Innovating Through Artistry

Archive for February, 2009|Monthly archive page

Find Your Passion and Change Everything

In Author: Lisa Canning, Creativity and Innovation on February 11, 2009 at 12:39 am

2256923368_800fea4945Creativity writer and consultant Ken Robinson recently, in January of 2009, launched his new book titled, “The Element.”

Robinson often speaks to his audience of the power and importance of building imagination. According to Steve Dahlberg who runs a blog called Applied Imagination, who was at the book launch of The Element, Ken had this to say “All cities owe their existence to imagination.”. “It’s this power of imagination will take us into the future — or not. And it’s this kind of imagination that’s most at risk. I think we squander it. Not only squander it — but suppress it ruthlessly.”

Robinson went on to talk about his concept of “the element,” which includes:

Discovering what one’s talents are. Doing something for which one has a natural aptitude. Doing something with which one resonates. “Many people have never discovered their real, natural talents.”

“People achieve their best when they do what they love.”

“Aptitude has to meet passion,” he said. “And you’ll never ‘work’ again.”

Have you heard any of this before here at ETA? Sound familiar??

Robinson went on to state that finding one’s element(s) is not only essential to finding personal fulfillment, purpose and meaning, but it’s essential to the balance of our communities. Plus, he said it has a bottom-line economic implication. “We are living in times of absolute revolution,” he told the audience of more than 500 people. “Revolution demands that we think differently.”

Yes indeed, dear reader! We must!

He urged people to pay attention to what assumptions they make and what they take for granted. “Things we take for granted turn out not to be true,” he said.

Robinson suggested this country has a “crisis of human resources” in which people area unaware of what they are good at, what talents they have, and how to do what they love to do. “Human resources are often buried deep,” he said. “You have to go looking for them.”

He said the conditions need to be right for these resources to reveal themselves — and then one has to be ready to do something with them when they appear. He used the example of the flowering of the normally barren Death Valley in 2005 as an example how deeply buried seeds can lay dormant for scores of years waiting for the conditions to be right to sprout and flower. “Death Valley is dormant, not dead,” he said.

As always, Robinson critiqued education’s overemphasis on particular kinds of thinking and learning (a la his TED presentation on “Do Schools Kill Creativity?” which has been viewed online by a couple of million people).

“Education was devised to develop a particular type of talents,” he said, adding that people think they are not smart because of the hierarchy of what kind of thinking is taught and shown importance.

Robinson shared what the three founders of The Blue Man Group are doing to address the lack of creativity in education. They have founded The Blue School. This will be something to watch — if not participate in. (Ironically, The Blue Man Group was featured in my book The Blue Bike that never sold..)

His final message came from the tag line of his book: “Finding your passion changes everything.”

Contestant #9 Christopher M. Simondet

In Entrepreneurial Artist Contest Contestants on February 10, 2009 at 11:03 pm

pictureTough Times, High Hopes
Written By: Christopher M. Simondet

Decisions are made every day for better and for worse. Throughout my life I have seen decisions that others have made and I have learned from them. I realized that every decision made has a ripple. The size of that ripple depends on the decision to be made. I had also realized that each person has a path. It is not always clear what that path actually is. I was once told that each person has a path and is always looking for it. What we don’t know is that we are already on that path. This knowledge came about after I found out that not everything in life can be controlled.

My life started out growing up in Minnetonka, MN raised by my parents, Jim and Julie. At a young age I looked up to mom and dad and always went to them for advice and counseling. I was a funny kid who was definitely different from most other kids and I loved to draw. I had an attention problem and was always in my own world but I was happy. As I grew a little older, I became more independent and less likely to listen to my parents. Right around my senior year in high school I started getting into trouble with the law. I was hanging around with classmates that weren’t the best influences and I was loosing sight of what was really important to me, and that was family.

Going to college at The University of North Dakota was a time of growth for me. I was able to explore my world and figure out who I was as a person. I started to really find my artistic side in a few art classes I had taken and took the initiative to design my fraternity’s rush shirts. Every body wanted one so the shirts sold in mass amounts. We ended up selling out of them and had orders for more. Being a student in commercial aviation I looked past what was really important to me and that was using creativity to design and to express my inner self.

Two and a half years into college at UND in the commercial aviation program I was diagnosed with Bipolar Disorder. I had been admitted into Altru Hospital in Grand Forks. My doctor struggled to get the right combination of medicine for me. The whole time I was in the hospital, I spent hours on drawing. After two weeks of being at Altru, I was discharged, still not doing well. Because of my condition I was no longer going to become a commercial pilot. I ended up leaving Grand Forks to move back in with my parents in Minnetonka. Life was very confusing at that point but I never lost hope.

Living with my parents again was ok at first but with our differed schedules, we began to get on each others nerves. I got back into school for Architecture at Dunwoody College of Technology when things settled and I had decided what I wanted to do with my life. I loved the program and was really getting into it. I was involved with the advanced student program, Phi Theta Kappa, and was burning the candle at both ends. I became sick again at the end of my first year. I was hospitalized again but, this time it was for three months. I then moved around to various housing facilities in Minneapolis. Through all of these hard times, the only thing that kept me going was my art. My true passion doesn’t lie within the art I produce and keep myself, it’s the art that I can share with others to brighten their day.

Once I moved out of the system’s hosing, I moved in with my brother in St. Louis Park. My true growth started the day I moved in. I have four roommates, including my brother, who care about me and want me to reach for the stars and succeed. I am the youngest in the house and have learned so much from these friends of mine. I have become a better person by being around them and have been able to share my art with each of them.

While living at my brother’s house, I joined the Family Savings Account program, through Lutheran Social Services, to secure some funding for the business I wanted to start, with the name Simi Stuff LLC. I went through classes, received business coaching, and wrote a very detailed business plan. I have just recently received access to the grant money and am now searching for suppliers to do business with. My company is very small but I like to say that I have big designs and big ideas. The artwork that I have presently been working on is all done with a black, ball point pen. I have utilized the “Continuous Line” concept that Picasso practiced, in most of my artwork. The designs I currently have in my portfolio are very unique. With these designs, Simi Stuff LLC will initially offer shirts, flex fit hats, zip up hoodies, wrist bands, and stickers. I am now back in school at Academy College for graphic design and absolutely loving it. Every day I look forward to what lies ahead for me.

My true passion is in drawing and is what I have the most practice at. I am always open to new mediums and plan on expanding my horizons with new ways to express myself. When I look at my life, all I see is art. It doesn’t have to be perfect and it doesn’t even need to make sense. I haven’t had an easy life and I don’t see it getting much easier. Sometimes the most valuable lessons are learned the hard way and this is the knowledge that lasts a lifetime.

Christopher M. Simondet

Why is Congress Attacking the Arts?

In Current Events on February 10, 2009 at 12:36 am

“Faced with an economic downturn of staggering proportions, some attack any help for the arts as waste, ignoring the millions of Americans who earn their livings and support their families through their artistic endeavors and arts-related enterprises. The economic stimulus bill currently under consideration on Capitol Hill shouldn’t neglect these Americans.” Huffington Post 2/6/09

This article was written by Robin Bronk and appeared in The Huffington Post on 2/6/09

In these times of economic crisis, it seems only rational that we should look back at our history to review what works if we want to create jobs and secure a strong economic legacy for future generations.

When faced with a collapsing economy, President Franklin Roosevelt tried to put Americans in all lines of work back on the job. Instead of singling out artists as somehow frivolous and unimportant to our nation’s economy, he instituted a host of programs designed to put federal funds into the arts, employing America’s creative talent and leaving a cultural legacy that endures still today.

The highpoint of this commitment was the Works Progress Administration’s Federal One program, which put thousands of Americans to work in the arts. The government program was a lifeline for Jackson Pollock, Mark Rothko, Orson Welles, Burt Lancaster, Sidney Lumet, Ralph Ellison, Richard Wright, Studs Terkel, John Cheever, Saul Bellow, and thousands of other artists across the country.

These programs created much-needed jobs in the immediate term, but they did much more. They fostered great talents that otherwise may have been lost. The work of the many great artists supported by the government in the 1930s still benefits us today. Their contributions to our culture endure, and their successful careers resulted in employment for many others in the years that followed.

Today, however, many of our leaders apparently have forgotten this lesson of our not-so-distant history. Faced with an economic downturn of staggering proportions, some attack any help for the arts as waste, ignoring the millions of Americans who earn their livings and support their families through their artistic endeavors and arts-related enterprises.

The economic stimulus bill currently under consideration on Capitol Hill shouldn’t neglect these Americans. The version of the bill passed by the House of Representatives contains $50 million in funding for the National Endowment for the Arts, which provides critical support for America’s not-for-profit arts institutions. This provision has been attacked as “pork” by some, while the Senate bill currently provides nothing for the NEA. To make matters worse, this week Senators stripped out a provision intended to provide the same job creating benefits for the film industry as the bill provides for other industries.

Why is it so hard for some to realize that jobs in the arts support millions of Americans and are no less worthy than any other job that puts food on the table? Economic studies indicate that 2.98 million Americans are employed in the arts or in arts-centric businesses. Each dollar allocated to the arts not only supports those individuals; the benefits flow outward to their communities and to other businesses. Movie production doesn’t require only actors and directors. Stay for the credits after a film ends and you can’t help but notice the incredible army of workers required to bring a story to the screen. In turn, each of those individuals and businesses spends money and pays taxes in their communities. The economic returns and stimulative effects are clear.

Beyond the finances, though, investing in the arts during these tough times can ensure that America doesn’t lose a generation of creative talent to our temporary economic woes. Somewhere in America today, there are individuals with the potential of Orson Welles and the artistic gifts of Mark Rothko. It is foolhardy to attempt to save our economy by ignoring our talent.

Learn From John Cimino, Creative Leaps Intl

In Entrepreneurial Tool Box on February 9, 2009 at 7:52 am

This five part series is an edited version of a presentation titled Bridging The Ingenuity Gap that John gave in Chicago at Catalyst Ranch in October of 2008. This video was shot by Kevin Kent, Stack City Pictures and edited by Gwydhar Bratton from Blue Damen Pictures. The juggler is Dharmesh Bhagat, a member of The Bite-Size Arts Ensemble.


Part I

Part I continued

Part II

Part II continued

Part III

Part IV

Part V

About John Cimino
John Cimino is president of Creative Leaps International (1992), The Learning Arts (1982) and founding president and CEO of their parent company, Associated Solo Artists, Inc. (1972). Educated at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute (biology & physics), the State University of New York at Albany (learning theory), and the Manhattan and Juilliard Schools of Music (music & voice), Cimino holds a uniquely interdisciplinary perspective and works across a host of disciplines dedicated to learning and human development. He is the winner of more than 20 national and international awards and prizes as an operatic and concert performer and has performed to acclaim throughout Europe and the continental United States in productions including LA BOHEME (Academy of Music, Philadelphia, opposite tenor Luciano Pavarotti, and LUISA MILLER (International Verdi Festival of Busetto, Italy, opposite tenor Carlo Bergonzi).

As a champion of the arts in education and professional life, Cimino has brought his “Concerts of Ideas” and other innovative arts programming into projects of the White House, the Center for Creative Leadership, WDC’s Center for Excellence in Municipal Management, and the leadership training programs of dozens of Fortune 500 companies including GE, IBM, Pfizer, McDonnell Douglas, the SC Johnson Company and Starbucks as well as to numerous universities and professional organizations. Recent projects include presentations before the Global Leadership Forum (Istanbul), the International Organization Development Association (Guanajuato), the Organizational Behavior Teaching Society (Irvine, Ca), the Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development (Alexandria, VA) the Association for Managers of Innovation (Greensboro, NC), the “Crossing Paths” Conference on interdisciplinary approaches to artist development (Indianapolis, IN), the “Common Ground” Conference speaking on Innovations Beyond the Classroom in Arts-Based Learning (Rochester), the NYSAAE Conference on “Using the Arts to Energize the Core Curriculum” (Bard College, Poughkeepsie) and the education conference of the Johnson City Arts Council in Tennessee, “The Arts Advantage in Teaching, Learning and Leadership”. Cimino is also a consultant and advisor to universities engaged in interdisciplinary reorganization and the introduction of arts-based teaching and learning, leadership, creativity and entrepreneurship initiatives, across the university curriculum.

Contact John at or through his website at

Contestant #8 Rita Milios

In Entrepreneurial Artist Contest Contestants, Writing on February 9, 2009 at 6:16 am

Dream Share written by Rita Milios

Share a Book…Share a Dream

rita_photoLike most artists, I suspect, I have a unique relationship with the “offspring” produced through my creative endeavors (in my case, books). Each one is an expression of the deepest part of me and each brings forth into the world by its very existence a message, a gift that wants to be shared. My children’s middle grade novel, Dream Share, nagged me to birth it. Now it is nagging me to send it out into the world with a unique and dramatic launch so that it may hopefully open minds and hearts to a greater awareness of the spiritual, metaphysical and paranormal realities that exist in our world—realities that today’s children are awakening to at increasingly early ages. As a psychotherapist, I know that this generation of kids is in desperate need of reliable, mature, well-grounded sources of guidance and stewardship regarding the metaphysical/spiritual realm. With Dream Share, I am building on my past work and also building a foundation for future work that most truly represents who and what I am… as a writer, as a person, as a psychotherapist, and as a pioneer and stalwart soldier of the Ancient Wisdom spiritual traditions.

I am not new to the world of book publishing. I have more than thirty published books, many of them for children, and most related to education and curriculum. Dream Share is my first children’s novel. Over the years, I have seen the marketing aspect of the book publishing process become ever more important and the responsibility for the bulk of this marketing shift more and more to the author– something I resisted at first, but I now enjoy. I’m passionately excited about marketing Dream Share, because it opens the door to a long-range marketing plan that involves numerous creative endeavors that move my career path ever closer to my true passions and my true gifts, as a teacher and guide to those just entering a spiritual path, and as an advocate for the newest and most vulnerable of this population, the recently awakened children, who are currently too often left to their own devises and lack a source of reliable, trustworthy education about the powerful potentials they are discovering within them.

My middle-grade paranormal children’s novel, Dream Share contains a nonfiction section at the end, called The Story Behind the Story. Here paranormal elements of the novel are elaborated on, using an author interview, scientific explanations and information. Readers are told why I wrote the book (some of the paranormal events are based on events experienced by a school principal¬–an interesting tidbit of trivia for students). I share scientific views about the paranormal aspects of the story and information about how kids can use dreams to elicit their own inner guidance. I also provide templates for creating Dream Journaling Pages.

A Dream Share Day Awareness Project is scheduled to coincide with the Dream Share book launch. It will raise awareness of the value of using dreams as a source of inner awareness and guidance and will encourage the sharing of dreams–both nightly dreams and “dreams” as aspirations. It will link Dream Share to future activities for both children and adults. Some of the associated marketing projects include:

1 . Dream Share Kickoff Dream Contest: Readers send in a “special” dream to share, telling why it is special (scary, prophetic, provided a lesson etc.). The winner receives a My Dream Journal book to record their dreams and a Dream Journal Slumber Party Package (“I Have a Dream to Share” buttons for party participants, free pizzas and a personal phone or online chat with the author–parental permission required).

2. Online Dream Quiz – What Kind of Dreamer Are You? (Daily Dreamer, Problem-Solving Dreamer, Mystical Dreamer, Lucid Dreamer)?

3. Ongoing Contests:

a) “Thank You for Telling Your Friends” (Florida-based Contest) Participants win a chance for an in-person Author Visit to their school and for their class to take part in Dream Research when they refer Dream Share to friends.

b) “My Dreamy Valentine” Contest: Participants write about a “dream person” (characteristics of an “ideal” boyfriend/girlfriend/ pal). Winner receives a “Pleasant Dreams Package” (body lotion, aromatherapy items etc.) to help them feel special and have “pleasant dreams” and a “Pleasant Dreams Technique” booklet that teaches how to “ask” for a night of pleasant dreams.

c) Dream Share Readers’ “Pop Quiz”: Participants answer questions
about Dream Share . Prizes include: Slumber Party; My Dream Journal; Pleasant Dream Package.

d) Monthly Birthday Dream Contest: Participants write about their greatest “dream” (aspiration/wish) during their birthday month. Winners receive an email consult /chat with Author to brainstorm how to make their dream come.

4. Dream Share Book Clubs: Children have an opportunity to enjoy reading and discussing books on topics related to the spiritual, metaphysical and paranormal, with an adult “mentor” who can act as resource person. Club Leaders receive monthly book suggestions and Discussion Points handouts for selected book, plus Q/A tips and relevant child-friendly website links.

5. Ask the Dream Lady Blog and Internet Radio Show: Readers send in dreams for interpretation. Selected dreams will be discussed on Author’s internet radio show or her Blog.

6. Rookie Researcher Investigative Discovery Project: As a Writer-in-Residence, Author will teach students how to conduct simple surveys, polls and focus groups, using dreams as the research focus. This project offers an opportunity to reach parents through related educational workshops (Why it is important to talk to kids about their dreams?). It also provides an opportunity to garner media attention for the project, the school and the Author. The project has curriculum correlations to Language Art and Science standards for grade 4-

With these plans I hope to help others, especially children, share their dreams and embrace their potentials; and I also hope to fulfill my own dreams as an author, entrepreneur and spiritual mentor.

Thank you for the opportunity to share my dream with you today. May all your dreams come true!

Rita Milios, The Mind Mentor, Hudson, Fl.

Will Act for Food

In Current Events, Interesting Articles on February 7, 2009 at 8:53 pm

This article appeared in Newsweek Jan 10th, 2009 and was written by Jeremy McCarter. Thanks James Wilney for passing it along. If you care about the arts, this article is a must read. It speaks to so many of the issues shared here on ETA. After you have read it, please go to the post US Senate Cut Arts Stimulus Support and send off your letter to your senator. It will take you two minutes.
Since election day, pundits have exhausted themselves trying to locate every last reason for Barack Obama’s win. But the fine-tooth combing has missed something—or, rather, someone: Walt Whitman. Nobody has pointed out that Obama shares his victory with the generations of writers and musicians and painters in the fervently democratic tradition that descends from our national poet.

To understand how the arts prepared the way for Obama, we first need to clarify what it means when people (including the president-elect) say that “only in America” could his story be possible. That can’t be a statement about law or politics, since the election of someone with Obama’s unconventional background is technically possible in plenty of democracies. It’s really a statement about our national imagination: only in America could a majority of voters see a person who is so unlike them—a black man who has an African father, a mother from Kansas, an international childhood, a name packed with vowels—as a fellow citizen who’s capable of leading them. And where did we Americans learn to be so uniquely broad-minded? In large part, from our artists.

Since Ralph Waldo Emerson issued his call for homegrown American creativity 130 years ago, and Whitman answered him with the all-embracing poems that helped shape the psyche of our polyglot young democracy, the arts have offered the various tribes of this country some of our best chances to know ourselves and one another, and to see the pleasures and pain of our interactions more clearly: think of what we’ve learned from Huck and Jim, “Invisible Man,” Alvin Ailey’s dances, “Angels in America,” the blues. Better yet, try to imagine how we’d relate to one another without them.

This isn’t to say the pressure from our artists has been steady or even all in one direction: important strains in our cultural legacy haven’t exactly blazed a new trail of multicultural understanding; others have propagated a gruesome number of demeaning racial and ethnic stereotypes. But at their best, our great artists have achieved in their work the kind of harmony that so often eludes us in life, firing our imaginations with advance glimpses of the more perfect union that the Founders envisioned but made only limited progress in achieving. We know, for instance, that in America, blacks and whites, Jews and Gentiles, highbrows and regular folk should all coexist in peace. Even if we’re still not sure how that union will look, the catchall beauty of “Rhapsody in Blue” tells us how it sounds.

Serenaded by the cross-pollinating strains of hip-hop and salsa, polka and jazz, the most vibrant stream of our culture has been slowly, fitfully molding us into what Randolph Bourne called “trans-national America.” In his landmark 1916 essay, the great cultural critic grasped that we were not, and should not try to be, a homogeneous nation with a single shared heritage, as in the Old World. We are instead becoming a people among whom even someone as category-defying as Barack Obama can feel at home: “a nation of nations” in which a “spiritual welding” among men and women of diverse traditions will make us “not weaker, but infinitely strong.” An America this generous and accepting—this absorbent—is the one for which Martin Luther King and the other heroes of the civil-rights struggle fought and bled and died. And only an America that has made real progress toward those ideals could dream of making the presidential choice we’ve just made.

Cultural issues, which aren’t a top priority for new administrations even in the best of times, will have trouble climbing very high on the Obama agenda. But in light of what this election has helped us to understand about the potency of the arts in our national life, the new president would be wasting a glorious opportunity if he failed to give them his attention. Partly it’s because the overlapping crises we face at the moment give him a rare chance to dream big. Partly, too, his singular story gives him a unique ability to make connections among people that might change the way we think about culture. But it’s also a question of his larger vision for society, which the arts could help him to realize. If he treats them wisely, he might foster a climate for creativity as unprecedented as his election.

Though Obama hasn’t made any arts or humanities appointments yet, he has signaled that he regards culture seriously. During the campaign, he took the unprecedented step of forming an Arts Policy Committee, which produced a thorough list of policy objectives. (Rare are the campaigns that can boast a statement of principles drafted by a Pulitzer Prize-winning novelist—in this case, Michael Chabon.)

To read the rest of the article click here

U.S. Senate Cut Arts Stimulus Support!

In Current Events on February 7, 2009 at 8:25 pm

header_logoBreaking News
Yesterday afternoon the U.S. Senate, during their consideration of the economic recovery bill, approved an egregious amendment offered by Sen. Tom Coburn (R-OK) that stated “None of the amounts appropriated or otherwise made available by this Act may be used for any casino or other gambling establishment, aquarium, zoo, golf course, swimming pool, stadium, community park, museum, theater, art center, and highway beautification project.” Unfortunately, the amendment passed by a wide vote margin of 73-24, and surprisingly included support from many high profile Senators including Chuck Schumer of New York, Dianne Feinstein of California, Barbara Mikulski of Maryland, Bob Casey of Pennsylvania, Amy Klobuchar of Minnesota, Russ Feingold of Wisconsin, and several other Democratic and Republican Senators.

If the Coburn amendment language is included in the final conference version of this legislation, many arts groups will be prevented from receiving economic recovery funds from any portion of this specific stimulus bill. It is clear that there is still much work to be done in the Senate and in the media about the role that nonprofit arts organizations and artists play in the nation’s economy and workforce.

Plan of Action
Arts advocates need to quickly contact Senators who voted for the Coburn Amendment and express your extreme disappointment with their vote. We need these Senators to know that their vote would detrimentally impact nonprofit arts organizations and the jobs they support in their state. We have crafted a customized message for you to send to your Senators based on their vote on the Coburn Amendment. The correct letter, customized to each of your Senators will appear when you enter your zip code. If your Senator voted for this funding prohibition, you can send them a message expressing your disappointment and ask them to work to delete this language in the final conference bill with the House. If your Senator voted against the Coburn Amendment, you can thank them for their support of the arts.

What Impact Does This Cut Have to The Arts
There are approximately 100,000 nonprofit arts organizations, which spend $63.1 billion annually. Without an economic stimulus for the nonprofit arts industry, experts expect about 10% of these organizations (ranging from large arts institutions like museums and orchestras to small community-based organizations in suburban, urban and rural areas) to shut their doors in 2009 – a loss of 260,000 jobs.

According to the Americans for the Arts, a $50 million investment to the National Endowment for the Arts will provide critical funding to save 14,422 jobs from being lost in the U.S. economy. This is based on the ability of the NEA to leverage $7 in additional support through local, state and private donations, for every $1 in NEA support.

In a report released in mid-January, the National Governor’s Association stated, “Arts and culture are important to state economies. Arts and culture-related industries, also known as “creative industries,” provide direct economic benefits to states and communities: They create jobs, attract investments, generate tax revenues, and stimulate local economies through tourism and consumer purchases.”

Barbara’s Life Flies High Like a Kite

In Health & Wellness, The Idea, Theater/Film, WEBSITES & BLOGS on February 6, 2009 at 7:42 am

dreamstime_6326490There is nothing more enjoyable than on a windy beautiful clear day flying a kite high up in the sky. I have a feeling Barbara Kite would agree.

If you are looking to discover how to share with others your uniqueness through acting and speech, be warned: Barbara might help you feel like a kid in the park again, on that windy day, with a kite flying high of your very own. Oh, and did I mention to you, dear reader, that you might also learn something in this interview about how niche produces thrive?

Barbara, tell us about you?
I am someone who is passionate about, and totally committed to, coaching actors and speakers in mastering the art of communication through acting skills. I am someone who has created a safe and challenging environment where all can grow.

I’m a New York trained actress and I have worked as a professional actor, director and acting coach in Toronto, New York and Portland for over 30 years. It has been a very rewarding experience helping speakers, actors, writers, film-makers, directors and singers to grow in their art and their life.

My professional work includes over 300 movies, television series, soaps, commercials, industrials and voice-overs – some of which I wish I hadn’t done. Oh well, – learning through mistakes.

Tell us about your work?
Some of my credits include (TV – movies, series, soaps) All My Children, As the World Turns, So the Story Goes, Duplicates, Without Warning: Terror in the Towers, Praying Mantis, Under Suspicion and Nowhere Man.
My Theatre credits (New York and Toronto) include The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie, The Beau Strategem, Hay Fever, Round and Round the Garden, A Little Night Music, The Cat and the Canary, Icarus’s Mother and Trojan Women. I have to admit theatre is truly my first love. Film and TV are all about “hurry up” and “wait” and theatre affords one a real exchange between people and a real sense of the character’s growth.

Where did you go to school?
I graduated from the American Academy of Dramatic Arts (NY) where I had the best time exploring acting. Just to put the icing on the cake I received the Jehlingher Award when I graduated the AADA. I graduated with an Honors Bachelor of Fine Arts from York University and received a scholarship to study in Poland at the Grotowski workshop as well as at the Film Institute in Lublin (Polanski’s alma mater).

I understand you wrote a play specifically for women?
I had an exciting time collaborating with poet/playwright Victoria Sullivan as Co-artistic Director of the Women’s Production Company in New York City where I got to direct and act in plays specifically written for and about women.

What are some of your other passion projects?
I am proud of the work I’ve done with Teen actors in helping them present important works to their community dealing with teen immigrants (Border Crossings) and Portland’s remaining holocaust survivors (NAKT: Stories from the Holocaust).

What are you working on currently?
Currently – as a director I am honored to have been the acting coach/director on TANGOING WITH TORNADOES a wonderful play written by award winning Oregonian journalist, S. Renee Mitchell.

Together with Renee I have created a one woman show for her that has toured Guam, Talahassee and New Orleans. Plans are being made for touring more cities and countries now.

I enjoyed my work as Acting Coach on the movie, WELCOME TO MY SCENE (about a punk rock group from PORTLAND in the 80’s).

What organizations do you belong to?
I am a member of NSA (National Speakers Association), AFTRA (American Federation of Television Artists), SAG (Screen Actors’ Guild). AEA (Actors’ Equity Association), ACTRA, (Association of Canadian Television and Radio Artists), NWBN (Northwest Business Network), and the NWCA (North West Coaches Association), BDI ( Business Development Network) and Portland Connect. I am also a member of itafari, a very special foundation that helps the people of Rwanda rebuild their country after the genocide.
Why are you so passionate about being a speaking coach?
I DEDICATE MY WORK TO SUPPORTING THE DANGEROUS ACTOR and THE AUTHENTIC SPEAKER as they are the ones I learn the most from; the ones that really speak to me, giving me new perspectives, expanding my universe and teaching me about humanity.

I challenge you to try something distinctly NEW and more fully embrace untapped areas of your creativity.
I know you are far more creative and capable than you can possibly imagine, and I can prove it to you.

Here are some of Barbara’s favorite quotes:

“Everything you want is just outside your comfort zone.” R. Allen

“The real actor has a direct line to the collective heart.” — Bette Davis

“Always work from inside out; if you work from the outside in, all you have is a dry husk.” — Meryl Streep

“All things are difficult before they get easy.” Thomas Fuller.

I must say, Barbara these quotes are excellent and all so true! And, dear reader, if you wish to reach out and say hello to Barbara you can at or check our her website

NEA Announces New Acting Chairman

In Current Events on February 6, 2009 at 2:25 am

This article was written by by Peggy McGlone/The Star-Ledger and appeared Jan 29, 09

Patrice Walker Powell, deputy chairwoman for states, regions and local arts agencies at the National Endowment for the Arts, has been named acting chairwoman of the federal arts agency.

Powell, who was named deputy chairwoman last Februrary, has worked at the NEA since 1991. She will lead the agency until President Obama announces a permanent replacement for Dana Gioia, who resigned earlier this month after six years on the job. (Go here to learn more about her.)

“She’s smart, very professional and has her ear to the ground,” said Ann Marie Miller, executive director of ArtPride/New Jersey, who has worked with Powell. “She knows what’s happening in the arts all over the United States. She’s a great pick.”

In addition, Anita Decker has been appointed by the White House as director of government affairs.

In other NEA news, the $819 billion economic stimulus package passed by the U.S. House of Representatives includes an additional $50 million for the federal agency.

“These additional funds will allow arts organizations–large and small–to play a vital role in reviving their local economy,” said Robert Lynch, president and CEO of the Americans for the Arts, a national advocacy organization. “The arts are a prime vehicle for job creation and a valued economic distribution mechanism.”

The NEA issued a statement about the bill, officially called the American Recovery and Reinvestment Plan, that emphasizes the economic muscle of the arts industry. “The arts and culture industry is a sector of the economy just like any other with workers who pay taxes, mortgages, rent and contribute in other ways to the economy,” said the NEA statement. “The National Endowment for the Arts is uniquely positioned to assist in job stimulation for that industry.”

The Arts in Crisis: A Kennedy Center Initiative

In Current Events, Interesting Articles on February 5, 2009 at 12:14 am

This article appeared in Arts Journal Feb 4, 2009 written by Andrew Taylor
The Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts announced their Arts in Crisis initiative this week (covered here in the Washington Post), designed to provide emergency planning assistance to cultural organizations in trouble during tough economic times. Through the system, any nonprofit arts organization can request advice and counsel — both from the leadership and staff of the Kennedy Center, and from a growing list of mentors who can sign up through the web site.

It’s a wonderful example of an established and well-resourced cultural institution embracing its position and its privilege as a platform to help their smaller peers. And it’s great to see such quick and proactive response from an organization who could easily have claimed it was not their job.

But while I applaud and honor the effort, I hope it also comes with a willingness to embrace a larger truth: The Kennedy Center is part of a network of networks, part of an ecology of resources focused on the task. Their impact will be exponentially more profound if they do not assume they are going it alone.

The crisis in the arts, or any other industry, is an ecological one. Any crisis can certainly benefit from unilateral and independent action. But a more resilient and encompassing response would also include recognition and interconnection of the entire ecosystem that provides coaching, counseling, mentorship, and responsive strategy support to organizations and leaders at the edge of collapse.

National service organizations in the arts, state and local arts councils, national nonprofit support organizations like CompassPoint or the Nonprofit Finance Fund, regional endeavors like Springboard for the Arts, and academic centers of research and service in nonprofit cultural management have been doing this work for decades, and may have some best practices and systemic knowledge that could promote both the capacity and the success of the Arts in Crisis mission. Simple initial efforts such as staff awareness of the many players in the game, and effective referral efforts for incoming requests would help. Lists and links to regional and local resources for advice and counsel would help as well (even the Small Business Development Centers across the country have extraordinary and productive insights to share).

Clearly, quick action is needed. And blissfully, the Kennedy Center and Michael Kaiser have stepped up as they have so often in the past. But neither the Kennedy Center nor Mr. Kaiser has the capacity (or full range of insight) required to engage the tidal wave of cultural leaders who need help.

Only by recognizing the full network of resources in the system, and engaging in a way that both aligns individual energy and builds the capacity of the network, will we effectively navigate this current cycle and emerge more strongly on the other side.

Send Your Creativity Through The Mail

In WEBSITES & BLOGS on February 4, 2009 at 5:35 am

scooby-and-lennon_2Last weekend I went to Costco and discovered this very creative and simply idea: customized stamps through the mail. What a cleaver innovative idea and it appears quite a big business. I am always looking for opportunities to share some of my favorite pictures of my dogs with anyone who is willing to take a look and listen to me talk about my babies. Now I can with every letter I mail and for not greater than the regular price of a stamp. Great innovative ideas don’t have to be complicated to work– proves it!

Dear Reader meet Lennon ( as in John) little black and white brother to Scooby- Do. Both of my dogs were rescued from a shelter. Lennon was in a high kill shelter in Ohio. Scooby needed a play mate and a buddy. Lennon is the best little buddy ever.

The Leader in PC Postage
With over 400,000 monthly subscribers,™ is the leading provider of Internet-based postage solutions. was the first company to be approved by the U.S. Postal Service® to offer a software-only postage service that lets customers buy and print postage online. The company targets small businesses, small and home offices and individuals through partnerships with companies including Microsoft, EarthLink, HP, Office Depot, NCR, Corel, the U.S. Postal Service and others. is a publicly traded company on the NASDAQ under the symbol STMP. Service offers customers a secure Internet mailing solution to print postage using their existing PC, printer and Internet connection without having to go to the Post Office.™ Individuals, home offices and small businesses can now manage their mailing and shipping operations more efficiently and securely than with postage meters or regular stamps. Everyone can enjoy the convenience of online postage and avoid waiting in line at the Post Office. In addition, for businesses, is up to 80% cheaper than a traditional postage meter and allows for easy tracking and reporting of postage expenditures.

SEA Conference Lilse, IL February 27-28th, 2009

In Current Events on February 3, 2009 at 12:05 am

banner4_newThe focus of SEA is on the business of art. SEA was created with the idea that more artists will succeed if they have business skills, knowledge, resources, and contacts. Through artist-led conferences, a website full of resources and articles, and educational tools like the award winning Entrepreneurial Artist DVD; SEA helps artists turn their passions into a living. SEA is for college students, serious high school students, artists, and educators.

This year’s 9th SEA conference, for the midwest region, will be held Hilton Hotel Lilse, Illinois.
Besides topic specific sessions led by artists, panel discussions and workshops, the conference offers:

The gallery is a place for visual artists to display their work. The Gallery is open to all types of visual art. You are welcome to leave a manuscript, pottery, painting, photographs, furniture, etc. Entries may also be submitted electronically. A digital slide show will be put together. There will be a Gallery Reception on Friday evening. Make sure to send in your gallery registration form (part of your conference registration form) early to ensure space for your work. Space is limited!

One-on-One Sessions
Several time slots have been set aside for speakers and attendees to have a chance to meet one and one and talk about their art and life goals. Many describe this experience as “magical” and certainly should not be missed. No matter what the art – music, literary, theater, etc. – speakers are asked to spend time meeting with attendees for approximately 15 minutes each to go over their art, answer questions, offer advice, and just chat about life goals as a self employed artist. There will also be tables set aside for attendees in the same area to meet with each other in a small group. This is a great networking opportunity and can be one of the most beneficial experiences of the conference. BE SURE TO BRING SAMPLES OF YOUR WORK. If you have a laptop, we encourage you to put together a digital portoflio that you can use to share your work with others while at the conference.

Thoughout the conference the audience will be entertained by attendees’ artistic talents.

Performances may include dance, music, theatrical sketches, and readings.

If you are interested in performing at the conference, please contact Amy Rogers at 630-637-5468 or Space is Limited.

Breakfast with the Artists
Start your morning out right on Saturday by joining one of the speakers and other attendees for informal conversation. There is no advanced sign-up so make sure to get up early and join in.

Late Night Activity Rooms
Friday night is full of fun and networking. Join in one or more of these activities: Create Room, TV/Film Viewing Room, Open Mic, Dance-N-Jam Session, and a Journal Swap. There is also a Gallery Reception, Audition Critiques, and One-on-One Sessions on Friday evening.

Inside the Industry Panels
Get an inside look into your industry from experts in the field.

Artist Led Sessions
These sessions are led by successful self-employed artists. Topics range greatly and change each year. Topics in the past have included Pricing Your Art, Getting Your Work Published, Fundraising for Films, Making Time For Success, Finding Representation in Major Market Galleries, The Indie Music Scene, and more. There are also sessions led by Support Professionals such as lawyers and accountants.

To register click here

What Grammy Can Learn from 3 Innovators

In Interesting Articles, Leadership, Music on February 2, 2009 at 12:36 am

This article appeared in The Chicago Tribune on Sunday February 1, 2009
It was written by Greg Kot

If the sagging music industry really wanted to turn itself around, Radiohead, Lil Wayne and Paul McCartney would be doing more than just performing next weekend at the Grammy Awards in Los Angeles. They also would be dispensing business advice on innovative distribution models.

The National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences, which represents the 20,000 industry professionals who vote on the Grammys, signed those high-profile artists to boost ratings at the nationally televised awards presentation (7 p.m. Feb. 8 on WBBM-Ch. 2). But the Academy should also study how these artists have continued to remain relevant and commercially successful at a time when the Grammys and the mainstream music industry are struggling.

Like the major labels the awards have represented for the last half-century, the Grammys need a makeover. Ratings are down; last year’s telecast drew 17.5 million viewers, down 12 percent from the previous year, and down 42 percent from the all-time 1993 high of 30 million. The music industry isn’t doing much better; it has lost one-third of its business in CD sales since 2000. The biggest losers have been the Big Four labels: Universal Music Group, Sony BMG, EMI and Warner Music Group, which traditionally back most of the Grammy nominees.

But the music world itself has never been more vibrant. Artists, many without major-label affiliation, are pioneering new avenues for releasing their music and building an audience. Radiohead, McCartney and Lil Wayne speak to different generations of listeners, but they have all expanded their careers in recent months by working around the stodgy music industry and releasing music in a wide variety of platforms.

Radiohead’s “In Rainbows,” nominated for album of the year among several awards, was initially released on the band’s Web site at a price of the consumers’ choice. Since then, the band has solicited and received thousands of fan-generated videos and remixes of the album’s songs. McCartney ended a four-decade partnership with the major labels in 2007 and revived his career by releasing his last two albums, one under the name of the Fireman, through independent outlets, including a coffee retailer. And Wayne paved the way for his multimillion-selling major-label release, “Tha Carter III,” also nominated for album of the year, with a series of unauthorized mix tapes distributed for free through the Internet.

In years past, independent artists had no place at the Grammys. Though the awards purported to honor “artistic excellence,” they focused primarily on big-budget releases from the handful of major labels that had dominated the business in the last half of the 20th Century.

The majors’ grip on music distribution loosened as peer-to-peer file sharing exploded on the Internet at the start of the decade. Illicit downloads now outnumber paid downloads 40-1, which means that more people are listening to more music than ever, but the mainstream industry hasn’t been able to take advantage of this extraordinary marketing opportunity. Radiohead, Wayne and McCartney were among the artists quick to recognize the potential of this new distribution model, and they operate as independent entrepreneurs rather than major-label vassals.

Another innovator the industry should be getting to know better is Nine Inch Nails’ Trent Reznor, who received two relatively minor Grammy nominations but is not scheduled to perform at the awards ceremony. That’s a shame, because few artists had a more successful year. Functioning as a one-man music industry, he released five albums’ worth of new music through his Web site in myriad formats and price levels. After releasing a boxed set of instrumental music last March, he reported first-week revenue of $1.7 million. Because he didn’t have a major-label publicity and marketing machine behind him, Reznor kept most of that take for himself.

Of course, Reznor benefited from years of major-label investment in building his career, as did McCartney, Radiohead and Lil Wayne. But now these artists, and countless others, are starting to realize that they don’t need a major label to communicate directly with their fans. In the next year, major breadwinners such as Pearl Jam, 50 Cent, Metallica and Beck will become free agents, and they will certainly ponder whether they’d be better off without a label when they release their next albums. Though the big labels have the resources to expose music in the mainstream media, they have lost the trust of consumers by placing profit and expediency ahead of artistic accomplishment and long-term growth. Listeners no longer deem many CDs worth the $18 list price and have sought out alternative means of sampling music, including file-sharing. Instead of following the consumers’ lead, the industry has tried to stifle them by suing file-sharers.

Radiohead, Lil Wayne, Paul McCartney and Nine Inch Nails have chosen a different path, one in which they deal more directly than ever with their fans, and it has paid off handsomely. The music industry would be wise to learn from their example.

Creativity and Imagination Training is on the Rise!

In Current Events, ENTREPRENEUR THE ARTS, Marketing on February 1, 2009 at 5:47 am

dreamstime_6193508Congrats Linda Naiman for finding this great Harvard report on the value of developing more creativity and imagination across college campuses. My heart jumps for joy with every article like this I read because the world is awakening to the possibilities of what artistic training can provide, finally, before our very eyes. I truly thought this day would never come. Keep up the great work Linda!

John Cimino and I just returned from a day we spent with faculty fellows at Millikin University. It was not only a special day because we were off campus at the zoo, but in the middle of the afternoon the wolves howled. It was like they were singing Millikin’s praises for promoting the development of entrepreneurial imagination.

Take notice dear reader. The state of the world is offering up a new world of possibilities. Perhaps for the first time ever the arts will draw the kind of attention they deserve. There really is profound economic value from learning how to become more creative- and what’s even better it comes from the world inside of you that simply needs to come encouraged and reminded how to come out into the sunshine and play.
Harvard University recently published a task force report on a New Vision for the Arts. The report says while the arts may be everywhere on campus, they are also conspicuously marginal.

The vitality of artistic activity on campus is rendered nearly invisible to the Harvard and local community by the lack of a centralized listing of readings, performances, screenings, and exhibitions. It is a typical and frequent experience for anyone vitally interested in the arts here to learn a day or a week after the event that something remarkable has occurred and is now over. And, more deeply we have, in relation to the arts, failed to foster a sense of urgency. What is missing—what the university has yet sufficiently to recognize and to broadcast—is a sense that the arts matter, and not just for one’s private pleasure, but for one’s public person and career.

The university wants to take the arts out of the sidelines and make it more central to education.

To allow innovation and imagination to thrive on our campus, to educate and empower creative minds across all disciplines, to help shape the twenty-first century, Harvard must make the arts an integral part of the cognitive life of the university: for along with the sciences and the humanities, the arts—as they are both experienced and practiced—are irreplaceable instruments of knowledge.

Yes, the arts matter in business, society and culture and I’m glad Harvard sees the light.

Read the full report here: