Innovating Through Artistry

Archive for February, 2009|Monthly archive page

Innovation in the Arts: ArtPeace Inc.

In Leadership, WEBSITES & BLOGS on February 27, 2009 at 12:41 am

Thank you, MARK LEWIS from Strategic Ideas.Org for passing this along! There are many ways to bring the community together here at ETA. One of the ways you all can participate is by forwarding on websites, articles, blog posts that remind you of the issues that get bounced around here at ETA. Please keep sharing!

july4-2004-046_homeArtPeace, Inc. is a 501(c3) not-for-profit organization founded in Rochester , NY who is devoted to transforming education and creating social change by developing strengths in under served youth and adults, through the integration of arts, recreation, technology and entrepreneurship.

Kristin A. Rapp, LMSW, a social worker and therapist with a background in the arts conceived the idea for the organization based on her beliefs, that are also those of ETA, that we must envision a rise of the creative class in the 21st Century. We must create a generation of critical thinkers, innovators and responsible citizens of all ages who are prepared for life and work in a global community.

ArtPeace has seen tremendous growth since they became a not-for-profit organization in 2003. They went from being a “tribe of one”, providing creative arts therapy and producing public art works, to employing 90 youth and professionals in 2005, when they ran their first “young entrepreneurs” program.

The idea for ArtPeace came to Founder,Kristin A. Rapp, LMSW in 2000 when she was working with kids in foster care and figuring out that the traditional ways of handling problems in young people – counseling, medication and mainstream educational methods – were not as effective as they could be. These kinds of students needed to be engaged in productive activities that were meaningful to them with caring adults who could see their strengths.

ArtPeace was founded based on the premise that everyone is innately creative and that expression is the opposite of depression.

ArtPeace originated having therapeutic underpinnings and it continues to be the foundation of what they do. With their goal being to create healthy, well-adjusted and responsible young adults who elevate into peacemakers and agents of social change, they accomplish this through offering innovative education and youth employment that develops entrepreneurs, leaders and more effective workers.

“By targeting a person’s strengths, interests and dreams, ArtPeace helps young people see that they have a legacy to build and can craft their lives into something great because “all things are possible…” when they use their gifts and work hard.”

In fact, developing an entrepreneurial spirit is essential in a flattening world. In order to be employed and marketable in a global economy, young people will need to be creative and flexible individuals who can think on their feet, even if an opportunity is lost due to downsizing or outsourcing. Arts and technology skills further the rise of the “creative class.”

In addition, ArtPeace instills the “soft skills” that are needed in life and that employers are looking for. These include the ability to listen, communicate, make decisions, work collaboratively, be responsible to yourself and others, resolve conflicts and solve problems. They also build stepping stones to the “hard skills”, including using up-to-date technology and developing math and science skills, in creative ways.

“We want to develop individuals who take their civic responsibility seriously, give back to others and work together to make their community better, starting with themselves”.

Inside The Philosophy of ArtPeace
At ArtPeace, we don’t shy away from working with some of the most challenged youth, including chemically dependent, emotionally disturbed, mentally ill, developmentally disabled and those in the foster care and juvenile justice systems. We like to integrate low and high achieving youth. There are gifted and talented youth all along that spectrum and we realize that creativity is inherent for all. The arts and technology reach out to even the most isolated, nonverbal or troubled youth. We make every effort to wrap supports around our kids and to engage their families, realizing that they need support and opportunity as well.

Young people are immersed in a world of media, but we want them to be critical thinkers about what they are exposed to. We provide opportunities for them to be active creators of art and media and not just a passive audience.

The most effective interventions are those that are engaging, positive and practical. The arts and technology are powerful vehicles in this media-savvy world and the quantitative research, as well as qualitative and anecdotal evidence, backs this up.

Young people who participate in some form of artistic expression for at least 3 hours, 3 days a week for at least one year are:

* 4 times more likely to be recognized for academic achievement
* 3 times more likely to win an award for school attendance
* 4 times more likely to participate in a math or science fair
* 2 times more likely to read for pleasure
* 2 times more likely to perform community service

When engaged at school, truancy is prevented, performance is improved (grades go up), kids stay in school and are promoted. It is proven that the arts improve concentration, math and science skills, reasoning and discipline. Many national arts-based youth development programs site impressive test scores, advancement to college, leadership skills and elimination of maladaptive behaviors. The arts and technology tap into the myriad of developmental assets (outlined by The Search Institute in Minnesota ), higher order thinking and provides authentic opportunities to apply literacy, including visual and media literacy.

ArtPeace is building a model that develops strategic partnerships with successful businesses and in the corporate sector to train our future workforce. We also work with local colleges, in order to prepare diverse young people for higher education and to further develop their skills. Through the advancement of the products that ArtPeace entrepreneurs develop, we strive to become self-supporting, with consistently building revenue. By creating a workplace that is non-hierarchical, based on the “Sanctuary Model,” where power is shared, communication is open and honest input is valued from all, ArtPeace strives to become a top employer.

If you are interested in learning more about ArtPeace click here. To email Kristin:

What’s Your ETA to Change? Ours is COMING SOON!

In ENTREPRENEUR THE ARTS on February 26, 2009 at 8:20 pm

Just a quick post, dear reader, to tell you that I have exciting news about our new blogger role coming to you soon! While I am not quite yet ready to role out the names of our new bloggers, we have a minimum of 6 new voices, and still a few remaining unconfirmed, who are committed to ETA and who will share their perspectives about how we can innovate through the arts in education, business and in our daily lives.

Quick Facts About the New Bloggers
* Two of our new bloggers come from higher education.
* One from the world of innovation.
* Three will come from different disciplines in the arts and not-for-profit.

The blog appearance and blog roll is set to change in April and our new website is more work to create than I ever imagined.

Quick Update on The Resource Center
While I know I mentioned that the FREE ETA Resource Center will have over 400 resources for arts entrepreneurship, I think you will be excited to learn that the actual number of books, workshops, granting foundations, coaches, websites, blogs and institutions of higher education will total more than 1000!

Just last night I was down visiting a large photography/videography studio, that a friend of mine owns, to discuss how we would begin to build a set design for the video series I intend to roll out to members of the Resource Center. Filming will begin in March so that the video library will begin to have inventory when the new website launches.

My dear reader, things are really beginning to come together! I just keep pinching myself saying” I can hardly believe that what I envisioned more than two years ago, as a hope and a dream, is beginning to become real!” Dreams really can come true. By example, and by the examples of others here at ETA, you can make yours come true too.

Transforming The Humanities, Arts and Sciences in Higher Education

In Emotional Intelligence, Interesting Articles, WEBSITES & BLOGS on February 26, 2009 at 9:47 am

I received this email today from my friend at University of Texas- Austin, Rick Cherewitz. Rick and I met when I spoke to UT students about a year ago about arts entrepreneurship. Rick and I immediately connected around his concepts of Ie- Intellectual Entrepreneurship. Ie offers higher education an opportunity to embed the kind of transformational, yet practical, thinking I blog about here at ETA almost daily…



The NYT article below may be of interest. For me, it speaks to the need to truly transform higher education–for example, to integrate Intellectual Entrepreneurship-type thinking into undergraduate education so that our students (in the humanities, arts and sciences) can begin to contemplate how to utilize their rich academic knowledge to solve problems, innovate, create new possibilities and make a real difference for themselves and society.

I am reminded of what a colleague of mine in classics wrote a few years ago:

“Intellectual entrepreneurship seeks to reclaim for the contemporary world the oldest strain in our common intellectual tradition: the need for thought and reflection in the midst of the world of action. As the experiment of the original Greek teachers of practical affairs demonstrated, and as Plato demonstrated through his reflections on these very themes, some of the deepest problems of thought emerge from the affairs of practical life. When one brings together the demands for action and the equally unrelenting demands for reflection characteristic of the new electronic and global marketplace, the term “intellectual entrepreneur” describes a new form of union between the academy and the world and between the academy and its own deepest traditions.”

Those of us dedicated to this cause shall persevere.

Richard A. Cherwitz, Ph.D.
Professor and Director, Intellectual Entrepreneurship (IE)
A Cross-Disciplinary Consortium: “Educating Citizen-Scholars”
Office of the Vice President for Diversity and Community Engagement

New York Times

February 25, 2009
In Tough Times, the Humanities Must Justify Their Worth

One idea that elite universities like Yale, sprawling public systems like Wisconsin and smaller private colleges like Lewis and Clark have shared for generations is that a traditional liberal arts education is, by definition, not intended to prepare students for a specific vocation. Rather, the critical thinking, civic and historical knowledge and ethical reasoning that the humanities develop have a different purpose: They are prerequisites for personal growth and participation in a free democracy, regardless of career choice.

But in this new era of lengthening unemployment lines and shrinking university endowments, questions about the importance of the humanities in a complex and technologically demanding world have taken on new urgency. Previous economic downturns have often led to decreased enrollment in the disciplines loosely grouped under the term humanities which generally include languages, literature, the arts, history, cultural studies, philosophy and religion. Many in the field worry that in this current crisis those areas will be hit hardest.

Already scholars point to troubling signs. A December survey of 200 higher education institutions by The Chronicle of Higher Education and Moodys Investors Services found that 5 percent have imposed a total hiring freeze, and an additional 43 percent have imposed a partial freeze.

In the last three months at least two dozen colleges have canceled or postponed faculty searches in religion and philosophy, according to a job postings page on The Modern Language Associations end-of-the-year job listings in English, literature and foreign languages dropped 21 percent for 2008-09 from the previous year, the biggest decline in 34 years.

Although people in humanities have always lamented the state of the field, they have never felt quite as much of a panic that their field is becoming irrelevant, said Andrew Delbanco, the director of American studies at Columbia University.

With additional painful cuts across the board a near certainty even as millions of federal stimulus dollars may be funneled to education, the humanities are under greater pressure than ever to justify their existence to administrators, policy makers, students and parents. Technology executives, researchers and business leaders argue that producing enough trained engineers and scientists is essential to Americas economic vitality, national defense and health care. Some of the staunchest humanities advocates, however, admit that they have failed to make their case effectively.

This crisis of confidence has prompted a reassessment of what has long been considered the humanities central and sacred mission: to explore, as one scholar put it, what it means to be a human being.

The study of the humanities evolved during the 20th century to focus almost entirely on personal intellectual development, said Richard M. Freeland, the Massachusetts commissioner of higher education. But what we haven’t paid a lot of attention to is how students can put those abilities effectively to use in the world. We’ve created a disjunction between the liberal arts and sciences and our role as citizens and professionals.

Mr. Freeland is part of what he calls a revolutionary movement to close the chasm in higher education between the liberal arts and sciences and professional programs. The Association of American Colleges and Universities recently issued a report arguing the humanities should abandon the old Ivory Tower view of liberal education and instead emphasize its practical and economic value.

Next month Mr. Freeland and the association are hosting a conference precisely on this subject at Clark University in Worcester, Mass. There is a lot of interest on the national leadership level in higher education, Mr. Freeland said, but the idea has not caught on among professors and department heads.

Baldly marketing the humanities makes some in the field uneasy.

Derek Bok, a former president of Harvard and the author of several books on higher education, argues, The humanities has a lot to contribute to the preparation of students for their vocational lives. He said he was referring not only to writing and analytical skills but also to the type of ethical issues raised by new technology like stem-cell research. But he added: Theres a lot more to a liberal education than improving the economy. I think that is one of the worst mistakes that policy makers often make not being able to see beyond that.

Anthony T. Kronman, a professor of law at Yale and the author of Educations End: Why Our Colleges and Universities Have Given Up on the Meaning of Life, goes further. Summing up the benefits of exploring whats called a life worth living in a consumable sound bite is not easy, Mr. Kronman said.

But the need for my older view of the humanities is, if anything, more urgent today, he added, referring to the widespread indictment of greed, irresponsibility and fraud that led to the financial meltdown. In his view this is the time to re-examine what we care about and what we value, a problem the humanities are extremely well-equipped to address.

To Mr. Delbanco of Columbia, the person who has done the best job of articulating the benefits is President Obama. He does something academic humanists have not been doing well in recent years, he said of a president who invokes Shakespeare and Faulkner, Lincoln and W. E. B. Du Bois. He makes people feel there is some kind of a common enterprise, that history, with its tragedies and travesties, belongs to all of us, that we have something in common as Americans.

During the second half of the 20th century, as more and more Americans went on to college, a smaller and smaller percentage of those students devoted themselves to the humanities. The humanities share of college degrees is less than half of what it was during the heyday in the mid- to late 60s, according to the Humanities Indicators Prototype, a new database recently released by a consortium headed by the American Academy of Arts & Sciences. Currently they account for about 8 percent (about 110,000 students), a figure that has remained pretty stable for more than a decade. The low point for humanities degrees occurred during the bitter recession of the early 1980s.

The humanities continue to thrive in elite liberal arts schools. But the divide between these private schools and others is widening. Some large state universities routinely turn away students who want to sign up for courses in the humanities, Francis C. Oakley, president emeritus and a professor of the history of ideas at Williams College, reported. At the University of Washington, for example, in recent years, as many as one-quarter of the students found they were unable to get into a humanities course.

As money tightens, the humanities may increasingly return to being what they were at the beginning of the last century, when only a minuscule portion of the population attended college: namely, the province of the wealthy.

That may be unfortunate but inevitable, Mr. Kronman said. The essence of a humanities education reading the great literary and philosophical works and coming to grips with the question of what living is for may become a great luxury that many cannot afford.


Creative cities rejoice: You will recover

In Interesting Articles on February 24, 2009 at 12:31 am

Written by SIMON HOUPT From Monday’s Globe and Mail on February 22, 09

NEW YORK — Thank heaven for the recession. Haven’t you heard? It’s going to do wonders for New York, not to mention cities whose prosperity is fuelled by creativity such as Toronto, Chicago and San Francisco. People are hailing the new Age of Aquarius, in which the arts will flourish, mankind will discover the ineffable, and dogs and cats will open pie shops together.

And boy, things are already looking up as everything goes down. Echoing the long-standing belief that the city and its culture became more vacuous as the money flooded in during the past decade, the Times headlined a recent piece by Holland Cotter, “The boom is over. Long live the art!” At a newly austere Fashion Week that was sponsored in part by McDonald’s, the bacchanal boy Marc Jacobs, dropping his million-dollar holiday blowouts into an Orwellian memory hole, gushed that the city’s emphysemic real-estate market would prompt legions of new designers to move here and reinvigorate the scene.

There was even a flicker of the good old bad old days last week when rumours began to swirl late on Thursday night that a riot had broken out in Washington Square Park. Visions of revolution – of Molotov cocktails and blood in the streets – danced in the head. Might owners of $3-million East Village lofts be chased down and lynched in their marble lobbies?

Might Disney tug its animatronic tail between its legs and flee 42nd Street for the Midwest? Alas, the riot turned out to be little more than a few dozen New York University students who, trying to hold a sit-in to protest a hodgepodge of university policies, took to Twitter to carp about being denied access to the cafeteria. After all, who can man the barricades with low blood sugar?

New York magazine, sensitive as a barometer to the changes in the city’s cultural atmosphere, recently inaugurated a regular online feature known as the Downturnaround, in which journalist Hugo Lindgren celebrates tiny shreds of hope. (Example: Sure, prices of existing homes around the U.S. dropped at an annualized rate of 15 per cent, but sales were up 6.5 per cent from November to December!)

Last week Lindgren wrote, “the Downturnaround just about wept with joy” over the March issue of The Atlantic in which the “semi-famous” urban theorist Richard Florida argues that New York will be well positioned to recover from the recession by its continuing capacity to attract the creative types powering the 21st-century economy.

(Of course, Florida’s so-called “creative class” includes investment bankers who were so impressively creative that they created a worldwide financial meltdown.)

The city, feeling the need to retain laid-off bankers and their high-earning potential, last week announced a $45-million incubator program to help seed new companies in the financial sector. Aides to Mayor Michael Bloomberg suggested the program could help create 12,000 new jobs over the next five years: astonishing math, considering that over the past five years, $45-million usually supported about 12 jobs in the financial sector. But hell, fuzzy math got us into this mess, it might just get us out of it, right?

What I’d like to see are the numbers justifying the belief that the financial sector needs millions of dollars of assistance before it can create its exotic instruments (and, one presumes, wealth, if only for itself), while conventional wisdom holds that the main thing artists require is cheap space.

Because, until that cheap space arrives, the city is bleeding creativity. Opera, dance and theatre companies are shortening their seasons or closing down entirely. On Friday the New York City Ballet, struggling to deal with a deficit of $5.5-million (U.S.) on a budget of $62.3-million and an endowment that dropped from $187-million to about $138-million over the past year, announced it was letting go 11 members of the corps. Dozens of galleries are barely keeping their doors open. New York State recently toyed with the idea of taxing tickets to Broadway performances, which arts advocates suggested might be better applied to those on more stable financial footings, such as professional baseball teams.

Richard Florida may be right in suggesting that New York will thrive in the future, or he may not. But his assumptions are based in part on the continuing existence of industries that are right now undergoing shifts of a historic scale, encouraged but not caused by the recession.

Even before the markets cratered last fall, the mass media based in the city was under attack. The five daily newspapers are limping along, and only the Times and the Wall Street Journal seem to have a sense of how to make any money on the Internet. (Even those two papers are suffering deep losses.) TV viewership is in turmoil. Book publishers are feeling woozy. Even magazines, which some analysts believe aren’t as susceptible to new media threats, are shuttering.

Creative types come to New York to exchange ideas with like-minded people, but also to have the mass media spread their work. What happens when websites such as Pitchfork (started by a Minneapolis kid in his bedroom) can do much more for a band’s fortunes than Rolling Stone? What happens when fashionistas listen more to blogs than they do to Vogue?

New York used to be an important place for writers to begin their careers. But during a recent appearance at the Columbia University Journalism School, Tina Brown advised prospective graduates to go to India instead.

Maybe she was just trying to reduce the competition.

Teaching Artists Research Project Underway

In Current Events on February 23, 2009 at 9:45 am

In case you haven’t already heard, there is a groundbreaking research project underway called the Teaching Artist Research Project (TARP). Yes, that’s correct, its a good acronym to use for an entirely different project.

TARP is the first national study to examine the world and work of teaching artists. The motivation for the study comes from the remarkable advances in arts education, both in and out of schools, over the last fifteen years, despite a difficult policy environment. Teaching artists, the hybrid professionals that link the arts to education and community life, are the creative resource behind much of this innovation.

Research shows that the work of teaching artists makes a large and important contribution to our communities. But there is no systematic information about teaching artists’ career, which this project hopes to capture.

TARP hopes to deepen the understanding of the lives and work of teaching artists through studies in twelve communities, and it will inform policy designed to make their work sustainable, more effective, and more meaningful.

TARP is being conducted by the major research center NORC at the University of Chicago. Its principal investigator is Nick Rabkin, a founder of the Chicago Arts Partnerships in Education, a contributor to Champions of Change: The Impact of Arts on Learning, and author of Putting the Arts in the Picture: Reframing Education in the 21st Century. He is the former director of the Center for Arts Policy at Columbia College Chicago. TARP is supported by 25 foundations and state and local arts agencies.

If you’re a teaching artist or manage a program that hires teaching artists, TARP wants to hear from you. Click here to learn more, register, and become part of this very exciting and important project.

Nancy Munro, KnowledgeShift Interviews Lisa Canning

In Entrepreneurial Evolution on February 22, 2009 at 4:31 am

I met a women by the name of Nancy Munro at an event I organized for John Cimino at Catalyst Ranch. Nancy is the Founder and CEO of KnowlegeShift. Nancy’s company helps increase the use of high touch technologies inside organizations to leverage technology to their advantage. Pretty cool company and super needed these days. Don’t you think?

Nancy has a resource center on her site that includes a powerful women entrepreneur’s blog. Today Nancy released a post which contains a conversation Nancy and I had about my entrepreneurial ventures.

If you would like to hear it and read her post about me click here.

What Does the Cloud Taste?

In Emotional Intelligence on February 21, 2009 at 9:09 pm

This wonderfully imaginative poem was written by Jessie Citterman. Jessie is 12 and hopes to be a writer someday. I think she already is…


What Does the Cloud Taste?

What does the cloud taste when you see it in the sky?
Perhaps the cloud tastes a dove as it flaps on by.

What does the sun think when it sees our planet Earth?
Perhaps the sun thinks that to us it just gave birth.

What does the moon hear as it rises in the night?
Perhaps the moon hears a bat screech as it takes flight.

What do the stars smell when a comet races past?
Perhaps the stars smell magic that is here to last.

What does Mars feel when a spaceman lands on its crust?
Perhaps Mars feels this landing is wrong and unjust.

What do humans find when they look through others’ eyes?
Perhaps humans find things that they should not despise.

What would happen if everyone looked at things
from a different point of view?
Perhaps this world would appear to everyone
as if it’s completely new.

Contestant #11 Arianne Vota Smeets

In Entrepreneurial Artist Contest Contestants on February 21, 2009 at 10:33 am

img_1078When visiting, you’ll find my artistic statement detailing why I made the collection, Aorta Transformata. I wholeheartedly invite you to visit, as it describes why I made the art that depicts the journey of the healing heart in vividly raw, yet beautifully human emotion. Everything I’ve created, I’ve lived. You’ll also get a glimpse of who I am and where I’ve been in my biography. There it states, “After making several life changes in 2007, involving her health, career, marriage, and residence, Arianne began further developing her sculpting skills by working on large-scale, multi-dimensional pieces combining the use of clay and canvas”. In essence, my essay for The Entrepreneurial Artist Contest is not about what you can find on my website. My essay is about what you will not find.

What you will not find listed in my biography is that I was a “no show” the first day of school the year I won the Wal-Mart and Sam’s Club Local Teacher of the Year award. Instead, there was a substitute. Instead, I was in the hospital. Luckily, I’d been unusually motivated and set up my classroom about a week prior. The doctors said I’d been hemorrhaging so intently that I almost died on the table while having an emergency surgery just a few days before. My students didn’t meet their eccentric teacher, who decked out the classroom with a real stage and twinkling white lights, until a bit later.

Fall of 2006 also brought the death of my marriage and my dog. What my student’s didn’t know was in December before break, my life was in shambles. I know…it sounds like a bad country song.

Although, they didn’t know the full scope of everything, they did once see me cry, not a highlight of my career in education. Sometimes you’re not a teacher or a role model. Sometimes you’re human. Part of what kept me going that year, was my student’s energy and hope. They gave so much more to me that year than I them. Sometimes I’m not sure what I did to deserve them nominating me in droves for the award. There were many things I didn’t do to my usual standards because I was running on empty and hadn’t yet learned to fill my own tank.

Yet, I do know what I did with great consistency. I saw my students as real people – real people who needed understanding, love and compassion. When they cried, I gave them tissues. When they had successes, big or small, we celebrated with grandeur. When it was their birthday, we sang.

What you won’t find on the website, is that the first knowledge of my existence in this world was celebration as a better option than cancer. My birth was not planned, and my mother was a brave superhero. I was never the typical case and all the doctor’s pregnancy tests confirmed – not pregnant. It was only after the x-rays, doctors discovered I wasn’t tumor, but life. My father, who raised, adopted and loved me with all his heart, showed me what true love looks like in action.

Part of my personal journey to love myself was to get over the idea I was somehow a mistake, an inconvenience, or burden. Let me make clear that this isn’t a story about how my parents didn’t love me enough. They did and then some. I just had to join them.

The result, after much therapy and self-reflection, is called Legitimate, an individual piece resembling a heart-shaped checkmark. It hangs with a statement reading, “Some of us just needed a skin suit. Check yourself in”. There are no ‘illegitimate’ people in this world. Not all great things are planned. I am here for a reason. So are you. There are more stories to tell, yet only 1,000 words.

My overall entrepreneurial goal is for the twenty-four piece Rebirth Sequence to live fully in this world, whether it’s bought as a permanent fixture in a public space or a traveling exhibit. It currently lives at Flourish Studios in Chicago until March. 2nd.

While creating it for me, I realized it was for everyone. A quote by Sonia Choquette states, “Healing occurs when a person feels accurately seen. And when they are accurately seen, they feel beautiful. They feel loveable. They feel whole.” As people see themselves reflected, it’s my hope that they can better love themselves and each other. This ripple effect will positively impact the world.

There are several other layers of entrepreneurial scope. One goal is a book which features each work photographed with a corresponding self-written essay and recipe. Yet another goal is to travel the fifty states and create each state’s heart. All hearts are assembled into a large, piece in outline of the USA.

Another goal and the reason for recently earning a culinary arts degree is VOTA: a coffee sanctuary- a place to foster deep conversation and personal enlightenment. At root, it’s an artistic community coffeehouse, with a space that hosts educational activities related to its mission.

Making the art taught me to trust the process of life. Life will bring you exactly what you need, when you need it-like this contest I found this week. Listen and all directions will be clear. Life puts you exactly where you need to be to experience exactly what you need to experience, as the groundwork for your greatness.

Each time the clay broke while molding, it always looked better broken or suggested new direction to the land of surprise and delight. Sometimes relationships need space and air to gain new perspectives and mend the whole. Sometimes your perfect healing will show up unexpectedly, looking really strange. Sometimes you don’t know the whole story. You just know the next step. Take it. If you listen to your gut screaming and reflect, it will lead you home.

Zack Arias: Transform

In Creativity and Innovation on February 20, 2009 at 11:49 am

Zach Arias posted this FANTASTIC commentary in a blog post today. Zach’s specialty is niched in press and publicity photography for the music industry.

And to all of us creatives who have sparked, flailed, and gotten back up, sparked, flailed again, dusted ourselves off, and flailed yet again. Here is to you.

Keep getting back up. Your vision and dreams are worth it. Thanks James Willney for passing this video along!

I’m not an entertainer; I’m a lot closer to a paramedic, a firefighter, a rescue worker.

In Author: Lisa Canning, Authors, Interesting Articles on February 20, 2009 at 5:21 am

The title of this post, “I’m not an entertainer; I’m a lot closer to a paramedic, a firefighter, a rescue worker,“ was the name of the welcome speech address given to freshman at Boston Conservatory, given by Karl Paulnack, pianist and director of music division at Boston Conservatory. INCREDIBLE! Enjoy!!
One of my parents’ deepest fears, I suspect, is that society would not properly value me as a musician, that I wouldn’t be appreciated. I had very good grades in high school, I was good in science and math, and they imagined that as a doctor or a research chemist or an engineer I might be more appreciated than I would be as a musician. I still remember my mother’s remark when I announced my decision to apply to music school she said, “you’re WASTING your SAT scores.” On some level, I think, my parents were not sure themselves what the value of music was, what its purpose was. And they LOVED music, they listened to classical music all the time. They just weren’t really clear about its function. So let me talk about that a little bit, because we live in a society that puts music in the “arts and entertainment” section of the newspaper, and serious music, the kind your kids are about to engage in, has absolutely nothing whatsoever to do with entertainment, in fact it’s the opposite of entertainment. Let me talk a little bit about music, and how it works.

The first people to understand how music really works were the ancient Greeks. And this is going to fascinate you; the Greeks said that music and astronomy were two sides of the same coin. Astronomy was seen as the study of relationships between observable, permanent, external objects, and music was seen as the study of relationships between invisible, internal, hidden objects. Music has a way of finding the big, invisible moving pieces inside our hearts and souls and helping us figure out the position of things inside us. Let me give you some examples of how this works. One of the most profound musical compositions of all time is the Quartet for the End of Time written by French composer Olivier Messiaen in 1940.

Messiaen was 31 years old when France entered the war against Nazi Germany. He was captured by the Germans in June of 1940, sent across Germany in a cattle car and imprisoned in a concentration camp. He was fortunate to find a sympathetic prison guard who gave him paper and a place to compose. There were three other musicians in the camp, a cellist, a violinist, and a clarinetist, and Messiaen wrote his quartet with these specific players in mind. It was performed in January 1941 for four thousand prisoners and guards in the prison camp. Today it is one of the most famous masterworks in the repertoire.

Given what we have since learned about life in the concentration camps, why would anyone in his right mind waste time and energy writing or playing music? There was barely enough energy on a good day to find food and water, to avoid a beating, to stay warm, to escape torture why would anyone bother with music? And yet from the camps, we have poetry, we have music, we have visual art; it wasn’t just this one fanatic Messiaen; many, many people created art. Why? Well, in a place where people are only focused on survival, on the bare necessities, the obvious conclusion is that art must be, somehow, essential for life. The camps were without money, without hope, without commerce, without recreation, without basic respect, but they were not without art. Art is part of survival; art is part of the human spirit, an unquenchable expression of who we are. Art is one of the ways in which we say, “I am alive, and my life has meaning. ”

On September 12, 2001 I was a resident of Manhattan. That morning I reached a new understanding of my art and its relationship to the world. I sat down at the piano that morning at 10 AM to practice as was my daily routine; I did it by force of habit, without thinking about it. I lifted the cover on the keyboard, and opened my music, and put my hands on the keys and took my hands off the keys. And I sat there and thought, does this even matter? Isn’t this completely irrelevant? Playing the piano right now, given what happened in this city yesterday, seems silly, absurd, irreverent, pointless.

Why am I here? What place has a musician in this moment in time? Who needs a piano player right now? I was completely lost.

And then I, along with the rest of New York, went through the journey of getting through that week. I did not play the piano that day, and in fact I contemplated briefly whether I would ever want to play the piano again. And then I observed how we got through the day. At least in my neighborhood, we didn’t shoot hoops or play Scrabble. We didn’t play cards to pass the time, we didn’t watch TV, we didn’t shop, we most certainly did not go to the mall. The first organized activity that I saw in New York, that same day, was singing. People sang. People sang around fire houses, people sang We Shall Overcome. Lots of people sang America the Beautiful. The first organized public event that I remember was the Brahms Requiem, later that week, at Lincoln Center, with the New York Philharmonic. The first organized public expression of grief, our first communal response to that historic event, was a concert. That was the beginning of a sense that life might go on. The US Military secured the airspace, but recovery was led by the arts, and by music in particular, that very night.

From these two experiences, I have come to understand that music is not part of “arts and entertainment” as the newspaper section would have us believe. It’s not a luxury, a lavish thing that we fund from leftovers of our budgets, not a plaything or an amusement or a pass time. Music is a basic need of human survival. Music is one of the ways we make sense of our lives, one of the ways in which we express feelings when we have no words, a way for us to understand things with our hearts when we can’t with our minds.

Some of you may know Samuel Barber’s heart wrenchingly beautiful piece Adagio for Strings. If you don’t know it by that name, then some of you may know it as the background music which accompanied the Oliver Stone movie Platoon, a film about the Vietnam War. If you know that piece of music either way, you know it has the ability to crack your heart open like a walnut; it can make you cry over sadness you didn’t know you had. Music can slip beneath our conscious reality to get at what’s really going on inside us the way a good therapist does. I bet that you have never been to a wedding where there was absolutely no music. There might have been only a little music, there might have been some really bad music, but I bet you there was some music. And something very predictable happens at weddings people get all pent up with all kinds of emotions, and then there’s some musical moment where the action of the wedding stops and someone sings or plays the flute or something. And even if the music is lame, even if the quality isn’t good, predictably 30 or 40 percent of the people who are going to cry at a wedding cry a couple of moments after the music starts. Why? The Greeks. Music allows us to move around those big invisible pieces of ourselves and rearrange our insides so that we can express what we feel even when we can’t talk about it. Can you imagine watching Indiana Jones or Superman or Star Wars with the dialogue but no music? What is it about the music swelling up at just the right moment in ET so that all the softies in the audience start crying at exactly the same moment? I guarantee you if you showed the movie with the music stripped out, it wouldn’t happen that way. The Greeks: Music is the understanding of the relationship between invisible internal objects. I’ll give you one more example, the story of the most important concert of my life. I must tell you I have played a little less than a thousand concerts in my life so far. I have played in places that I thought were important. I like playing in Carnegie Hall; I enjoyed playing in Paris; it made me very happy to please the critics in St. Petersburg. I have played for people I thought were important; music critics of major newspapers, foreign heads of state. The most important concert of my entire life took place in a nursing home in Fargo, ND, about 4 years ago.

I was playing with a very dear friend of mine who is a violinist. We began, as we often do, with Aaron Copland’s Sonata, which was written during World War II and dedicated to a young friend of Copland’s, a young pilot who was shot down during the war. Now we often talk to our audiences about the pieces we are going to play rather than providing them with written program notes. But in this case, because we began the concert with this piece, we decided to talk about the piece later in the program and to just come out and play the music without explanation.

Midway through the piece, an elderly man seated in a wheelchair near the front of the concert hall began to weep. This man, whom I later met, was clearly a soldier even in his 70¹s, it was clear from his buzz-cut hair, square jaw and general demeanor that he had spent a good deal of his life in the military. I thought it a little bit odd that someone would be moved to tears by that particular movement of that particular piece, but it wasn’t the first time I’ve heard crying in a concert and we went on with the concert and finished the piece.

When we came out to play the next piece on the program, we decided to talk about both the first and second pieces, and we described the circumstances in which the Copland was written and mentioned its dedication to a downed pilot. The man in the front of the audience became so disturbed that he had to leave the auditorium. I honestly figured that we would not see him again, but he did come backstage afterwards, tears and all, to explain himself.

What he told us was this: ³During World War II, I was a pilot, and I was in an aerial combat situation where one of my team’s planes was hit. I watched my friend bail out, and watched his parachute open, but the Japanese planes which had engaged us returned and machine gunned across the parachute chords so as to separate the parachute from the pilot, and I watched my friend drop away into the ocean, realizing that he was lost. I have not thought about this for many years, but during that first piece of music you played, this memory returned to me so vividly that it was as though I was reliving it. I didn’t understand why this was happening, why now, but then when you came out to explain that this piece of music was written to commemorate a lost pilot, it was a little more than I could handle. How does the music do that? How did it find those feelings and those memories in me? Remember the Greeks: music is the study of invisible relationships between internal objects. This concert in Fargo was the most important work I have ever done. For me to play for this old soldier and help him connect, somehow, with Aaron Copland, and to connect their memories of their lost friends, to help him remember and mourn his friend, this is my work. This is why music matters.

What follows is part of the talk I will give to this year’s freshman class when I welcome them a few days from now. The responsibility I will charge your sons and daughters with is this:

If we were a medical school, and you were here as a med student practicing appendectomies, you’d take your work very seriously because you would imagine that some night at two AM someone is going to waltz into your emergency room and you’re going to have to save their life. Well, my friends, someday at 8 PM someone is going to walk into your concert hall and bring you a mind that is confused, a heart that is overwhelmed, a soul that is weary. Whether they go out whole again will depend partly on how well you do your craft. You’re not here to become an entertainer, and you don’t have to sell yourself. The truth is you don’t have anything to sell; being a musician isn’t about dispensing a product, like selling used Chevys. I’m not an entertainer; I’m a lot closer to a paramedic, a firefighter, a rescue worker. You’re here to become a sort of therapist for the human soul, a spiritual version of a chiropractor or physical therapist, someone who works with our insides to see if they get things to line up, to see if we can come into harmony with ourselves and be healthy and happy and well.

Frankly, ladies and gentlemen, I expect you not only to master music; I expect you to save the planet. If there is a future wave of wellness on this planet, of harmony, of peace, of an end to war, of mutual understanding, of equality, of fairness, I don’t expect it will come from a government, military force or a corporation. I no longer even expect it to come from the religions of the world, which together seem to have brought us as much war as they have peace. If there is a future of peace for humankind, if there is to be an understanding of how these invisible, internal things should it together, I expect it will come from the artists, because that’s what we do. As in the concentration camp and the evening of 9/11, the artists are the ones who might be able to help us with our internal, invisible lives.

“I expect to pass through this world but once. Any good thing, therefore, that I can do, or any kindness that I can show to any fellow creature, let me do it now. Let me not defer or neglect it, for I shall not pass this way
again.” –Stephen Grellet

Dance Your PhD

In Interesting Articles on February 20, 2009 at 12:18 am

Thanks, Eva Niewiadomski from Catalyst Ranch for passing this article along!

In Chicago, researchers hold finale to ‘Dance Your PhD’
Scholars put their papers into choreographed motion

By Robert Mitchum | Tribune reporter

February 16, 2009

The lights came up on five dancers wearing plastic wrap, fishnet and white face paint. As they moved in slow synchronization, a tall shirtless man wearing a red sparkly skirt prowled among them in a slow-motion pop-and-lock.

It wasn’t your typical scientific presentation.

But it was, indeed, science: the finale of the “Dance Your PhD” contest organized by the American Association for the Advancement of Science to coincide with their annual meeting in Chicago last weekend. Science
journalist John Bohannon challenged scientists around the world to communicate their research in the form of dance and drew more than 100 videotaped replies posted to YouTube.

The four winners of that contest were on hand Friday night at Architectural Artifacts, a Northwest Side warehouse converted into an antique bazaar, to present-and explain-their videos. They then joined
the audience of scientists and dance enthusiasts to watch the premiere of “This Is Science,” a four-part dance created by Chicago choreographers in collaboration with the scientist winners, who submitted their research as its source material.

So “Salt Dependence of DNA binding by Thermus aquaticus and Escherichia coli DNA Polymerases,” a paper by Professor Category winner Vince LiCata of Louisiana State University, featured two tattooed men attaching women to ropes dangling from an overhead catwalk and twirling them as they posed in a vaguely double-helix shape. Of course!

Though the meaning wasn’t always clear, the dances did suggest the beauty and dynamism of the scientific process, so often lost in the PowerPoint presentations and clunky jargon of academic meetings. That
man dressed in red? A laser, studying viral packaging motors, which create forces as strong as an atomic bomb, according to that dance’s “scientific adviser,” Markita Landry of the University of Illinois
“How amazing that scientists around the world busy with lab work took a break to do something as bizarre as this,” Bohannon said, clad in a white disco leisure suit. “I love that.”

Inside The Giving Side

In WEBSITES & BLOGS on February 18, 2009 at 6:52 pm

Are you familiar with

This site offers some rare glimpses into the world of nonprofit funding. Philanthromedia have begun a video series that will feature interviews with program officers from leading foundations.

“For the vast majority of folks who seek philanthropic dollars – be they nonprofit staffers, board members, or your average Jane with a great idea for making the world better – the world of funders is a seemingly impenetrable mystery. Even for those who have worked in or closely with foundations, the ways of funders are often hard to understand.”

“While myriad books, websites, panels, seminars, certifications, undergraduate and even graduate programs have emerged to guide grantseekers through an increasingly competitive environment, few and far between are opportunities to hear directly from grantmakers themselves.”

This interview with Ben Cameron, program officer for the arts at Doris Duke Charitable Foundation, was one of their Philanthromedia’s first attempts to go “inside the giving side” with web video. It is great to see foundations finally beginning to think about innovation in the arts. All this good news just keeps my heart singing.

The Theater Rental Experience From Hell

In Emotional Intelligence, Entrepreneurial Tool Box on February 18, 2009 at 10:17 am

About two weeks ago I made about a dozen calls to small theaters- seat 200 or less- around the Chicago land area seeking to rent space for several Bite-Size Arts Ensemble performances. Most of the theaters I called had answering machines on during the day, but a few answered the phone. I left messages and emailed all the theaters where a “live” person did not answer.

The one’s who did answer, I asked to speak to whoever was in charge of renting their space. Three out of four said they could help and took my information. One offered no information until I sent an email. Of course when I asked the three who would speak to me, some general questions about the space, their rental fees and possible dates to book their theater, each told me they had to talk to someone else and would get back to me.

Again, with the three who I actually spoke to, and the one who required an email first to speak to me, I did send follow up emails recapping potential dates, times and our needs list (which I already knew matched what each theater offered- I had done my homework.)

Well, I made all those calls and sent all those emails on February 4th. Today it will be 2 weeks since I did. Of the 12 theaters I called, last night I received, at 9:30 pm, a call from someone from one of the theaters who said she was “following up.”

When I inquired about why it took 2 weeks to return the call and asked her to call me tomorrow during the day, she said ” Well I guess you don’t need to rent the space” and hung up on me. This is an established theater! And what about the other 11 who never even bothered to “follow up?”

Now, I would REALLY love to give you the list of theaters I called, as well as which theater it was that hung up on me, but I am going to restrain myself. However, why does stuff like this happen so much in creative fields? What makes this behavior “acceptable” in any situation, let alone the arts? In what situation EVER is not being prompt, interested and communicative ever acceptable in a business situation? Why is it that artists think that “whenever they get around to it” because they have more important things to do- like their art projects- ever makes a good impression? Who taught them this??

I mean, it’s not like I am asking them for something they don’t claim to be wanting to sell! Each of these theaters claims to be seeking to rent their space on their websites. Each one goes out of their way to show you their space online and give you contact information. If they don’t really mean it, or it’s not available because its already booked, why are they bothering to frustrate the hell out of potential renters like me by not bothering to follow up? All it takes is a prompt phone call or email to say ” thanks but we are full” or ” when is a good time to connect to discuss your space needs?”

In some ways the behavior of these theaters deserves the action that follows. Why would anyone (me) WANT to rent space from any one of these theaters if they conduct their business like this? What’s going to happen when the lights don’t go on at the dress rehearsal or the heat isn’t turned on the evening of the performance?

But in fairness to the theaters, I am sure not everyone got the email I sent or the message, right? Email, after all, can be flaky and a bit unreliable and messages can be easily deleted. Ok, so that lets a couple of these theaters off the hook. Besides, who would need the business in this booming economy anyway?

As representatives of an important part of society- the arts- we need to learn to be prompt, communicative and professional if we ever expect to be taken seriously, let alone truly innovate and change the way we are perceived.

Just because your venue or business is small, does not mean you cannot be great. Just because you are an artist does not mean you cannot make whatever audience you sell your goods and services to feel valued and important. And if you are an artist and think serving the public and running a business is beneath you, I hope you win the lotto or marry rich. ‘Cause it’s folks like you who are giving the arts a bad name…

I Can

In WEBSITES & BLOGS on February 17, 2009 at 8:01 pm

OK, so I keep talking about transforming the arts and finding new ways to change the way we think about who we are and what we can do. Well, thanks to a recent email I received from a new reader, I stumbled into a great example of the kind of innovative ideas I keep telling you art can embrace.

Flourish Studios™ describes themselves as a multi-faceted learning gallery “ which motivates and prepared adults, teenagers and children to bring about significant, self-selected life changes.”

This unique art gallery integrates professional guidance ( therapy) inspirational resources ( found in art and their boutique) and a great environment to encourage individuals to flourish. How cool is that? I love their slogan too. It’s Live. Learn. Love.

Flourish Studios™ also offers Change-Positive events which they describe as “carefully selected events providing opportunities for learning and stimulating social interaction”.

juliaIronically, this wonderful idea was developed not by an artist, but by a psychologist.

Founder Julia M. Rahn, Ph. D. is a Clinical Psychologist with more than ten years experience helping people meet their individual and family goals. Her expertise lies in health and rehabilitation issues such as overcoming eating disorders and adjusting to chronic illness. Dr. Julia also has a solid record assisting both adults and children with patterns of depression and anxiety, and she takes a special interest in working with families with children with neurodevelopmental disorders including Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD), Autism and Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD).

Dr. Julia’s success is a result of her insistence on addressing each person as a whole and using creative interventions to promote change. To that end, she has frequently ventured outside her therapy offices to research and present ancillary support in the form of resources and products for her clients. Over time it became clear to Dr. Julia that the best way for her to serve the interests of her clients was to integrate all her therapeutic efforts under one roof.

Check out this innovative place at They also have a newsletter worth a look.

Jazz band brings a lesson in improvisation

In Creativity and Innovation on February 16, 2009 at 4:38 am


ji1Awwww, git it, accounting.

Solid, sales.

If you think a corporate meeting and a jam session are two different things, then Jazz Impact, a project that involves several North Jersey musicians, wants to blow your top, pop.

IBM, McGraw-Hill, Johnson & Johnson, General Dynamics and Starbucks are among the Fortune 500 companies that have hosted seminars where jazz musicians teach business people how to exchange ideas, run with concepts and alternately take and yield the spotlight – all with the fluency of bandmates trading licks.

“You have to deal with fellow employees the way a band deals,” says Steve Johns, an Englewood drummer who has been involved in the program since 2000.

He’s one of 70-plus musicians tapped by Michael Gold, a bassist originally from New York City (he currently lives in Minneapolis) who spent years in the financial services industry, and who found a unique way to fuse the two halves of his life.

“I think it’s a very worthwhile thing,” says John Eckert, a Jersey City trumpeter who has played with Benny Goodman and Maynard Ferguson. “To do a musical thing in a non-musical setting gives you a different perspective on your playing.”

For these veteran players, Jazz Impact is not – to say the least – the usual gig.

Instead of a dim basement jazz club, they do their riffing and bopping in a well-appointed corporate meeting room or auditorium (Jazz Impact has played before audiences of up to 2,000).

And instead of patrons loudly ordering a vodka gimlet in the middle of the tenor sax solo, the audience of buttoned-down business people are attentive and – almost always – appreciative. After all, how often do they get to hear a hot live band play “Perdido” in the middle of a workday?

“I feel like I’m bringing something to them, and I’m also getting something in return,” Johns says. “When you’re a musician, any time you’re in front of an audience performing it’s a wonderful experience.”

He and Gold go way back – they’ve known each other since their student days together at Berklee College of Music in Boston. When Gold asked Johns, a veteran performer (he’s played with Randy Brecker, Jimmy Heath and Billy Taylor, among others), to be in the program eight years ago, Johns was there. “He has it all planned out, meticulously,” Johns says. “He’s an expert.”

Jazz Impact, Johns says, is a lot of fun. But it’s about more than just showing the sales force a good time.

“Leadership is not a static position,” Gold tells audiences in his finger-snapping seminar, a mix of concert, group exercise and PowerPoint presentation, in which three to six musicians demonstrate how jazz players alternately take the lead and “comp” along — enabling the musical conversation to flow in a fair, relaxed and constructive manner.

No reason the 3 o’clock meeting shouldn’t be run along similar lines.

“We demonstrate how you balance other people’s ideas, especially when you deal with fellow employees,” Johns says.

What else can employees learn from musicians? Improvisation, yes. Also teamwork. Gold sums it all up in the acronym APRIL (Autonomy, Passion, Risk, Innovation and Listening).

“Everybody has to be able to listen beyond the boundaries of their comfort zone,” Gold says. “They have to get to the point where they can not only listen to those ideas, but pick them up and run with them.”

Gold is not the first to notice the unique dynamic of the jam session – one of the few forms of human interaction where competing egos can work fruitfully together.

Louis Armstrong, singing on a visionary 1961 Dave Brubeck album called “The Real Ambassadors,” talked about inviting world leaders to a “basement session” to work out their differences.

“How can they all agree on one melody? Won’t each one call his own tune?” asks Trummy Young. But Armstrong insists: “It’s the only session of its kind/Where harmony you’re sure to find.”

Of course, there are hard-liners who might view the teaching of jazz techniques to the corporate world as, in effect, using the tools of the angels to do the work of the devil.

“There’s that danger,” Gold says. “I’ve got some nasty e-mails from jazz musicians who won’t sign their names, saying ‘What the hell are you doing?’ ”

But Gold, who has done his Jazz Impact seminars internationally, sees a paradigm shift in the world – one in which creativity and on-your-feet thinking will be crucial, in or out of the boardroom. And jazz musicians can lead the way.

“We’re trying to use this art form to help business people discuss some really important ideas that workplace language doesn’t really have a means of addressing,” Gold says.

Contestant #10 Stan Pope

In Entrepreneurial Artist Contest Contestants on February 14, 2009 at 9:33 pm

Written by Stan Pope
I’m pleased to enter this contest; I feel something like this to find talent based on the quality of the artist, as opposed to how young or cute they are, is really needed in these times.

In my case I wish to have your group consider this. I personally know of no other Artist that has produced music of this complexity alone. Nothing in my music is sampled, sequenced, or artificially produced. Everything is played in real time on either a keyboard, or lead guitar, with the basic drum track as the only exception. No help with writing either, in any way.

I also want to call your attention to the music style. It’s unique. I call it Nu Groove it’s a rock, funk fusion mix. The way it’s structured is a new style, as different from R&B as rock is from blues…a new approach in music. To get a real evaluation of the style I think you’d need to listen to more than 1 song, but I will attach one that I feel will give you the overall idea.


All the music for my songs was written and performed entirely by myself. No one else assisted in any way, and all but 2 of the 15 songs the lyrics were written by me as well. I’m trying some new things with a rock lead guitar by using it in ballads and in concert with Lead Vocals in a way I feel is unique.

This music is the result of a multi-year effort and I very pleased to realize this personal accomplishment. I left Chicago as a vocalist with a show band. I sang 2nd Tenor in the background mostly. I was part of a 4 man vocal group made up of my Brother, Myself ,and 2 others. My brother was our main Lead singer at the time. I also did some lead vocal.

When I left Chicago I vowed I wouldn’t return until I was successful in music. After a year or so on the road the band we had broke up and left us out of work as vocalists. My brother and I decided to learn to play so we could back up ourselves. He chose bass and I the lead guitar. In couple of years we were playing and singing with the Pope Brothers Band. We played mostly in southern California clubs and military bases, as we had relocated to San Diego by this time, to be close to L.A.

My brother and I wrote some songs and came very close to a record deal at points. We recorded with Perry Kibble who wrote Boogie Oogie Oogie with Taste of Honey and was offered a distribution deal with CBS, only to fall short in the funding to finish and deliver the album. My Brother went on his own and I couldn’t find anyone to work with me on original material. They just wanted to do cover songs and clubs, so I decided to learn to play keyboards and do my CD myself. I had already written most of the songs I needed and I had quite a bit of recording experience as a studio musician with Perry Kibble and Walter Johnson.

I was able to buy myself a 16 track professional digital studio and I went to work. My music is my own original style I developed. I call it Nu Groove. It’s a fusion of rock and funk..and where I think music was possibly heading, if not forHip-Hop. So now I’m poised for the next phase of my life long plan. I’ve done
everything else up to this point so I’m hoping I won’t have to buy it too.

I hope you love the Nu Groove… I seek to put more passion into my music, really though, let me know how you like it. And look out for me, I’m coming!!!!!!!!! Since I’ve done this alone and I’m the only person involved, I’m starting to seek others that would be interested in participating with me in launching this music. I have a lot more than what’s posted here and look forward to any producers, musicians, financiers, promoters, publicist, and anyone else that feels the passion, the potential of this. If you want to come aboard message me and lets talk.

You can also find a little more content from me and a longer preview of all at or for a more complete playlist.

Stan Pope

Yes, We Can! Victory for the Arts in the Economic Recovery Bill

In Current Events on February 14, 2009 at 4:40 am

Dear Reader, THANK YOU SO MUCH for being part of making history!

dreamstime_2017036Just moments ago, the U.S. House of Representatives approved their final version of the Economic Recovery bill by a vote of 246-183. We can now confirm that the package DOES include $50 million in direct support for arts jobs through National Endowment for the Arts grants. We are also happy to report that the exclusionary Coburn Amendment language banning certain arts groups from receiving any other economic recovery funds has also been successfully removed. Tonight the Senate is scheduled to have their final vote, and President Obama plans to sign the bill on Monday – President’s Day.

A United Voice
This is an important victory for all of you as arts advocates. More than 85,000 letters were sent to Congress, thousands of calls were made, and hundreds of op-eds, letters to the editor, news stories, and blog entries were generated in print and online media about the role of the arts in the economy. Artists, business leaders, mayors, governors, and a full range of national, state, and local arts groups all united together on this advocacy issue. This outcome marks a stunning turnaround of events and exemplifies the power of grassroots arts advocacy.

We would like to also thank some key leaders on Capitol Hill who really carried our voices into the conference negotiation room and throughout the halls of Congress: Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA), House Appropriations Chairman Dave Obey (D-WI), House Interior Appropriations Subcommittee Chairman Norm Dicks (D-WA), and Congressional Arts Caucus Co-Chair Louise Slaughter (D-NY). We also want to publicly thank President Obama for taking the early lead in recognizing the role of the arts in economic development. These leaders were able to convincingly make the case that protecting jobs in the creative sector is integral to the U.S. economy.

What’s Next
As we wrap up our work on the Economic Recovery legislation, we wanted to share with you other upcoming legislative action that we are tracking:

Finalization by early March of the FY 2009 appropriations, which has been operating under a continuing resolution for the last five months.

Release of President Obama’s first federal budget for FY 2010 is expected in late March/early April.

Hearings in the House Interior Appropriations Subcommittee on the FY 2010 budget.

Hearings in the House Education & Labor Committee on arts in the workforce and arts education.

The 22nd Annual National Arts Advocacy Day conference on Capitol Hill on March 30-31, 2009.

Do Artists Have to Be Dysfunctional to Be Great?

In Writing on February 13, 2009 at 12:10 am

Elizabeth Gilbert, the author of Eat, Pray, Love shares in this 20 minute presentation some interesting insights into the stereotypes we think of as being required to be artistic. Elizabeth offers some ways society might begin to re-frame those perceptions as well as how we can re-frame a few of our own. She goes on to share how we also can unleash the genius in each of us, instead of setting it up to be ruined. It’s a funny, personal and moving talk and well worth the time to watch.

About Elizabeth Gilbert
eatprayloveElizabeth Gilbert was born in Connecticut in 1969 and was raised on a small family Christmas tree farm. She is the sister of the young adult novelist Catherine Murdock author of Dairy Queen and The Off Season. Elizabeth went to college in New York City in the early 1990’s, and spent the years after college traveling around the country and the world, working odd jobs, writing short stories and essentially creating what she has referred to as her own MFA program.

After more than five years of sending out work for publication and collecting only rejection letters, she finally broke onto the literary scene in 1993, when one of her short stories was pulled from the slush pile at Esquire magazine and published under the heading “The Debut of an American Writer.”

Since that time, Gilbert has published consistently and always to high praise. Her first book, a collection of short stories called Pilgrims was said by Annie Proulx to be the work of “a young writer of incandescent talent.” That collection, which was a New York Times Notable Book, received the Pushcart Prize and was a finalist for the PEN/Hemingway Award. Next came Stern Men, a bittersweet novel about lobster fishing territory wars off the coast of Maine, which was also a New York Times Notable book. The Last American Man, her biography of Eustace Conway, an eclectic modern day woodsman, was a finalist in 2002 for both The National Book Award and The National Book Critic’s Circle Award.

Her most recent book is the #1 New York Times Bestselling memoir “Eat, Pray, Love,” about the year she spent traveling the world alone after a difficult divorce. Anne Lamott called Eat, Pray, Love “wise, jaunty, human, ethereal, heartbreaking.” The book has been a worldwide success, now published in over thirty languages with over 7 million copies in print. It was named by The New York Times as one of the 100 most notable books of 2006, and chosen by Entertainment Weekly as one of the best ten nonfiction books of the year. In 2008, Elizabeth was named one of the 100 Most Influential People in the World, by Time Magazine.

In addition to writing books, Elizabeth has worked steadily as a journalist. Throughout much of the 1990’s she was on staff at SPIN Magazine, where – with humor and pathos – she chronicled diverse individuals and subcultures, covering everything from rodeo’s Buckle Bunnies (reprinted in The KGB Bar Reader) to China’s headlong construction of the Three Gorges Dam. In 1999, Elizabeth began working for GQ magazine, where her profiles of extraordinary men – from singers Hank Williams III and Tom Waits (reprinted in The Tom Waits Reader) to quadriplegic athlete Jim Maclaren – earned her three National Magazine Award Nominations, as well as repeated appearances in the “Best American” magazine writing anthologies. She has also written for such publications as The New York Times Magazine, Real Simple, Allure, Travel and Leisure and O, the Oprah Magazine (where her memoir “Eat, Pray, Love” was excerpted in March, 2006.) She has been a contributor to the Public Radio show “This American Life”, and — perhaps most proudly — has several times shown up at John Hodgman’s Little Gray Book Lecture Series, most notably during Lecture Four on the subject “Hints for Public Singing.”

Much of her writing has been optioned by Hollywood. Her GQ memoir about her bartending years became the Disney movie “Coyote Ugly.” According to Variety “Recently, Paramount Pictures has acquired screen rights to the Elizabeth Gilbert memoir “Eat, Pray, Love” and will develop it as a star vehicle for Julia Roberts”.

Do arts jobs count as jobs?

In Current Events, Interesting Articles on February 12, 2009 at 12:23 am

Written by Andrew Taylor from the Artful Manager

Oh My God does this article hit home. How can this question even be asked? And yet, the concern over our identity– both to ourselves and to the public– with regards to our economic ability as earners, providers for our families, is at this moment a valid question.

We simply must start standing up for ourselves and requiring, with or without our institutions of higher education assisting us in producing the skills we need to create the employment opportunities only we can imagine within our field, that WE take responsibility for guiding and educating our own futures. We are in charge of our destiny and each choice we make can lead us closer ( or farther away) to our own vision of artistic and economic success. We need to each find the leader within us, and move towards building a future where the question of “if we count,” or not, can never be asked!

Do you recognize your ability to lead? If you don’t already know it, you are already, as an artist, a natural leader. Precisely because it is going to take all of us collectively to think about how to set the “record straight” about the capacity of the arts to earn and contribute to the world economy, each one of us must get to know the leader within us so we can change the way we are perceived in our individual communities! Of course, it would help if we all got on the same page about what that looks like- which is yet another reason why I started ETA.

Let this article below serve as a reminder of why we need to band together and think together about how we can change how we are perceived by others and by society as a whole. The consequences of us not working together to change these perceptions hinders our development and has been hindering our development for centuries. What exactly must we do about it? What do you perceive in your world, your community about the attitudes towards artists and their capacity to lead, earn a great living and reshape the world into a better place? I wrote a post with some musical examples of what I see, but what do you see? I sure would like to know.

By the way, this article made me feel sick to my stomach when I read it and it might leave you feeling the same way- so consider yourself warned. This stuff has got to change…one artist at a time.
Scott Lilly at the Center for American Progress floats a timely reminder to the good folks in Congress currently bristling about the stimulus package: arts jobs are jobs, regardless of your opinion of what they produce. He quotes Rep. Jack Kingston’s (R-GA) remarks when complaining about the NEA funding (now removed) from the bill:

“We have real people out of work right now and putting $50 million in the NEA and pretending that’s going to save jobs as opposed to putting $50 million in a road project is disingenuous.”

Which suggests, of course, that artists, cultural managers, stagehands, gallery staff, technicians, costume designers, and anybody else involved in artistic pursuits aren’t actually working, or earning a paycheck, or supporting their families, or any of the other productive things road workers might do. Or, to put it more bluntly, arts workers are not ”real people.”

It’s perfectly fair to challenge the ”stimulus potential” of any line item in the massive bill. And there are legitimate arguments to be made that one form of spending or incentive works more quickly, more effectively, more efficiently than another. But this particular line of attack, suggesting that the arts don’t involve people doing jobs, is staggering in its ignorance.

Before we go railing off on conservative politicians, however, we might look for the same bias and blindness among ourselves. I was at a conference panel recently, for example, in which an architect from a well-respected firm with extensive cultural facility projects to their credit made an astounding admission: up until their most recent project, that involved direct discussion with a wide range of practitioners, they hadn’t thought of a cultural facility as a workplace. A performance/display space, an audience chamber, and a public venue, to be sure. Even an administrative office tucked away in the back. But the entire building as a daily workplace for professionals and tradespeople? A novel idea.

Perhaps that explains why so many cultural facilities have spaces that can’t be cleaned, lightbulbs that can’t be changed without massive machinery, and offices and common spaces that cramp and confound the folks who come to work there every day.

Somewhere between our lofty rhetoric about the power of the arts, and our mechanical arguments about social and civic benefits, there seems to be a disconnect in our message. The arts are people. They don’t just serve people or help people, they are people. It’s astounding that anyone would understand otherwise.

Having Happy Friends Can Make You Happy

In Interesting Articles on February 11, 2009 at 12:40 am

But Having Lots of Friends Won’t–Unless They Are All Happy


happyIf you’re happy and you know it, thank your friends — and their friends. And while you’re at it, their friends’ friends. But if you’re sad, hold the blame. Researchers from Harvard Medical School and the University of California, San Diego, have found that “happiness” is not the result solely of a cloistered journey filled with individually tailored self-help techniques. Happiness is also a collective phenomenon that spreads through social networks like an emotional contagion.

In a study that looked at the happiness of nearly 5,000 individuals over a period of 20 years, researchers found that when an individual becomes happy, the network effect can be measured up to three degrees. One person’s happiness triggers a chain reaction that benefits not only their friends, but their friends’ friends, and their friends’ friends’ friends. The effect lasts for up to one year.

The flip side, interestingly, is not the case: Sadness does not spread through social networks as robustly as happiness. Happiness appears to love company more so than misery.

“We’ve found that your emotional state may depend on the emotional experiences of people you don’t even know, who are two to three degrees removed from you,” says Harvard Medical School Professor Nicholas Christakis, who, along with James Fowler from the UC, San Diego, co-authored this study. “And the effect isn’t just fleeting,” Christakis said.

These findings were published online the BMJ.

For over two years now, Christakis and Fowler have been mining data from the Framingham Heart Study (an ongoing cardiovascular study begun in 1948), reconstructing the social fabric in which individuals are enmeshed and analyzing the relationship between social networks and health. The researchers uncovered a treasure trove of data from archived, handwritten administrative tracking sheets dating back to 1971. All family changes for each study participant, such as birth, marriage, death, and divorce, were recorded. In addition, participants also listed contact information for their closest friends, co-workers, and neighbors. Coincidentally, many of these friends were also study participants. Focusing on 4,739 individuals, Christakis and Fowler observed more than 50,000 social and family ties and analyzed the spread of happiness throughout this group.

Using the Center for Epidemiological Studies Depression Index (a standard metric) that study participants completed, the researchers found that when an individual becomes happy, a friend living within a mile experiences a 25 percent increased chance of becoming happy. A co-resident spouse experiences an 8 percent increased chance, siblings living within one mile have a 14 percent increased chance, and for next-door neighbors, 34 percent.

But the real surprise came with indirect relationships. Again, while an individual becoming happy increases his friend’s chances, a friend of that friend experiences a nearly 10 percent chance of increased happiness, and a friend of that friend has a 5.6 percent increased chance — a three-degree cascade.

“We’ve found that while all people are roughly six degrees separated from each other, our ability to influence others appears to stretch to only three degrees,” says Christakis. “It’s the difference between the structure and function of social networks.”

These effects are limited by both time and space. The closer a friend lives to you, the stronger the emotional contagion. But as distance increases, the effect dissipates. This explains why next-door neighbors have an effect, but not neighbors who live around the block. In addition, the happiness effect appears to wear off after roughly one year.

“So the spread of happiness is constrained by time and geography,” observes Christakis, who is also a professor of sociology in the Harvard Faculty of Arts and Sciences. “It can’t just happen at any time, any place.”

The researchers also found that, contrary to what your parents taught you, popularity does lead to happiness. People in the center of their network clusters are the most likely people to become happy, odds that increase to the extent that the people surrounding them also have lots of friends. However, becoming happy does not help migrate a person from the network fringe to the center. Happiness spreads through the network without altering its structure.

“Imagine an aerial view of a backyard party,” Fowler explains. “You’ll see people in clusters at the center, and others on the outskirts. The happiest people tend to be the ones in the center. But someone on the fringe who suddenly becomes happy, say through a particular exchange, doesn’t suddenly move into the center of the group. He simply stays where he is — only now he has a far more satisfying sense of well-being. Happiness works not by changing where you’re located in the network; it simply spreads through the network.”

Fowler also points out that these findings give us an interesting perspective for this holiday season, which arrives smack in the middle of some pretty gloomy economic times. Examination of this data set shows that having an extra $5,000 increased a person’s chances of becoming happier by about 2 percent. But the same data also show, as Fowler notes, that “Someone you don’t know and have never met — the friend of a friend of a friend — can have a greater influence than hundreds of bills in your pocket.”

This is the third major network analysis by Christakis and Fowler that shows how our health is affected by our social context. The two previous studies, both published in the New England Journal of Medicine, described the social network effects vis-à-vis obesity and smoking cessation.

The research was funded by the National Institutes of Health/National Institute on Aging, a Pioneer Grant from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, and a contract from the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute to the Framingham Heart Study.