn in as president and delivers his Inaugural Address on Tuesday, another South Side Chicagoan will produce eloquence, of a musical kind.

He is Anthony McGill, a clarinetist who will join the violinist Itzhak Perlman, the cellist Yo-Yo Ma and the pianist Gabriela Montero. They will play a piece composed for the occasion by John Williams, perhaps best known for his film scores and pops conducting.

Mr. McGill, 29, was plucked from the ranks of the Metropolitan Opera Orchestra, where he is one of two principal clarinetists, by Mr. Ma, who was asked to help organize the performance.

“It’s the most wonderful opportunity, obviously, I’ve ever gotten in my life,” Mr. McGill said at a breakfast interview in an Upper West Side cafe near his home a week before the inauguration. “It’s just great to be part of something like this, as a person, as an American, as a musician.”

He continued, “If my life as a musician is about reaching out to people, being able to communicate music to the world and to people on my small scale — my clarinet playing — this is obviously such a gift.”

A month after receiving the invitation, Mr. McGill still seemed a little stunned. “I thought they were going to say, ‘Sorry,’ ” he said. Even when he saw his name on the news release, “I was like, ‘That’s crazy.’ ”

Mr. McGill is not a world-famous soloist like Mr. Perlman or Mr. Ma; the Met is only his second job, which he took four years ago after a stint as the associate principal and E flat clarinetist in the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra. But he has quietly come to be recognized among colleagues for his sensitive playing and refined musicianship.

Those qualities stood out for Mr. Ma eight years ago, when he and Mr. McGill played Messiaen’s “Quatuor Pour la Fin du Temps” (“Quartet for the End of Time”) in Japan. “I was so struck just by his artistry,” Mr. Ma said in a telephone interview. “I thought, ‘Oh my gosh, I really want to play with him again.’ ”

Mr. Ma said he recalled that sentiment when the organizers of the inauguration asked him and Mr. Perlman to put together an ensemble.

He noted that the group consisted of the same instrumentation as the Messiaen piece. The Williams work, however, “will be more like ‘Quartet for the Next Four Minutes,’ ” he said.

The piece evokes the music of Copland, who is said to be a favorite of Mr. Obama’s. “We wanted something that could reference America, the president-elect’s fondness for Copland, something that’s both uplifting and solemn, that traverses time but is also quintessentially American,” Mr. Ma said.

The musicians began rehearsing on Tuesday. They were not just thinking about the notes, but also about how to keep warm during the inauguration. Long underwear and hand warmers were on the agenda.

Mr. McGill is a product of the Merit Music School, a 30-year-old community program established to fill the gap in music education in Chicago schools. He attributes much of his success to that program.

His father is a retired deputy fire commissioner; his mother recently found a new career as an actress after retiring as an art teacher. His older brother, Demarre, now the principal flutist of the San Diego Symphony, was an important influence and role model, he said.

Anthony McGill attended the Whitney M. Young Magnet High School, Michelle Obama’s alma mater, and finished high school at the Interlochen Arts Academy in Interlochen, Mich. He moved on to the elite Curtis Institute of Music in Philadelphia for his bachelor’s degree, immediately winning the job in Cincinnati after graduation.

The McGills are among the few principal wind players in a major orchestra who are African-American, a distinction noteworthy in a field with far fewer people of color than other areas of American life.

Mr. McGill said that he recognized and valued the contribution of older African-Americans who integrated American orchestras. After encountering Norman Johns, a member of the Cincinnati cello section who is also African-American, Mr. McGill said, “I looked in Norman’s eyes when I walked in, and I could see how proud he was of me.” But like other African-American musicians of his generation, he does not wake up every day and think about his role. “If you’re a musician, you play music,” he said.

After the breakfast interview, Mr. McGill headed to Lincoln Center for a rehearsal with the center’s Chamber Music Society. The group plunged into the sextet for piano and winds by Poulenc, to be performed in concert at the Rose Studio in Manhattan later that week.

Mr. McGill played sitting back in his seat. He moved his upper body in sympathy with the angular, jerky rhythms, adding unexpected dynamic inflections and blending or deftly emerging when his part called for it. He watched his colleagues when they had solos, at one point rubbing the floor with his foot to signify praise for a passage by Peter Kolkay, the bassoonist.

Though Mr. McGill did not guide the rehearsal, he did speak out occasionally. He also took some good-natured ribbing about his next gig. Stephen Taylor, the group’s oboist, chanted, “You’re getting ready for the inauguration!” to a march tempo and told him that once on the inaugural stage, “You have to take requests.”

A Call to the Arts and Congratulations President Obama!

In Creative Support on January 20, 2009 at 4:58 am


A call for President-elect Barack Obama to give the arts and humanities a Cabinet-level post — perhaps even create a secretary of culture — is gaining momentum.

By yesterday, 76,000 people had signed an online petition, started by two New York musicians who were inspired by producer Quincy Jones. In a radio interview in November, Jones said the country needed a minister of culture, like France, Germany or Finland has. And he said he would “beg” Obama to establish the post.

To be part of the call for a US Secretary of the Arts, go to:

This article was written by By Gloria Goodale | Staff writer of The Christian Science Monitor
from the January 16, 2009 edition

LOS ANGELES – While the Obama transition team works on headline issues such as the economy and the conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan, a small but cautiously hopeful cadre of arts groups, arts educators, and artists from Los Angeles to Philadelphia and beyond is nursing the quiet hope that creativity will find its place beside the sterner faces of war and recession on the Jan. 20 White House to-do list.

The incoming president himself has steadily fed such hopes. Barack Obama enters office with the first-ever presidential arts platform drafted during the campaign. While it lists eight strategies, including increased funds for the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA), the three top priorities are:

•Expanding public/private partnerships between schools and arts organizations

•Creating an Artists Corps

•Publicly championing the importance of arts education

“The mere existence of a cultural policy platform is an amazing thing, a good thing,” says Richard Kessler, executive director of The Center for Arts Education of New York City. “Nothing like it existed before in the history of our country.”

The new president’s commitment to the arts comes partially from his own experience. “When I was a kid,” he told a crowd in Wallingford, Pa., on April 2, “you always had an art teacher and a music teacher. Even in the poorest school districts, everyone had access to music and other arts.” While this preceded research on such well-known modern concepts as the “Mozart effect” – which details how the study of music enhances mental performance – a certain common sense reigned. “People understood that even though they hadn’t done all the scientific research,” Mr. Obama added, “children who learn music actually do better in math and kids whose imaginations are sparked by the arts are more engaged in school.”

Expect the White House to host a steady stream of artists, including jazz and classical musicians as well as poetry readings.

“Our art, our culture,” the president-elect told anchor Tom Brokaw on “Meet the Press,” on Dec. 15, “that’s the essence of what makes America special, and we want to make as much of that as possible in the White House.”

Perhaps nothing has attracted as much interest as the proposed Artists Corps, a national service concept that, much like the Peace Corps, would draft legions of young talent into service across the nation’s schools and arts organizations.

“The Arts Corps idea couldn’t have come at a better time,” says Richard Burrows, director of Arts Education for the Los Angeles Unified School District. Up until the recent economic woes rippling through every community in the United States, including Sacramento’s recently announced $41.6 billion state budget deficit, the nation’s second largest school district was steadily increasing school arts funding – from $6 million in 1999 to $53 million this past year. Now, says Mr. Burrows, everything is up in the air, including a portion of the $8 million budget for a program that brings arts organizations into the schools, the Arts Community Network Partnership.

Many cash-strapped communities are eyeing the Artists Corps as one new opportunity during the tough times ahead. “We may all have to come up with fresh ideas about how to do the things we want to do,” Burrows adds.

Three time zones to the east, the nation’s largest community arts educational institution, Settlement Music School, serves 15,000 students on six campuses near Philadelphia and New Jersey. Seven percent of its nearly $9 million budget comes from the public sector, says director Robert Capanna. But the relationship sends a strong message. “It functions like seed money,” says Mr. Capanna, “which galvanizes the donor community and sends a message about values and priorities.”

As public schools have cut their arts budgets, he says arts groups across the country find the demand for their services to be nearly insatiable. The nation faces grave challenges but “the arts can be part of the solution,” he says, adding that creativity and innovation are the key to the nation’s future competitiveness.

Arts advocates are quick to point out that support for the arts is sound fiscal policy. Federal tax revenues generated by the activities of the not-for-profit arts sector alone total nearly $12 billion annually, says Robert Lynch, president and CEO of Americans for the Arts. That figure is in addition to the for-profit multibillion dollar entertainment industries which are some of the nation’s most important exports, he adds. Mr. Lynch was part of the advisory board that helped draft the initial arts platform during the primaries. Candidate Obama was the only contender who expanded upon the basic outline his working group provided, he says.

“Obama took the idea and built on it, coming up with the idea of the Artists Corps,” adds Lynch.

There are many tools to help the arts within a potential stimulus package, points out arts analyst Roland Kushner, assistant professor of business at Muhlenberg College in Allentown, Pa. When the General Services Administration contracts for a new building, for instance, it can allocate money for public art. Funding for arts comes under Congress’s discretionary monies, he points out, and while federal support for arts and culture has remained steady at roughly $2 billion over the past decade (this allocation includes the NEA, the National Endowment for the Humanities, and the Corporation for Public Broadcasting), it has shrunk drastically as an overall percentage of the budget, which has grown.

Perhaps the most effective role Obama can play in the immediate future is to mount the bully pulpit and lead by example. “Take Malia and Sasha to the museum,” says Mr. Kushner, “or show them having music lessons in the White House.”

To view the platform, go to

The Shack: A DIY Author’s Success

In Entrepreneurial Tool Box, Marketing, Money, Risk, Writing on January 19, 2009 at 1:46 am

Another story about how “they said it couldn’t be done”…..
Written by Karen Hunter,
theshack‘The Shack’ sold more than four million copies-one of the biggest hits of the year. But what many don’t know is that the publisher sold about a million copies of the best seller out of his garage in California. After submitting the manuscript to 20 different major publishers, both mainstream and Christian, and getting 20 rejection letters, Brad Cummings, along with his partner Wayne Jacobsen, who has had several works published by mainstream publishers, decided to print the book themselves.

“It was a little too much Jesus for the mainstream publishers and too edgy for the [Christian] publishers, but we knew it was fine just the way it was and we didn’t want to change it,” said Cummings. “Wayne had grown tired of the publishing industry because it was in the same old rut. I was actually hoping no one would buy it because I didn’t want to just give this away.”

Without any advertising, very limited marketing, but with a whole lot of faith, Cummings and Jacobsen went to a small printer nearby, printed 10,000 copies and were in business, launching Windblown Media. Their marketing? A podcast,, which they hosted weekly and talked about God and things that mattered to them. About three years ago, they started talking about this book they were working on and their audience, about 8,000 strong, showed a great interest in the project. Cummings and Jacobsen had 1,000 pre-orders before they even finished the book and they sold out the 10,000 first print-run in less than three months. ”

“It was like that commercial where someone tells two friends and they tell two friends and so on,” said Cummings. “It was all word of mouth. Our listeners were the best PR reps we could find. And we didn’t have to spend a dime to get the message out there. For a year and a half we were unintentionally teasing people about this book. When it finally was out, people really wanted it. But more than that, they wanted everyone they knew to read it, too.”

Cummings and Jacobsen started selling ‘The Shack’ by the caseload and had to expand their operations and move it from the study in Cummings’ home to his garage, which was filled to the hilt with cases of books.

“This is the quintessential Cinderella story,” said Cummings. “It frightens some of the big publishers because they say, ‘Oh, my Gosh, they don’t need us!’ We’re not the new gurus on the block. We don’t have an explanation for this other than this message resonates deep inside of people.”

The story is about one man who experienced a tragedy and questions the existence of God. He receives a letter in the mail from “Papa,” which is the name his wife uses for God. Papa wants to meet him at a shack. He decides to go and what he finds is a whole new understanding of God.

“One of the coolest responses we got was from a 13-year-old girl who told us that the way she read her Bible she never measured up,” Cummings said. “She never really felt that God loved her. But after reading ‘The Shack’ she fell in love with Papa and now has a brand new understanding of the Bible. ‘The Shack’ has led her into her own conversational relationship with God.”

‘The Shack’s message is definitely inspiring, but the story of its success should also be encouraging to anyone who has a great story to tell and cannot get a mainstream publisher to publish it. Have faith. And do it yourself!

Eastman School of Music grad Maria Schneider jazzes up her musicianship with a keen business sense

In Interesting Articles, Leadership, Music on January 18, 2009 at 8:00 pm

Hey Eastman Institute for Music Leadership thanks for the great plug! It really is all about community!

Written by ANNA REGUERO • STAFF WRITER for The Democrat and Chronical • JANUARY 18, 2009
bildeI have such nostalgia for that school,” says Maria Schneider about the Eastman School of Music, where she received a master’s degree in 1985, studying closely with Bill Dobbins and Rayburn Wright. “It was just higher learning at its best. I worked so hard there.”

But Eastman wasn’t easy for Schneider, who did her prior studies at the University of Minnesota and University of Miami. She was rejected the first time she applied.

“I really, really appreciated it when I did get in,” she remembers. “I think one of the most valuable things about the school, the level of the musicianship is just so high. When you’re around other musicians striving and everyone’s at a high level, it just pushes everyone higher.”

Schneider returns to Eastman on Friday to perform a concert with her 18-piece jazz orchestra — the same band from her two Grammy-winning recordings — as a benefit to help deserving young jazz musicians afford tuition at Eastman. A number of Eastman graduates are members of her band, including Charles Pillow (alto saxophone), Rich Perry (tenor saxophone) and Gary Versace (accordion).

Schneider, who can’t help but speak openly about her insecurities, remembers fearing disappointment during her time at Eastman; she wanted to prove that she was worthy of being accepted to the school.

I think you can rest easy now, Maria.

Schneider’s musical voice has become unmistakable. Her compositions are mostly through-composed with specific solo sections, meaning that her music is written out much like a classical composition, rather than simply a head melody with chords. Yet the music remains within a complex jazz vocabulary and allows for areas of improvisation, using all the available sounds in a jazz orchestra. Her compositions are large works rather than merely tunes.

Most noticeable is that they’re melody-driven. Schneider creates unique beauty and expression through her warm-bodied compositions.

Since Schneider’s school days, she’s become more than just a composer of some of the most original big-band music out there. She’s also become a symbol of entrepreneurship, a hot topic now for the next generation of musicians.

After ditching a record company for fear of losing the rights to her own creative material, her 2004 recording Concert in the Garden was the first recording to win a Grammy (best large jazz ensemble recording) without in-store distribution; instead, it was dispersed solely over the Internet.

Using the same method, her composition “Cerulean Skies” (from Sky Blue), a piece inspired by bird watching, where bird calls fold into an atmospheric dreamscape, won a 2008 Grammy for best jazz composition.

Schneider was the guinea pig for a Web site called ArtistShare, which allows artists to not only sell their finished recordings but also documents the making of the project. Those who want a CD become participants who pay for different levels of access to Schneider and her creative process and ultimately fund the recording along the way. At the highest levels, for example, a fan could meet Schneider and even witness a recording session.

It’s Schneider’s willingness to try out an uncharted business model that’s brought her as much fame as her breathtaking compositions.

At Eastman, Schneider will also be a featured conference speaker in “Preparing the Generation-E Musician: The Place of Entrepreneurship in Higher Education Music School Curriculum.” The conference, which runs Thursday through Saturday, invites music school leaders from around the country for timely workshops.

“She’s the poster child for this with all the work she’s done with ArtistShare,” says Ramon Ricker, the director for Eastman’s Institute for Music Leadership. “I think this Internet thing where she is actually connecting with her audience by allowing them to be in the process with her, she has the kind of personality that can do that.”

Schneider advocates for musicians to be more than one-trick ponies. “Classical music and jazz, all these forces in schools need to come together,” Schneider says, giving her advice to schools. “The musical world out there is becoming integrated and eclectic.”

It would make sense, then, that Schneider’s latest entrepreneurial and musical risk has been crossing over to classical music. She was commissioned to write a piece for the soprano Dawn Upshaw and the Saint Paul Chamber Orchestra called “Carlos Drummond de Andrade Stories,” which received a performance in October.

“Originally I was really scared,” she admits. “How am I going to bring my voice to the classical world? I’ve heard lots of jazz people write classical music and suddenly you wouldn’t know it’s the same person.”

Once she started writing, she realized how easily her ideas translate to classical music — the intricate harmonies, the counterpoint and especially her keen sense for melody. The hardest task was writing for voice.

Schneider has been known for her use of vocalese, where the singer sings a pitch without words, masked as another instrument in the texture.

“The next transition was writing for words,” she says. “I was surprised to find out that I love it. My initial thought was, it’s hard enough to write music; how am I going to write with this extra limitation on it?”

The musicians, she says, seemed to be taken aback with the freedom of expression she asked for, including Upshaw, who works with a number of contemporary composers.

“I’m not even talking about her improvising, just going ahead and behind the beats,” says Schneider. “It shocked her that I would give her that liberty.”

She expects to work more with Upshaw on future projects. She’ll also be doing a good dose of classical composition, as she’s just accepted a commission from the Kronos Quartet. She’s also in talks with Peter Sellars about writing a staged theater work.

“Everything is a first,” she says. “The thing I learned from the Dawn Upshaw thing was to just jump off a limb and do something different.”

Are You Interested in Contributing to Building the ETA Community?

In ENTREPRENEUR THE ARTS on January 17, 2009 at 11:48 pm

dreamstime_85940The entire Entrepreneur The Arts site is in the process of being reconstructed, again! In April, 09 we will have a brand new website that will include a member only FREE resource center, (for the price of your contact information) offering you access to an ever growing number of arts entrepreneurship resources- 400 to start. The center will include sections on conferences and workshops, links to webinars and articles by subject category, information about who’s out there already doing individual coaching, what institutions of higher education are offering arts entrepreneurship training, granting organization sources for your start-up, recommended books to help you on your journey and overall general support. Could there be more? We hope- so additionally, we will also be rolling out a monthly webinar series featuring artists at all different levels, and from all different points of view, on their entrepreneurial journey. Oh, and we’ll be offering podcast interviews too.

While the name, logo and mission for this site began as a result of my own vision, it is clear, based on comments and readership, we are becoming an online community.

My vision for Entrepreneur The Arts is for it to become a deep resource for anyone, from any artistic disciple, who is interested in knowing more about artistic entrepreneurial development, social entrepreneurship and connecting with others who have similar interests. It’s going to take a village to create the kind of momentum required to transform society’s thinking, as well as our own, as to how we truly CAN contribute to changing the world in new ways.

The expression of our artistry through the tool of our individual art forms, which we have invested heavily in learning how to use, only represents part of how we can use our creativity. We owe it ourselves to continue to creatively evolve, as “creative professionals”, and continue to learn how we can also use our artistry as a catalyst to innovatively help solve our world-problems.


Because the kinds of problems the world has right now REQUIRE the kind of creativity we have in abundance, regardless of how narrowly it has been, up until now, developed. We simply must learn how to evolve it into something far more valuable, not only for us individually to finally financially benefit from, but also for the needs of the world to tangibly benefit from.

Please don’t misunderstand what I am really saying: I love to play the clarinet for an audience! I think concerts, theater, and whatever you would call “live-art-experiences” are VITAL to the world. How else would our audiences receive the majority of their experiential education- EQ development- but through the living breathing world of alive-art, through the humanities at large? I simply think WE are too quickly forgotten in our “ADD world”. We need to create an abundance of life changing experiences that are made to make lasting impressions. The kind that are positive, innovative and make the world a better place.

Your creativity is potent and powerful once you understand how to tap into it and let it flow through how you live and all you do.

Entrepreneurship training for artists– the embodiment of the proper development and training of the entrepreneurial ethos in particular– in itself is a bridge to an ingenuity gap on two fronts. One by changing the views of society about the true value of the arts, which will finally open up the door for artists to receive not only the recognition but also the financial rewards their creativity deserves, and secondly by developing and taping into a rich under utilized creative resource which the world needs now more than ever to again thrive.

I realize I can never share my vision in a few words, forgive my passions for hanging out all over the place, but for those of you who are called to action I need your help now in a bigger way.

To continue to move towards this valuable mission, I need the addition of three to five new bloggers- new voices and perspectives- who are willing to commit to a minimum of one post every other week for a minimum of one year. Yes, I realize this is a commitment but there are MANY benefits that come your way for contributing time and energy to ETA too.

Not only will your contribution be of tremendous value to supporting the development of the hopes, dreams and aspirations of others, but it is also a great way to draw attention to the evolution of your own creative entrepreneurial journey and vision, even if you have yet to begin. Oh, and did I mention this is a brand new market? You can be a trail blazer too! But seriously, for these very reasons, building an audience for your vision is going to take time in any emerging market. This is an opportunity to test your wings and grow interest in your ideas and aspirations inside a community of like minded individuals.

Now having said that, you might also be a teacher and wanting to share the journey of your students or you might be an administrator or business owner trying to figure out how to advance creativity inside your school or organization. I am so glad you “get-it” and are leading the way into 21st Century Thinking. You see we need all of these perspectives because they will provide tremendous value to the readership here at ETA too.

So, if you are interested in contributing to the ETA blog please contact me, yours truly, If you know someone who might be, please take a moment and pass this post on. And if by chance you don’t feel quite ready to blog just yet, but you have a suggestion or comments about what else you would like to see on the new website, please share. And lastly, if you are on the fence about entering the competition, this post is 1135 words, so you get to write less!

This site is about building a community of diverse artistic perspectives who rally around a common cause: to create more valuable career paths for artists, by exploring new ways to innovate through artistry, to provide a measurable benefit to society. I truly believe that we as a group have the intellectual capacity and creativity, but just lack a deep understanding of how to live the entrepreneurial ethos. Trust me, you can learn how to. You can also learn how to teach it, once you do.

So far, this site has grown entirely by your word of mouth. We have over 500 readers daily so far. I am proud of what only together we have accomplished up to this point. With your help, we CAN dramatically increase awareness and hopefully by doing so change the attitudes and perceptions of the value of this work in higher education, through out society and most importantly for the realities of future generations of artists to come.


Bridging the Ingenuity Gap with a Carrot?

In Art, Cooking & Food, Creative Support, Emotional Intelligence, Entrepreneurial Evolution, Entrepreneurial Tool Box, Leadership, Music on January 15, 2009 at 10:34 am

How could you inexpensively contribute to reducing the growing epidemic of childhood obesity while simultaneously offering low income children, who lead statistically in childhood obesity, an instrument to learn how to play music?

If your not sure of the answer then watch this You Tube video. For the price of a carrot, and the use of a drill, well known Australian musician, instrument maker , composer, musical director and community music facilitator Linsey Pollak has found a creative solution, to me, for both of these two problems simultaneously by using his entrepreneurial creativity.

His solution: turn the carrot into a musical instrument and then what the heck- you might as well eat the carrot for lunch don’t you think? Play Carrot Music- Eat Carrot, Yum-Repeat Often

How much easier it might become for artists to contribute to bridging the gap to some of our most challenging world problems, if only we would teach the development of an entrepreneurial mindset alongside of artistic excellence. Tomorrow I need another carrot. Do you have one?

What is the ingenuity gap?
Scholar Thomas Homer Dixon describes the “ingenuity gap” – the space between problems that arise and our ability to solve them – as growing today at an alarming rate (in business, scientific research, education, the environment and world affairs). Author Ken Robinson proclaims we are “Out of Our Minds” to have sidelined creativity and the arts when every layer of American society from elementary education to supply-side economics is starved for more imagination, more original thinking, and more creative intelligence.

Singing a New Tune in Support of Music Entrepreneurship

In Current Events, Interesting Articles on January 14, 2009 at 12:47 am

This article was written by David Moltz and appeared on Jan 12, 09 in Inside Higher Education.

As someone who has been in the “trench” with artists trying to help them develop an entrepreneurial mindset since 1986, when there were only 16,000 college students across the country talking about entrepreneurship inside the best business schools, I have waited a long time to see these kinds of articles be written! This article makes my heart sing.

Professional musicians are not typically thought of as entrepreneurs. Given the difficulty of a career in the fine arts, however, most of them need to pick up the skills of one to survive and flourish. In addition to performing, most musicians dabble in teaching, administration and business. Instead of leaving their graduates to cobble these skills together into a functional career, some music schools are now embedding entrepreneurship in their traditional curriculums in an effort to make their students more
business savvy.

Later this month, the Eastman School of Music at the University of Rochester will host a three-day workshop, in which a number of music schools will participate, entitled “Preparing the Generation-E Musician.” The
workshop will explore the place of entrepreneurship in higher education music school curriculums. This discussion comes at a time when many music schools are hoping to ease their graduates’ transition into a world where itis increasingly hard for fine arts majors to make a living.

In recent years, a number of music schools have developed additional academic programs to give students more practical skills to market their talents. The University of Colorado at Boulder, for example, started its
Entrepreneurship Center for Music in 1998, while the University of South Carolina opened the Carolina Institute for Leadership & Engagement in Music in 2007 and has just recently started a search for its founding director. Elsewhere, schools that have emphasized entrepreneurship in the past are redoubling their efforts. Eastman is planning to open a Center for Music Innovation, complete with a business school-like project incubator.

Heidi Neck, professor of entrepreneurship at Babson College, in suburban Boston, said programs encouraging entrepreneurship have recently expanded from business and other professional schools to more liberal arts institutions. In recent years, the Kauffman Foundation has been spurring the growth of these programs by providing music schools such as Eastman and other non-business institutions with funds to integrate the skills of marketing individual talent into their curriculum.

“People equate entrepreneurship and business with profit,” said Neck, who will lead the Eastman workshop and advises music schools on how to create such programs. “Sometimes I have professors tell me, ‘Every time you say profit it makes me want to take a shower.’ We have to figure out what we mean by profit. But, with anything you do in life, you have to generate revenue. At the end of the day, it’s all about value creation. Just because you’re a fantastic cellist doesn’t mean you have the ability to make the most of your talent and make a career.”

It is essential, Neck said, to convince music faculty that such skills are worthy additions to their school’s curriculum. She added that if some faculty view entrepreneurship and business-related coursework as tainting the craft of performance, students might perceive it in a similar way. Liberal arts institutions that take on this new curriculum, however, she says, have to be careful.

“I worry that sometimes these schools are saying they’re adopting entrepreneurship but are really adopting business basics, such as just how to write grants and how to file taxes,” Neck said. “Business fundamentals are essential but not all you need. If you’re really going to teach entrepreneurship, then you’re going to have to teach opportunity creation and not just the day-to-day activities.”

An ideal music course focusing on entrepreneurship, Neck said, would be case-based and analyze either successful businesses or individuals within the music industry, showing students how other musicians have marketed their talents. Alternatively, instead of providing independent courses for music students to take, she said it would also be possible and more seamless to integrate the lessons of entrepreneurship within traditional music curriculum. How exactly this could be accomplished in the music classroom, she said, is a matter for debate among the music school attendees at the workshop, as she herself is a business school professor. In many ways, she said, embedding these skills might require something akin to a culture change for many conservative and performance-centric institutions.

The Curtis Institute of Music in Philadelphia requires all upperclassmen on track to earn a performance diploma or enrolled in a degree program to take two courses on entrepreneurship, said Mary Kinder Loiselle, director of community engagement and career development services.One of the courses, “The 21st Century Musician,” covers everything from creating a press kit and personal biography to working with taxes and becoming a freelance musician, she said. “Foundations of Engagement” focuses on outreach training and instructs students on topics as varied as how to properly speak from the stage to how to court donors.

“We’re still very clearly focusing on the performing musician,” Loiselle said of Curtis. “But this will help enhance their skill set and shape the career they want. Number one is being the finest musician that you can be, and the rest is how to make that work for you professionally. For me, when I teach, I instruct my students how to develop what they have into their own package. They don’t need it to get a job, but they need it to have a fulfilling job.”

In addition to the implementation of these new requirements, Curtis recently opened its office of Career Development Services. Loiselle said the office is different from those found at traditional undergraduate institutions. Instead of simply housing a job bank, its office counsels students about what they might be able to accomplish with their particular skills. For example, a student skilled in marketing as well as playing an instrument could run a themed music festival, or a student known to engage audiences particularly well could help work with his or her orchestra on a development project. This is helpful, she said, in directing students to alternative careers and opportunities outside of performing, such as managing a smaller ensemble or running a summer performance festival.

At Eastman, the idea of entrepreneurship in music is not altogether new. It began offering courses with titles like “Business for Musicians” in the 1970s and founded its Institute for Music Leadership in 2001. Currently, the institute offers its students about 25 courses in what it calls its Arts Leadership Curriculum. The courses range from digital portfolio creation and intellectual property law to grant writing and one called “How to win an orchestral audition.”

Ramon Ricker, who directs the institute and is working on a book entitled “Lessons from a Street-Wise Professor: What You Won’t Learn at Most Music Schools,” said Eastman has decided not to require these entrepreneurial courses of students, in order to leave them more freedom in course selection. He noted, however, that these programs are very popular among students and gaining acceptance among faculty, some of whom had worried the school’s performance degree programs might suffer from the inclusion of these courses.

“Although there wasn’t a lot of overt resistance, we did get some,” Ricker said of the introduction of the new curriculum. “We’re not trying to make music entrepreneurs. We’re trying to make musicians who have some entrepreneurial skills. When the faculty found out that we’re not going to dilute performance, there was nothing to argue about.”

The Institute for Music Leadership at Eastman has been received so well among students and faculty that the school recently approved a proposal for the creation of a Center for Music Innovation. The school plans to develop a new certificate in music innovation, centering curriculum on existing Arts Leadership courses within Eastman. Additionally, the new center would host a “music company/project incubator.” Like similar models at business schools, the incubator would use business contacts as well as Eastman faculty and resources to help shape student ideas into “viable companies.”

For example, Ricker cited the latest winner of the school’s “New Venture Challenge,” a contest not unlike the incubator they are about to create in which a student’s music business idea is picked for its viability. The winning student developed an idea to sell tuxedo tails to performance students, who often enter school without proper concert attire. The incubator, Ricker said, would take this student’s idea and give him the resources to get it off the ground.

In additional to calming the concerns of the parents of music school students, who often worry about the value of their son or daughter’s education, Ricker said the new entrepreneurial coursework and projects have intrigued alumni. He added that he often gets letters of support from graduates, expressing their regret at not having had similar opportunities while they were in music school.

“As we say, you can’t make a living playing the piano,” Ricker said. “You can make a living teaching piano. Still, we’re teaching students how to tap into different income streams. This set of courses can bridge the ivory town and the real world and help our graduates have better traction out there. It’s an idea whose time has come.”

Grant Institute’s Grant Workshops 2009: BUYER BEWARE!

In Current Events on January 13, 2009 at 2:03 am

Please check out the following links and read the comments below this post before going even one step further!!

The Grant Institute’s Grants 101: Professional Grant Proposal Writing Workshop will be holding a number of workshops in various cities over the next three months. A list of cities and dates is listed below.

Interested development professionals, researchers, faculty, and graduate students should register as soon as possible, as demand means that seats will fill up quickly. Please forward, post, and distribute this e-mail to your colleagues and listservs.

All participants will receive certification in professional grant writing from the Institute. For more information call: 888-824-4424 or visit The Grant Institute at

Please find the program description below:

The Grant Institute’s Grants 101 course is an intensive and detailed introduction to the process, structure, and skill of professional proposal writing. This course is characterized by its ability to act as a thorough overview, introduction, and refresher at the same time. In this course, participants will learn the entire proposal writing process and complete the course with a solid understanding of not only the ideal proposal structure, but a holistic understanding of the essential factors, which determine whether or not a program gets funded. Through the completion of interactive exercises and activities, participants will complement expert lectures by putting proven techniques into practice. This course is designed for both the beginner looking for a thorough introduction and the intermediate looking for a refresher course that will strengthen their grant acquisition skills. This class, simply put, is designed to get results by creating professional grant proposal writers.

Participants will become competent program planning and proposal writing professionals after successful completion of the Grants 101 course. In three active and informative days, students will be exposed to the art of successful grant writing practices, and led on a journey that ends with a masterful grant proposal.

Grants 101 consists of three (3) courses that will be completed during the three-day workshop.

(1) Fundamentals of Program Planning

This course is centered on the belief that “it’s all about the program.” This intensive course will teach professional program development essentials and program evaluation. While most grant writing “workshops” treat program development and evaluation as separate from the writing of a proposal, this class will teach students the relationship between overall program planning and grant writing.

(2) Professional Grant Writing

Designed for both the novice and experienced grant writer, this course will make each student an overall proposal writing specialist. In addition to teaching the basic components of a grant proposal, successful approaches, and the do’s and don’ts of grant writing, this course is infused with expert principles that will lead to a mastery of the process. Strategy resides at the forefront of this course’s intent to illustrate grant writing as an integrated, multidimensional, and dynamic endeavor. Each student will learn to stop writing the grant and to start writing the story. Ultimately, this class will illustrate how each component of the grant proposal represents an opportunity to use proven techniques for generating support.

(3) Grant Research

At its foundation, this course will address the basics of foundation, corporation, and government grant research. However, this course will teach a strategic funding research approach that encourages students to see research not as something they do before they write a proposal, but as an integrated part of the grant seeking process. Students will be exposed to online and database research tools, as well as publications and directories that contain information about foundation, corporation, and government grant opportunities. Focusing on funding sources and basic social science research, this course teaches students how to use research as part of a strategic grant acquisition effort.

$597.00 tuition includes all materials and certificates.

Each student will receive:
*The Grant Institute Certificate in Professional Grant Writing
*The Grant Institute’s Guide to Successful Grant Writing
*The Grant Institute Grant Writer’s Workbook with sample proposals, forms, and outlines

Registration Methods

1) On-Line – Complete the online registration form at under Register Now. We’ll send your confirmation by e-mail.

2) By Phone – Call 888-824-4424 to register by phone. Our friendly Program Coordinators will be happy to assist you and answer your questions.

3) By E-mail – Send an e-mail with your name, organization, and basic contact information to and we will reserve your slot and send your Confirmation Packet.


Williamsburg, VA (January 12 – 14, 2009)

Pittsburgh, PA (January 21 – 23, 2009)

San Diego, CA (January 21 – 23, 2009)

New York, NY (January 26 – 28, 2009)

Des Moines, IA (January 26 – 28, 2009)

Portland, OR (January 28 –30, 2009)


Columbus, OH (February 2 – 4, 2009)

New Orleans, LA (February 11 – 13, 2009)

Honolulu, HI (February 11 – 13, 2009)

Boston, MA (February 18 – 20, 2009)

Chicago, IL (February 18 – 20, 2009)

Dover, NH (February 25 – 27, 2009)

Louisville, KY (February 25 – 27, 2009)


Charleston, SC (March 4 – 6, 2009)

Detroit, MI (March 11 – 13, 2009)

Burlington, VT (March 11 – 13, 2009)

Jacksonville, FL (March 16 – 18, 2009)

Las Vegas, NV (March 18 – 20, 2009)

Providence, RI (March 23 – 25, 2009)

Los Angeles, CA (March 23 – 25, 2009)

Omaha, NE (March 30 – April 1, 2009)

How to Build Your Brand Through the ETA Competition

In Entrepreneurial Artist Contest Contestants on January 12, 2009 at 1:55 am

To build a brand- an entrepreneurial identity that reflects the products and services you provide (or will soon provide) – others need to believe in you.

So how do you create this kind of emotionally positive connection to your audience?

I came up with the ETA contest in hopes of helping you begin to learn how to. Let me explain.

In any venture you begin, to initially and continuously draw in your potential client, you need both “features” and “benefits” to do so.

A feature of your product or service might be that you “brand” runs free competition for great prizes, writes interesting articles and offers free informational resources like book lists, free on-line business tools and more.

A benefit, on the other hand, is when you actually use or experience the services that “brand” provides and you receive a benefit, something tangible and concrete that is at least as valuable to you as the price you paid for it– but hopefully far more valuable to you than the sum you paid.

The difference between features and benefits is that a “feature” focus on what makes or defines the product, while the “benefit” focus on your experience of that product.

At any level, beginner entrepreneur (aka I have an idea I am willing to try!) to those in an advanced class (aka I am building my customer base daily,) your support base from day one must begin to grow by offering features and ultimately real benefits your customers’ experience that keep them coming back for more.

dreamstime_2794733Whatever level you are currently at, rallying support around your features and benefits is critical, not only to developing your business daily, but especially to your overall mental health, as Kelly Penick described in her recent post ” Stop and Reflect on YOU, for once…” Given the certainty of feeling fearful from time to time, and having moments of anxiety, which often are particularly high in the beginning, (when you least know how to cope with them because they seem unfamiliar) I can assure you votes of confidence are VERY important to beginning and sustaining your entrepreneurial evolution and journey.

So how can the contest help you begin to build your brand?

You may notice that one of the ways contestants for the ETA Competition are being evaluated is based on how much attention they draw to their post.

How are these contestants drawing attention to their posts? Are they posting links to the ETA site on their websites, on YouTube, Facebook, blogging about the contest and asking readers to read the post? What exactly are they doing to seek out potential votes of confidence for the features and benefits of their established or emerging brand?

Not only will studying what each of the contestants is doing give you some insight into what you might want to do, but it also might help you to recognize how much further you will get developing your ideas by asking for a little bit of support for what you are trying to accomplish.