Innovating Through Artistry

Archive for June, 2009|Monthly archive page

Creativity Workout!

In Author: Whitney Ferre on June 3, 2009 at 9:36 pm

Mandala to Meditate

Making a Mandala is such an easy way to relax, access new ideas and become completely present.

Mandalas have been created for centuries by many, many different cultures as a spiritual centering practice.  Remember, as a species, human beings created art long before we created an alphabet or a monetary system!  And it wasn’t easy!  They didn’t have the “craft cave” where all the supplies were readily available.  They had to dig the minerals out of the earth to create pigment for paint or cut down a tree, dry the wood, carve it out…to create the mask.  Why was this such an important activity to our ancestors when their biggest job was simply survive?  They spent valuable energy, time and resources to create art.  Why was it important?

Creating art connects you to a voice, I call it The Artist Within, that is connected to your spirit, that is completely present, that is closer to your subconscious & intuition.  “Primitive” cultures understood the importance of nurturing and accessing this voice.  Do we?

Since we live in such a busy, detail oriented, task laden world our Artist Within has been relegated to the back corners of our mind.  The symptoms of a mind that have not given this voice a platform in awhile are apathy, hopelessness, depression, anxiety, worry, stress…need I go on?  I certainly deal with at least two of those emotions daily as I ride the emotional roller coaster of being a restaurateur, a mother of three, a wife, an author, and a woman.  I have found the wellspring inside of my mind where I can go to balance those emotions with feelings of hope, peace, connection, unity, balance, rhythm…need I go on? 

So, create a Mandala today to create inner peace, centering, calm.  Just draw a circle, or trace a bowl, put a dot in the middle and start doodling.  Let me know how you feel after you have filled the space.


In a Word

In Author: John Cimino, ENTREPRENEUR THE ARTS, Entrepreneurial Evolution, Entrepreneurial Tool Box on June 2, 2009 at 6:34 am

The word is “consilience”, until recently, a rare word recovered for us by biologist, Edward O. Wilson. Literally, a “jumping together” of knowledge across disciplines, consilience is all about “connectivity” and the weaving together of ideas from different domains of knowledge to reveal deeper, common groundworks of explanation.
Our minds delight in consilience, notwithstanding the serious fragmentation of knowledge bequeathed to us by 20th and 21st century specialization.

Consilience, in turn, delights in inductive thinking, thinking which brings us from the specific and readily apparent to that which is more general, more pervasive, but perhaps hidden. Above all, consilience loves metaphors. Metaphors, the unifying insights! They connect – the color of my love’s eyes to the silver blue sea, or Juliet’s radiance to that of the sun. And that connection pleases us precisely because the field of meaning around “my love’s eyes” or “Juliet” has been expanded or positioned with distinction within the larger fabric of all that we know, all that we care about.

Our “big picture” has also been bumped up in coherence, the zillion bits of information rolling around in our head suddenly feel like they fit together more appropriately. That’s a good feeling. That’s consilience, at least, in miniature. Multiply the effect across the depth and breadth of the disciplines of knowledge and the myriad tones of experience and we see consilience as Wilson would have us see it, writ large: the goal of a true liberal arts education.

Knowledge fit together in a broad connected landscape. If only educators and leaders today could glance up from their bottom lines and lowest common denominators to see this writing on the wall. The “jumping together” of knowledge across disciplines (interdisciplinary thinking, learning and research) is thinking and learning at its basic best — and most joyful.

It’s time we invest our time and resources more wholeheartedly in this joyful activity. As I see it, consilience is the high ground in education, creative thinking and entrepreneurship. No doubt, it will require many brave, creative leaps from us all — and we will have to make many of these “leaps” against the prevailing currents of specialization.

Are you ready to leap? Are you ready for consilience? Start flexing those muscles. What price learning?

Ernesto Neto Sculpture in NYC!

In Author: Whitney Ferre on June 1, 2009 at 8:09 pm

Ernesto Neto @ Park Avenue Armory

I just got back from a short, but incredible, trip to New York City! The image above is from the Ernesto Neto Sculpture at the Park Avenue Armory. It is a sight to hold! The sculpture totally takes you in and transports you to another world! Those pieces hanging down are filled with aromatic spices! Some are red pepper, others are lavender or cumin! Amazing! Our Artist Within, right brain, registers scent along with visual images, so the combination is fabulous! If you can get to the Park Avenue Armory in the next couple of weeks, do it! I flew to NYC for the Book Expo of America (BEA) and to meet with new friends, John Cimino of Creative Leaps, Phil Alexander with the Lincoln Center for the Arts, Jennifer Hamady, and Paul Spencer Adkins. We had the most increbile pow-wow at the Alice Tully Cafe’ in the Lincoln Center. We each shared unique insight and approaches to personal creativity. John and Paul have worked together for 20 years bringing their “Concert of Ideas” to educators and corporations! Phil Alexander is Senior Director of outreach and education at the Lincoln Center for the Arts, bringing creative experience to children in NYC. Jennifer Hammady is a voice coach to singers and non-singers alike-showing them how to “find their voice”. She also has a new book just published about the subject. Bottom line: our own personal creativity is elemental in everything we do, every element of our lives. We have lost sight of that fact and all of us meeting there last Wednesday are committed to bringing that fact back into focus for everyone! I had a BLAST at the Book Expo. I wore my painted overalls and my grey blazer to illustrate the “right” and “left” brain side of all of us and handed out CREATE CHANGE stickers to everyone! They loved it! I was interviewed by Sirius Radio and met Greg Mortensen of Three Cups of Tea! Talk about a man who has created CHANGE! I passed out stickers to everyone waiting in line to meet him so by the time I got there he was curious about the CREATE CHANGE stickers! I was able to give him a copy of my book and thank him for his work in Pakistan and Afghanistan. Truly, the whole trip was an Artist Within experience. I met amazing people, had so much fun, and reached out for insight and guidance. I flew home Friday night and turned around to drive to Florida early Saturday morning with my business partner, 6 kids and 2 babysitters for our annual beach trip. Aahhhhhhhhh, the beach. I’ll send you all a picture of the ocean tomorrow. I will be at the Borders in Panama City Beach Friday night for a book signing. Right now I have to get my fussy 5 year old into his right brain! Create FUN today! Whitney

Sarah Lawrence-Lightfoot on Creativity and Innovation after 50

In Author: Lisa Canning, BOOKS: Learn and Grow, Creativity and Innovation, Emotional Intelligence, Entrepreneurial Evolution, Entrepreneurial Tool Box, Outside Your Comfort Zone, Risk, The Idea on June 1, 2009 at 9:00 am

Bill Moyers interviewed Harvard educator Sarah Lawrence- Lightfoot on May 11th, 2009 on his show Bill Moyers Journal on PBS. Sarah Lawrence-Lightfoot is an American sociologist who examines the culture of schools, the patterns and structures of classroom life, socialization within families and communities, and the relationships between culture and learning styles. She has been a full professor at the Harvard Graduate School of Education since the 1970s.

Sarah recently wrote her ninth book called The Third Chapter: Passion, Risk, and Adventure in the 25 Years After 50. The book is about redefining your life, later in life, by learning how to take risks, be more creative and innovative and why it is becoming increasingly an important priority for many. Based on two years of research, the topics she shares in this 35 minute interview include the psychology behind what she describes as a new way of learning in this stage of life, the value of mentorship, artistic expression and how to learn from generation Y. This is a worthy investment of your time.

Thanks Anne Breeden from Arts At Large for passing this along.

Some REAL help for Small Businesses

In ENTREPRENEUR THE ARTS on June 1, 2009 at 7:03 am

 I have been at the new aspect of  my business for over 5 years and had a client recently who ran the SBDA here in Portland Oregon.  She suggested I come and visit the orientation and see if they could help me with my organizational needs, system set ups (bookeeping, keeping track of clients, and future clients and past clients and phone numbers and emails) – all of which I’d been okay at but not really well versed at.  I realized I could do better not to waste  time with old systems.

Well, I sure learned a lot more than I imagined.  And they had a lot more to offer than I thought they would.  And although I’m not there yet.  I am super aware of what it is I need to do to be more successful.  The artist side of my brain didn’t fully examine all my specific business needs. 

And so I pass on to you this bit of a find I feel I have stumbled across.  Go visit the Small Business Development Center in your area.  It’s affordable and has a lot of good programs.

Hosted by leading universities, colleges and state economic development agencies, and funded in part through a partnership with the U.S. Small Business Administration, approximately 1,000 service centers are available to provide no-cost consulting and low-cost training.

The mission of the Association of Small Business Development Centers is to represent the collective interest of our members by promoting, informing, supporting and continuously improving the SBDC network, which delivers nationwide educational assistance to strengthen small/medium business management, thereby contributing to the growth of local, state and national economies.