Innovating Through Artistry

Archive for the ‘Writing’ Category

CAEF: A**ess This!

In Author: Melissa Snoza, Authors, Creativity and Innovation, Current Events, Entrepreneurial Tool Box, Music, Theater/Film, Writing on October 24, 2009 at 11:27 pm


Yesterday, I attended the second in a series of events presented by the Chicago Arts Educators Forum, an initiative started by Merissa Shunk and Nicole Losurdo and sponsored by CAPE. This community of teachers, teaching artists, and organizations explores common challenges and opportunities in arts education in the Chicago area.

This day of discussions and workshops centered around assessment, everyone’s favorite part of the process when designing an educational program or residency. Confronting the negativity that surrounds this process head-on, the organizers created a parking garage for frustrations (participants wrote their biggest challenges on sheets of paper taped to toy cars and “parked” them for the day) and an anonymous confessional that also served as the event’s video documentation.

Why so negative? Many artists and organizations view assessment as something they must do for their funders and for the public. So many of us have found ourselves daunted by the task of evaluating the same programs several different ways using the specific criteria presented by those who have provided support. It begins to feel like the process of assessment is about teaching to the test – making sure that the outcome fit the objectives set forth by the organization and its funders.

But what other purposes can this process serve? A question that became a lightbulb moment for many participants was: “Who is this assessment for?” Of course, we’re responsible to those who provide support, but the assessment and evaluation process is also meaningful tools for students, teachers, teaching artists, and organizations if done in a way that captures the depth of the work. In this way, we begin to connect our larger objectives and the activities that accomplish them to our assessment tools, rather than putting the cart before the horse by using a standardized method.

Another theme that resurfaced multiple times was the question of how to quantify social and emotional progress, or literacy and cognitive skills that become evident in work samples more clearly than in a multiple-choice test. In the case studies we examined, many organizations found themselves asking students to take pre- and post-residency surveys, asking questions like “Do you feel a personal connection to these characters” on a scale from 1-5. Often, the difference in responses wasn’t meaningful.

A great start to the answer of this question was presented in Dennie Palmer Wolf’s keynote presentation. She displayed pre- and post-residency work samples from the same student, showing the difference in the vocabulary and depth after working with the teaching artist. One could feasibly assign a number scale to these factors to chart progress, in addition to having the samples available for review. Or, she showed diaries of a day in the life of two students, one of which was participating in an arts program, with yellow highlights on the parts of the day where the student felt personally and deeply engaged. Having five of those moments instead of one is a measurable and meaningful effect of the influence this program has.

The day really helped me and the rest of our staff think much differently about how we assess, evaluate, measure, and document our work, and how connected those tools must be to our own objectives rather than a pre-designed template. The funny part is, making these tools authentic in this way will result in data that can then be pulled to highlight the factors a funder will want to see, while telling a richer story that will be meaningful to our organization, the students, teachers, parents, and schools we serve.

Melissa is the flutist and Executive Director of the Chicago-based Fifth House Ensemble. Like what you read here? For more music entrepreneurship tidbits, visit www.playingclosetothebridge.wordpress.com, brought to you by members of 5HE.

Advertisements

The Arc of the Story: At the Threshold

In Author: Amy Frazier, Creativity and Innovation, ENTREPRENEUR THE ARTS, Theater/Film, Writing on October 6, 2009 at 9:55 am

What’s up with the resistance?

You know the one. The resistance that comes shortly after you decide to launch a new creative endeavor. The resistance that whispers in your ear that maybe the idea isn’t that great, or you really don’t have the time, or you’re really not so good after all.

Maybe it doesn’t affect you. If not, I’m willing to bet you’re in the minority. For a lot of artists, the initiatory phase of a project can be a very painful back-and-forth play of initiative and doubt.

When I’m acting, for example, it usually shows up at the first blocking rehearsal. When asked to actually get the character “up on its feet,” I often balk. In the course of the entire rehearsal period and even through opening night, I will never feel as awkward and disembodied as I will on the first blocking rehearsal. I’d rather be anywhere else then right there.

Then there’s writing. Every writer knows that big blank page. Now, a computer screen. I wonder if the relative effortlessness of tapping and deleting with no crumpled paper overflowing the wastebasket as evidence doesn’t somehow cover for the fact that we’re stuck. No. We still know. We might not have the physical evidence of every crappy opening line–it may have vanished into electronic ether–but we get it: our writing sucks.

I suspect painters, sculptors, dancers, musicians have their own issues.

Right now, I’m working on a program I’ll be delivering at the European Conference on Creativity and Innovation in Brussels at the end of the month, called “Riding the Arc of the Story.” I’ve had my own deal getting it pulled together, but what I wanted to share in this post was something I’ve learned while working on the program, about narrative structure and the Hero’s Journey.

Evidently, as soon as the hero begins her journey, she is met at the threshold by beings whose purpose it is to provide initial resistance in the form of a test: is the hero up for the challenge? They’re called “threshold guardians,” and they can show up as friends, family, foes…or even part of our own psyche, our shadow. (I know this one!)

The concept of the Threshold Guardian has given me a new way of looking at my internal resistance to the early phases of a project. Now, instead of either giving in to the temptation to pull away, or feeling like I have to muscle through and pretend the resistance isn’t there, I remind myself that I might be on the threshold, and this might be only a test. Of the emergency threshold guardian system. And it’s ok.

The next time you find yourself hitting that resistance wall, ask yourself: is this a wall? or might it actually be an opening. Might you actually be on the threshold of something entirely new?

Chicago Dramatists- Branching Out

In Author: Gwydhar Bratton, Entrepreneurial Tool Box, Theater/Film, Writing on October 2, 2009 at 9:33 am

If you’ve always wanted to try screenwriting but never felt like you knew where to start, now is your opportunity! The Chicago Dramatists, an organization that supports playwrights and their creative process, is now offering a course on screenwriting. The listing for the course reads something like this:

SCREENWRITING FUNDAMENTALS – The Art & Science of the Screenplay

Like any medium, screenwriting has its own rhythm and flow, challenges and rewards. This course is designed for beginning-to-intermediate writers to learn the art and science of writing cinematically. Topics covered will include Structure, Character, Plot, Dialogue, Genre-Busting, The Genius of Rewriting, Formatting the Page, The Cost of Marketing, Math vs. Jazz, Studio vs. Indie, Contracts, and How to Be a Professional. Class time will entail lecture, discussion, DVD examples, and in-class writing projects. And because screenwriting is not a one-size-fits-all endeavor, there will be one-on-one time geared for your particular project.

Piqued your interest? Just think of the possibilities! I hear through the grapevine that this course still has a few slots available, but they won’t last long. After all, Chicago is home to one of the largest film schools in the world, which means that every year more and more filmmakers are emerging in search of high quality scripts to produce and yours could be one of them.

In fact, while I’m at it I might as well mention that Blue Damen Pictures is going to be seeking a writer to help us put together a script for a 10 minute short film that we have a concept for. We are working on a series of short films called “The Insomniac Chronicles” that will eventually be put together to create a feature length film. The award winning short “The Visionary” (which just screened at Elgin Film Festival) is the first film that we produced in this series but we hope to do many more.

So get your pencils ready and jump in to the exciting world of screenwriting! For more information about the Chicago Dramatists course you can visit their website at: http://www.chicagodramatists.org/home/index.html

Big hearts come from Art

In Author: Lisa Canning, Creative Support, Emotional Intelligence, Leadership, Outside Your Comfort Zone, Writing on September 18, 2009 at 5:25 am

Let Your Heart SoarWhat the world needs more than ever is to discover who we are.

Do you know who you are?
Still holding your one-way ticket there?

Big hearts come from Art.
YOUR IMAGINATION won’t dream small.

Wear your art on your sleeve with me.
Let me see you soar into the person you most want to become.

Today was a great day…. how about for you?

Free Sales and Marketing Class- Chicago- Starts Oct 5th

In Art, Author: Lisa Canning, ENTREPRENEUR THE ARTS, Entrepreneurial Evolution, Entrepreneurial Tool Box, Fashion, Marketing, Writing on September 7, 2009 at 12:32 am

Are you a visual artist? Do you paint? Knit clothing? Make greeting cards or jewelry? Would you like to turn your passion into profit but need help?

Flourish Studio’s located at 3020 N Lincoln Avenue, is accepting new products for their retail floor. Gain exposure and credibility for your artistry in this top notch retail and art gallery. All artists approved for Flourish’s Artisian Program will be eligible for a FREE 8 week sales and marketing class offered by Lisa Canning.

Topics will include: How to price your product, create your identity to the public, as well as develop selling and marketing techniques to build demand for your product profitably.

All artists accepted into the program require 5 hours weekly of unpaid retail floor time and a 50/50 revenue split. Classes start Monday October 5th at 7pm.

For more information email me at Lisa@EntrepreneurTheArts.com or call 847.774.2938. This is a great opportunity to gain support for your ideas and begin your business in a first class location and neighborhood in Chicago.
Picture 6

Riding the Arc of the Story: Inciting Obstacles

In Author: Amy Frazier, Creativity and Innovation, ENTREPRENEUR THE ARTS, Writing on September 1, 2009 at 6:54 am

All of a sudden, you have it: a beautiful idea! It comes to you full blown and shimmery. Perhaps something brand new you’ve never before conceived, or perhaps the result of pondering long and hard. Regardless, there it is: exciting, and full of energy. Your idea can do no wrong. The world is its oyster. It is your helium balloon.

Ideation. What a great place to be.

You, and perhaps a happy gang of fellow-ideators, begin to bring this effervescent, brilliant idea into being. Plans are drawn, schemes concocted, url’s purchased and celebrations forseen. It’s all a giddy whirl.

Until the obstacles start to arrive. Perhaps not with the first obstacle, or the second, or the third. But eventually it happens: something comes up and you don’t know if you can get around it. As sure as ideas are born, obstacles come in their wake. It is like a natural law.

In the move from ideation to implementation or execution, the emergence of obstacles can tell us many things. It can be a reality check, or a good moment for redirection. A serious obstacle has the power to derail the entire scheme.  Most people, I think, realize that when ideas hit the real world, they are reshaped, and sometimes with difficulty.

But how do we respond when it happens? Think especially of group endeavors. How do different personalities react to the emergence of a serious obstacle to implementation? Can you think of a time when someone has thrown up their hands and said: “At last! Now the real story has begun!”

That’s what the narrative arts have to show us. If we look at the implementation phase through the lens of narrative structure, we can see how stories don’t really get started until the first big whammy. There’s even a term for it: the inciting event. Anything before the inciting event (also sometimes known as the first plot point), is merely background, setting the stage. The action does not really begin to elucidate meaning within the framework of the story, until something unexpected shows up.

The arrival of obstacles which appear to thwart our plans does not necessarily mean that the idea wasn’t solid or real enough for the real world. In fact, it might be just the opposite. The natural pairing of idea and obstacle, story and inciting event, can give us energy for the next phase: the rising action.

I’ll be exploring other narrative structural elements in later posts. I’ll also be giving a workshop on the use of the narrative arts in effective implementation for the European Conference on Creativity and Innovation, in Brussels in late October. And, as befits the theme, I’ve been noticing that since I had the idea for the workshop…well, let’s just say that I’ve been keeping good company with some of my favorite obstacles. But more on that to come…

The Institute For Arts Entrepreneurship- Opening Fall 2010!

In Art, Author: Lisa Canning, Cooking & Food, Creativity and Innovation, Emotional Intelligence, ENTREPRENEUR THE ARTS, Entrepreneurial Evolution, Entrepreneurial Tool Box, Fashion, Health & Wellness, Leadership, Marketing, Money, Music, Outside Your Comfort Zone, Risk, The Idea, Theater/Film, Writing on August 21, 2009 at 11:07 pm

InstArtsEntrep_BoldIn the fall of 2010 The Institute for Arts Entrepreneurship will open at 3020 N Lincoln Avenue in Chicago, Illinois.

As an independent but collaborative effort with Jim Hart’s Austin Conservatory of Professional Arts, IAE will be devoted to the development of the artist as entrepreneur.

Lead by my vision and passion, The Institute for Arts Entrepreneurship will be seeking applicants from any artistic discipline. Requirements for enrollment will be a minimum of a 4 year degree–a bachelors degree– in an artistic discipline. The program will be a two year program that is focused on artistic venture creation and servant leadership. It will begin as a school in the fall of 2010 with full accreditation. Auditions will begin February/March of 2010 for all interested applicants.

For more information about enrollment or if you are interested in partnering with either Jim Hart or myself, in some way, please email me. Lisa@EntrepreneurTheArts.com

Batteries Included

In Art, Author: Lisa Canning, Cooking & Food, Emotional Intelligence, Entrepreneurial Evolution, Entrepreneurial Tool Box, Fashion, Health & Wellness, Leadership, Music, The Idea, Theater/Film, Writing on August 21, 2009 at 6:26 pm

horse
bug
viagra

While there are lots of ways to feel like your batteries are super charged in life, I think the only one that really works is following your heart.

Unlike your camera, computer, watch, or the clock you own that needs batteries to run, you are self-empowered and come with a life long battery included.

You see your heart never needs a new battery to super charge your life. Nor does it need the thrill of riding on a mechanical horse, or zooming around on the wings of a battery powered bug, or the jolt of a pill to get your juices flowing.

If you think you need any of those things to jump-start your life, your taking your one ever-lasting battery for granted. Don’t do that. It won’t stay super charged anyway for very long if you do, unless you give it the energy it really needs by fueling your life with passion.

Yeah, I know. We have talked about this a few times before: passionate pursuits are never easy. It sounds great to pursuit what you love, doesn’t it, until you find yourself riddled with moments that don’t seem passionate at all- times when you simply are grateful you do come with a battery included so you can just keep on running.

Sure we all have moments like these on the road to our adventure. But keep your eye on your vision, pursue your passions, sleigh your dragons anyway, beat back the bushes with your home made machete, and be the first to walk where only your dream can see.

After all, this is why you do come with batteries included…

Are You Relevant?

In Art, Author: Lisa Canning, Cooking & Food, Creative Support, Creativity and Innovation, Emotional Intelligence, ENTREPRENEUR THE ARTS, Entrepreneurial Evolution, Entrepreneurial Tool Box, Fashion, Health & Wellness, Leadership, Money, Music, Outside Your Comfort Zone, Risk, The Idea, Theater/Film, WEBSITES & BLOGS, Writing on August 17, 2009 at 4:48 am

Are you relevant? Do you define your artistic work based on its practical, economic and social applicability to satisfy the needs of those who experience what you do? And if not, then I cannot help but ask the question, why not?

I realize that we all have a need to create and experiment in life. By doing so we are offered extraordinary opportunities to not only affirm who we are but get to know ourselves better. We learn from what works and, more often, learn the most from what does not work for us– which often allows us to find new more meaningful paths to explore.

But at what point in life do we need to become more practical, more disciplined? Is it ever to early (or late) in life to do this? And when you do, or find the help to, what are the benefits you receive for doing so?

The other day I had a young talented clarinetist– a sophomore in college- in the shop. We were discussing his future career aspirations and performing was right at the top of his list- like most of my clients. When I asked him what about performing was so motivating for him, his answer was ” Well, for a long time I was not sure I could rise to the occasion and play well enough to become an orchestral musician. It is only recently that I am starting to feel I can. Now the question I am asking myself is, do I want to do this?”

I realize that as a young adult- and even as an aging adult- coming to know who we are is a very important part of our educational journey. And alongside this process of growth and development routinely we must be challenged to answer questions like: “And if you do want to perform who specifically will want what you have to offer?”

I cannot help but wonder what we are really learning about the meaning of art, not to mention effectively reaching an audience who cares about what we have to offer from our chosen artistic field of study, if we are not challenged to explore questions like these. If you excel at Music Theory from the Middle Ages, even if you get a PHD in it and can teach it at the college level– who is it relevant to– besides you?

Take a look at my dear friend Gary Beckman- Arts Entrepreneurship Educator’s Network founder. His received his PHD in musicology in 2007 from The University of Texas at Austin. During his doctoral course work, Gary realized that his course of study was not really all that relevant and went on to pursue something that he felt was not only more relevant, but also deeply motivating for him– developing arts entrepreneurship curriculum. Now don’t get me wrong. I learned a lot from my musicology courses and loved my professors who taught them. I also think it is GREAT that Gary has vision for the growth and evolution of arts entrepreneurship curriculum, but think of what he could have accomplished, and how much happier and entrepreneurial he might have become sooner, if he had been challenged to think about how relevant his field of study was, to him and for others, at an earlier point in life?

Questioning and experimenting with our relevancy through action is at the heart of WHY the arts must become a field of entrepreneurial study in addition to traditional skill building. THE ONLY WAY artists can create sustainable happy career paths for themselves is to learn how to produce a product– relevancy.

As a young clarinetist I too asked myself the same questions my young client shared with me. I remember wondering if I could become good enough, play perfectly enough, musically enough and in tune enough to win an orchestral audition and be at the top of the heap. I challenged myself to get there with no other focus than to succeed. ( And of course, without a course or educational guidance to help me think about my goals differently.)

I started out almost last chair my freshman year at Northwestern. By my sophomore year I was at the top of my class– beating out all the masters and doctorate students, some of whom were finalists at regional orchestra auditions around the country. And when I reached that goal, all of a sudden I realize I had no idea what was next. It was not the feeling of eternal bliss I thought I would have, nor was anyone beating down my doors asking me to audition for any major orchestra. Instead it was in the middle of my senior year that I realized that I did not feel relevant. I did not feel that what skills I had developed really mattered to anyone significantly, except for me.

So it was then that I asked myself “how can I use the skills I do have to be relevant?” and from that thought I tested my ideas by putting my solution into action- by opening up a clarinet shop and helping others develop their career paths by helping them find the perfect instrument for their “relevant” music making. It was only then that I actually understood what truly it felt like to become relevant. It’s kind of funny to me, right now, that I am back where I started- after a 20 year adventure building a large business- but life is funny like that. I am being given a second chance to look at how I am relevant and I, again, am figuring it out.

But you see what I realized the first time, at 17, was that what I did have that was relevant was a gift to help and connect to others. I also had a gift to play the clarinet well. I also knew that artists needed to feel better about who they are and find their own confidence, through finding their own relevance, to become kinder to themselves and to others and strong enough to trust themselves that they could actually change the world.

Don’t ask me how exactly I knew this then– call it my God given vision- other than I did not then, and often still do not now, see the kind of inspirational collaboration or connectivity amongst others I crave in the world to see. Of all places- the arts should be outstanding examples for others of both.

Finding my relevancy at 17 gave me my first glimpse into what it meant to make a difference in life. Is it ever too early or too late to find your own? (It’s ok too, btw, if you need a school and a mentor to help you. You don’t have to find your relevancy, like I did, alone.)

Finding your relevancy will give you vision to lead. It will temper your being into a refined piece of artwork that the world wants and that you will be happy to share.

Finding your relevancy means you will feel at peace- because you are valued. You are payed- because you are needed. And that you will feel confident- because when we feel connected to ourselves and to others simultaneously, life does not get any better.

“Are you relevant,” I ask? If not– it is time to learn how you can be….

Self Promotion that Screams “Hire ME!”

In Author: Lisa Canning, ENTREPRENEUR THE ARTS, Entrepreneurial Evolution, Entrepreneurial Tool Box, Marketing, WEBSITES & BLOGS, Writing on May 31, 2009 at 9:25 pm

My friend Bobbie Soeder, from Catalyst Ranch, sent me in an email this advertisement from Peter Lloyd.

It is the best piece of self promotion I have seen in some time! Not only did I read every word of it, while laughing outloud, but I then spent at least 15 minutes reading through Peter’s website. If you want to see an “authentic” entrepreneur in action, read through Peter’s website and learn from how he uses his personality to create his brand and communicate his talents to his audience.

What can you do to express the work you do in your own authentic way that will scream hire me?

Peter Lloyd is a songwriter, author, ghostwriter, copywriter and content provider. Love this!
used-word-sale_2009

The Arts and Creativity in Business

In Author: Lisa Canning, Creativity and Innovation, ENTREPRENEUR THE ARTS, Interesting Articles, The Idea, Writing on May 29, 2009 at 7:49 am

Fast Company just released their 100 most creative people in business list. What can we learn about the arts and creativity in business from this list? Here are a few things I learned:

Out of 100 individuals selected 22 artists ( or those from what is considered classic artistic disciplines) made the list– leaving the remaining 78 of the most creative people in business working very creatively without artistry. While the arts are often thought of as being highly creative, artists represent only 26% of Fast Company’s top 50 and 22% of the entire list. What does this say about the arts and its role in business? Are we not creative enough to impact business or are we not trained and skilled enough in the areas of business to make an impact?

Of the 26% in the top 50, all of these artists have developed a multi disciplinary approach to their art, using more than one artistic skill set, while intertwining business skill sets into the vision of what their art can produce.

Creative writing is the single most common unifying skill amongst the most creative artists in business and a couple of academics made the list!

Each of these artists have taken all of their passions in life and exploited them to their fullest in their careers.

The list includes 5 artists, 4 from fashion, film and music, 3 writers and 2 chefs.

5 Artists #22, 55, 70, 86 94
4 from Fashion #13, 24, 42, 92
4 from Film #14, 21, 31, 60
4 from Music #36, 47, 69, 83
3 Writers #10, 40 and 41
2 Chefs #44, 73

# 10, James Schamus, Chief executive officer, Focus Features
Perhaps the only person in Hollywood who can rival Meryl Streep’s versatility is James Schamus. In addition to being a CEO, he’s a veteran screenwriter, Columbia University film professor, producer, marketer, distributor, and sometime composer. “There’s nobody else like him in the entire industry,” says Bill Mechanic, former chairman of 20th Century Fox Filmed Entertainment. “For a writer of his caliber to choose to be an executive is completely abnormal.” Schamus, 49, cofounded Focus in 2002. Known for its sophisticated and daring film slate, Focus produced Oscar winners Milk and Lost in Translation. Coming soon: Taking Woodstock, Schamus’s latest screenplay for director Ang Lee. — by Chuck Salter

Website:http://www.filminfocus.com/focusfeatures/

#13, Stella McCartney, Fashion designer
According to her boss, PPR CEO François-Henri Pinault, fashion designer and Beatle progeny Stella McCartney is the new face of responsible luxury. “Stella has set the bar,” he told Britain’s Sunday Times. Across the pond, the Natural Resources Defense Council honored her this spring for her “outstanding environmental leadership.” McCartney, 38, a PETA pet, uses no leather or fur; her skin-care line and ready-to-wear collection are both organic. Lest this sound too hair shirt to be stylish, consider Women’s Wear Daily’s review of the designer’s latest fall collection: “McCartney’s biker jacket in ‘nonleather sheen cupro’ can vroom with the best of them, and her thigh-high boots, in silk knits and perforated faux, strut the killer instinct she can live with.” — by Linda Tischler

Website: http://www.stellamccartney.com/

#14, JJ Abrams, Founder, Bad Robot Productions
J.J. Abrams warps Time at will. Past, present, and future coexist as a kind of fluid that cannot be contained. The camera jumps back and forth in time. Characters age and grow younger again. Time itself accelerates, then slows. “It’s intriguing to play with exactly when you learn elements in a story,” says the Emmy-winning writer-director-producer, referring to Lost, his biggest hit on the small screen. “It engages audience members in a puzzle where they begin to question everything. It makes them look for clues in what they’re watching in a way traditional narrative doesn’t.”

Website: http://www.badrobot.com/

#21,Tyler Perry,Owner, Tyler Perry Studios
He writes, directs, produces, acts, and scores — Tyler Perry controls an entertainment empire and moneymaking machine that includes the hit show Tyler Perry’s House of Payne and movies featuring his alter-ego Madea, a jumbo, no-nonsense granny with a knack for physical comedy. Perry’s creative impulse was forged in the crucible of personal pain. Channeling years of abuse by his father into writing plays with beautifully rendered characters, Perry bested homelessness and despair to transform black urban theater (pejoratively called the “chitlin’ circuit”), and expanded his audience as quickly as he released hit movies. His seven films, which rarely cost more than $20 million, have grossed upward of $300 million combined — four of them opened at No. 1 — and sold 25 million DVDs. And last October, he made history, opening the first black-owned film studio in the United States. — by Ellen McGirt

Website: http://www.tylerperry.com/

#22, Damien Hirst, Artist
Hate him or loathe him, Damien Hirst is an artistic and business provocateur. Who else could render a photo of Bill Gates standing in front of his own famous work (The Physical Impossibility of Death in the Mind of Someone Living) and turn it into a painting that sells for more than half a million dollars? Bill With Shark is a shrewd bit of philosophical and capitalist commentary: the once-voracious, aging Gates catching his own reflection and contemplating the work’s title. Of course, the deeper reveal came to the art world when Hirst sold this and other works at Sotheby’s last September for nearly $200 million, cutting out the middleman and raising the real possibility of the death of the art dealer. — by Mark Borden

Website: http://www.damienhirst.com/

#24, Jil Sander, Designer, creative director, Uniqlo
The high-fashion/mass-marketing movement seems to be reaching a new phase with Jil Sander’s new project: The German designer, who became famous for her luxurious if minimalist couture, has signed on as the creative director for Japanese retailer Uniqlo. Sander, who sold her namesake label in 2004, took on the clothing chain as her first consulting client, and then agreed to oversee its fall and winter collections — possibly including one of her own design. — by Abha Bhattarai

Website:http://www.jilsander.com/

#31,Hayao Miyazaki, Cofounder, Studio Ghibli
When Pixar’s animators need inspiration, they watch Hayao Miyazaki’s movies. The giant of anime has been elevating cartoons into epic cinematic events for more than two decades, with fantastic, award-winning films such as My Neighbor Totoro and Spirited Away. The writer-director’s stories are mostly hand-drawn, with strong female characters and morally ambiguous plotlines that make his work a harder sell than, say, Shrek 10 would be. But this summer, Miyazaki may finally get his commercial due in the U.S. with Ponyo on the Cliff by the Sea. Disney/Pixar creative chief John Lasseter worked with megaproducers Frank Marshall and Kathleen Kennedy to build a stellar voice cast (Tina Fey, Cate Blanchett, Liam Neeson) and to secure Miyazaki his widest U.S.-theater release yet. — by Jennifer Vilaga

Website: http://www.studioghibli.net/

#36, Pharrell Williams, Musician
Pharrell Williams knows it all starts with a beat — he got his start on the snare drum in his high-school marching band back in Virginia Beach, Virginia. As half of the production duo known as the Neptunes, he has helped everyone from Britney Spears to Justin Timberlake to Madonna to the Hives find time on the charts. Williams also fronts the funk-rock band N.E.R.D., produces a clothing line called Billionaire Boys Club, hawks a line of shoes under the Ice Cream Footwear brand, and designed sunglasses and jewelry for Louis Vuitton. Most recently, Limelight, an updated version of Fame that he created with film director McG, was picked up by ABC. Tapping Williams’s own beat, the show is loosely based on his performing-arts experience in high school. — by Mark Borden

Website: http://bbcicecream.com/blog/

#40, Neil Gaiman, Author, screenwriter
“Writing is, like death, a lonely business,” according to Neil Gaiman. But the prolific wordsmith has made it a bit less so, building a global community of fans of all ages and in many media, including comic books (Sandman), novels (American Gods), TV (the BBC’s Neverwhere), and a children’s novella turned 3-D movie (Coraline). In January, Gaiman won the Newbery Medal, kiddie lit’s top honor, for The Graveyard Book, the enchanting, daringly dark tale of an orphan protected by the long-dead residents of a cemetery. Gaiman also blogs at neilgaiman.com, discussing everything from his computer setup to his success. “I liked the idea of a world in which I could feed my family by making things up and writing them down,” he wrote recently. “[But] I’m not quite sure how it happened.” — by Danielle Sacks

Website: http://www.neilgaiman.com/

#41, Maurice Sendak, Writer, illustrator, producer
The extraordinary Maurice Sendak has sold millions of copies of Where the Wild Things Are (1963) and In the Night Kitchen (1970); most recently, he collaborated with Tony Kushner on Brundibar (the book debuted in 2003, the play in 2006). Sendak, now 80, has designed operas, won myriad honors, spawned everything from stuffed monsters to lunch boxes, and inspired generations of dreamy kids. In October, the Wild Things feature film will premiere. An improbably hip, moodily gorgeous affair, it’s being brought to the screen by a formidable team: director Spike Jonze; screenwriter Dave Eggers; stars Catherine Keener, Mark Ruffalo, and James Gandolfini; and Arcade Fire and Karen O (of Yeah Yeah Yeahs), who are providing music. Let the wild rumpus begin! — Anya Kamenetz

Website: http://www.harpercollinschildrens.com/HarperChildrens/Kids/A…

#42, Marc Jacobs, Fashion designer, LVMH
Marc Jacobs has “made fashion hip, but not inaccessibly hip,” says Vogue editor Anna Wintour. Accessibly hip enough for him to build a $5 billion empire within LVMH that delights both the moneyed elite and the allowance-driven economy (his junk-store concept — $11 flip-flops, $55 rubber totes — is still thriving in the retail slump). Jacobs’s knack for forecasting trends (this fall, neon and ’80s nostalgia), anointing muses (hola, Anne Hathaway), and playing the media keep him in the spotlight. But it’s his endless inspiration that drives sales. “It’s very organic. We say, ‘Let’s make this happen and see what the reaction is,’ ” Jacobs says. “It’s not like a creative person sits down with a mathematician. That’s a hard thing for a lot of businesspeople to understand.” — by Mark Borden

Website: http://www.marcjacobs.com/

#44, Jean-Georges Vongerichten, Chef
In this era of celebrity chefs and haute cuisine gone less haute, Alsace-born Jean-Georges Vongerichten is the rare talent who has grown his empire without resorting to the indignity of slapping his face on a frying pan or frozen pizza. He already has 18 restaurants — eight of them in New York, including Vong and his flagship Jean Georges, which has three Michelin stars — and for a sense of the size of his plate, consider that Spice Market alone rakes in about $15 million a year in revenue. His unprecedented partnership with Starwood Hotels has given the cuisinier license to unleash his creativity — and trademark Asian flavors — in 50 new restaurants over the next five years. That’s still not enough for him: “If I could have my dream,” he has said, “I would open a new restaurant every month.” — by Kate Rockwood

Website: http://www.jean-georges.com/

#47, A.R. Rahman, Composer
You might know A.R. Rahman as the Oscar-winning composer behind Slumdog Millionaire’s “Jai Ho,” which has been downloaded more than 100,000 times on iTunes and was re-recorded as a hit collaboration with the Pussycat Dolls. But Rahman has been writing Bollywood hits since 1992. His soundtracks have reshaped Indian pop, adding influences from jazz, reggae, and Western classical music, and have sold more than 100 million copies. Rahman also created the musical Bombay Dreams and has been testing new forms of music distribution; through a tie-up with Nokia, he recently released an album just for the company’s music-phone users in India. — by Dan Macsai

Website: http://www.arrahman.com/

#55, Gregg Gillis, Mashup artist
Gregg Gillis, 27, is the first truly postmodern rock star. The ex-biomedical engineer layers unlicensed song samples and “performs” them live, with him and his laptop center stage. Last year, he released his fourth album, Feed the Animals, online, using Radiohead’s pay-what-you-want model. So artful are his mashups — Feed the Animals’ 300-plus samples include unlikely pairings such as Nine Inch Nails and Kelly Clarkson, and David Bowie and 2 Live Crew — that even the notoriously litigious record labels have offered their ultimate compliment: silence. — by Jennifer Vilaga

#60, Josh Schwartz,Television producer, writer
Josh Schwartz has made his name chronicling the young, pretty, and privileged on TV, first with The O.C., then with Gossip Girl. But after his Girl found unexpected success online — new episodes routinely top iTunes’ most-downloaded chart — Schwartz, 32, pitched his latest beautiful brainchild, “Rockville CA,” to TheWB.com as a series of five-minute Webisodes. “Kids are going to college with laptops, not TVs,” says the former USC frat boy. “I figured, Why not?” Not that he’s swearing off old media: His as-yet-untitled Gossip Girl spin-off debuts this fall on the CW, and he’s directing a new film version of Jay McInerney’s Bright Lights, Big City. — by Dan Macsai

#69,Dave Stewart, Musician and record producer
You may know Dave Stewart as the Eurythmics cofounder and a singer’s songwriter — he’s written hits for Tom Petty, Celine Dion, and No Doubt. But it’s the rest of his CV that’s unexpectedly impressive. He started the consulting company DeepStew with Deepak Chopra, acts as U.S. creative director for the Law Firm ad group, serves as president of entertainment for fashion designer Christian Audigier’s brand-management unit, and is an official Change Agent for Nokia. “I’m willing to receive a smaller percentage and relinquish control, as long as the idea goes into the minds of a brilliant company,” he says. “I’m not going to run out of creativity or ideas, so I don’t hang on to stuff for dear life. If you’re terrified to release control, nothing gets made!” — by Mark Borden

#70, Brian Donnelly (KAWS), Artist and Designer
Brian Donnelly has been compared to Jean-Michel Basquiat and Keith Haring, both of whom straddled the divide between street and institutional art. But Donnelly has arguably surpassed them with his one-man empire. Business at his Tokyo-based company OriginalFake, created as an outlet for his art and related merchandise, is thriving. During his February L.A. gallery show — just his second solo exhibition ever — the line to enter snaked seven blocks; Lance Armstrong bought the biggest painting. The guy who just a few years ago was hiding in bushes to evade anti-graffiti officers is now being courted by megabrands that want his signature graphic treatment on their products. Mostly, he’d rather not. “I only like to work with companies that are part of my life already,” says Donnelly, who has said yes to Marc Jacobs, Nike, and Levi’s. — by Jana Meier

Website: http://www.davestewart.com/

#73, Dan Barber, Executive chef and co-owner, Blue Hill restaurants
“Manhattan’s answer to the Farmer in the Dell,” as Dan Barber was called by a New York Times restaurant critic, is more than the foodies’ latest locavore darling. The driving spirit behind the two Blue Hill restaurants, Barber, 39, is a passionate advocate for regional farm networks. They’re the answer, he says, to big agriculture’s economic and ecological abuses. A 2009 James Beard Award nominee for Outstanding Chef, he practices what he preaches on his own family’s farm and at the Stone Barns Center, a not-for-profit that promotes sustainable agri-culture. One of his trademark dishes is This Morning’s Farm Egg, with hen broth and root vegetables — tasty proof that the farm-to-table movement is not just high-end menuspeak. — by Linda Tischler

Website: http://www.bluehillfarm.com/

#83,Brian Eno, Musician
Brain Eno, the father of ambient music, is still in the vanguard. Take his recent collaboration with David Byrne. Byrne wrote lyrics in New York to the instrumental tracks Eno had sent from Lon-don. Then they prereleased the album, Everything That Happens Will Happen Today, online. Now he’s curating a lights-and-music festival in Australia that includes his own light show projected on the Sydney Opera House. — by Genevieve Knapp

Website: http://www.enoshop.co.uk/

#86, Cai Guo-Qiang, Artist
When not drawing — and detonating — pictures made from gunpowder or staging massive outdoor “explosion events” like the fireworks at the opening and closing ceremonies of the 2008 Beijing Olympics, Cai Guo-Qiang is busy breaking records. His 14 gunpowder pieces sold at Christie’s in Hong Kong in 2007 for $9.5 million, an all-time auction high for contemporary Chinese art. He’s the first Chinese artist to snag a Venice Biennale award and the first living artist to have a solo show in a state-operated Chinese museum. The seven white sedans he suspended from the ceiling at the Guggenheim in New York last year left the art world chattering about American car culture. — by Kate Rockwood

Website: http://www.caiguoqiang.com/

#92, Simon Collins, Dean of fashion, Parsons
After 20 years in the industry, Simon Collins is grooming the next wave of Tom Fords to be as prepared for the boardroom as they are for the run-way. In less than one year, he has devised a new model for his 1,300 students to collab-orate with companies such as Ellen Tracy, Henri Bendel, and Gap. Collins, 41, who began his career as a bespoke tailor in London, designed for Ralph Lauren, Ermenegildo Zegna, Reebok, and Nike, and spent a brief spell opening a New York design office for Wal-Mart. Now he aims to trans-form Parsons — which produces some 70% of the designers on Seventh Avenue — into the breeding ground for the first generation of sustainability-minded designers. “If we taught our students it’s all about red, they’d go into their careers thinking it’s all about red,” Collins says. “Hopefully we can do that with sustainability.” — by Danielle Sacks

Website: http://www.parsons.edu/faculty_and_staff/faculty_details.asp…

#94, Kevin Adams, Lighting designer
Kevin Adams is on the leading edge of the post-incandescent age on Broadway, exploiting the potential of CFL bulbs, fluorescent tubes, glass and flex neon, and the latest LED technology. His work for Spring Awakening — brilliant white light for the 19th-century play’s scenes and saturated color from what he calls “electric objects” for the songs — won him a Tony in 2007. He picked up a second Tony in 2008 for The 39 Steps. Another Adams hit: a fabulous wall of light for the musical Passing Strange. One admirer said it looked “like Mark Rothko meets Japanese pop.” Adams also lit the current revival of Hair. — by B. Martin

Website: http://www.ambermylar.com/

What Happened, President Obama, to the Idea of an Art Czar?

In Art, Cooking & Food, Creative Support, Current Events, Fashion, Health & Wellness, Interesting Articles, Leadership, Music, Theater/Film, Writing on March 26, 2009 at 7:11 pm

The following updates appeared on Judith H. Dobrzynski’s blog, Real Clear Arts

I know we all want to believe that the Obama Administration will do wonders for the arts and humanities. But so far, the news is not so good.

Yes, the $50 million for the National Endowment for the Arts in the stimulus bill was great news. But while we wait for appointments to head the NEA and the National Endowment for the Humanities, the appointment of Kareem Dale (below) as mini-czar — which is now likely to be temporary — and two lesser appointments suggest politics-as-usual.

Yes, you heard right- late last week, the White House seems to have appointed an arts czar — but no one seems to have noticed. His name is Kareem Dale, according to a short item in Saturday’s New York Times. As of 1 p.m. on Monday, there’s no press release on WhiteHouse.gov and no reports of the appointment at the Associated Press or Reuters.

I don’t know Mr. Dale, a lawyer from Chicago who is partially blind, but he doesn’t seem to have much of a profile. Searches on Google and Kosmix and in Factiva (which has articles from most major newspapers and many minor ones) turned up very little.

According to published reports, Dale hails from Chicago, graduated with a bachelor’s degree in advertising from the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign, and stayed there to earn a law degree and an MBA, which he received in 1999. He founded and is CEO of The Dale Law Group, which has no website. Campaign finance records show that Dale contributed $2,300 to Obama’s campaign in 2008 (and about the same during the primary season); then he volunteered for it. At some point, he became the campaign’s Disability Vote Director. The only mention of arts I could find was during his campaign volunteer days, when Dale was a member of the campaign Arts Policy Committee, plus service on the board of Chicago’s Black Ensemble Theater.

I can’t help but think this is not what many people in the cultural world had in mind when they asked President Obama to appoint a powerful person in the White House to raise the profile of the arts in the U.S.

Another oddity: in mid-February, the White House announced that it had named Dale to the post of Special Assistant to the President for Disability Policy. He still seems to hold that post.

Last night, The Daily Beast published my report on this and his appointment is not likely to last very long. It’s sad that his name was discovered by, or leaked to, The New York Times in the first place.

The most disappointing element of the story, however, is the appointment of Hollywood fundraiser Jeremy Bernard as the NEH’s White House and Congressional liaison; it’s an important job. Bernard claims a bachelor’s degree from Hunter College on his website, but Hunter says he did not graduate. When queried, the NEH said the degree is not in his documentation for the appointment. But the whole thing, not just the resume inflation, makes him a bit of an odd fit for the scholarly NEH.

I am pretty sure, by the way, that the White House has recognized this whole situation as a personnel snafu that has to be fixed. And it will — the question now is how and when.

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”.

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. www.ritamilios.com

Contestant #5 Tamera Bourne

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

My Life, My Passion, My Dream written by Tamera Bourne
100_0088
When I first read The Diary of Anne Frank I knew I wanted to write. I was eleven. I started keeping a diary and have not stopped. Her raw honesty about her growing pains gave me comfort in my own struggles. My thinking, at the time, was I could be the next Anne Frank, I could be the young girl that touches everyones heart. Part of me believes that I’m carrying on her dream since she wasn’t able to.

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

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

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

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

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

Who Owns Ideas?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The Shack: A DIY Author’s Success

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The Dream Switch

In BOOKS: Learn and Grow, Risk, The Idea, Writing on January 9, 2009 at 11:13 am

OK, well call me a sucker for punishment or better yet, just addicted- isn’t that what artists are, on some level?

I have been feaverishly working away on the beginning of another book with sports psychologist Jason Selk. The book we have agreed to write together is called The Dream Switch. The name, this time came right away to me. Who knows, maybe now that I have “birthed” one book, I suppose I now know the ropes a little bit better.

While I am still unsure if I am going to self publish Build a Blue Bike, The Dream Switch will be off to Susan Schulman to try and sell next month.

0071600639Anyway, Jason wrote a book that was release last September, called 10-Minute Toughness: The Mental Training Program for Winning Before the Game Begins (McGraw-Hill).

Jason currently is considered one of the top performance coaches in the world because of the star-studded line up of athletes he regularly works with which include: Olympic gold medalists, NCAA scoring leaders, Major League All Stars, NASCAR drivers, golfers in the PGA and LPGA, NFL Pro Bowlers. Jason trained the St. Louis Cardinals the year they won the World Series. He also has recently been working with a few symphony musicians. We met through one of them.

Here is a video of Jason talking about his book.

A Creative Leap at Catalyst Ranch

In Art, Cooking & Food, Creative Support, Current Events, Emotional Intelligence, Entrepreneurial Evolution, Entrepreneurial Tool Box, Fashion, Leadership, Marketing, Music, Networking, Risk, The Idea, Theater/Film, Writing on January 9, 2009 at 10:34 am

John Cimino, from Creative Leaps International, and I are pleased to announce that Catalyst Ranch, an incredible creativity-driven meeting space provider and progressive business-thought-leader, has offered us the opportunity to use their facility as our home until we are able to have our own space for a Chicago based Renaissance Center. (OMG. Chicago Arts Incubator? Any of you remember me sharing my dream about creating one? Well, my “lucky” day may just be around the corner, with my friend, John. But don’t get too excited for me just yet.-

Those dang last-stretch-to-home corners are not that lucky to actually get-off-easy, catch a break, and make a quick turn around. Most of the time.

Oh, and the other problem? You know the euphoria you feel followed by the inside-your-head part, that voice that says nice stuff to you, sometimes part, like “yah, this is really gonna happen?”

Well I got big news, there ain’t no stinkin’ guarantees! But really, once you get use to muscling-a-stomach for taking some calculated risks in life in the name of passionate-pursuits– it’s really not all that bad and maybe even a fun– most of the time- except for maybe all of last year but who’s counting)

SO, If you live in Chicago, please come. Or if you are passing through town, too, please, won’t you come? Or maybe you have a few friends who your sure would really be interested in knowing more about this and who might even consider coming to Chicago? It’s Wednesday January 28th from 6-8pm

Won’t you join us to learn more about the work of Creative Leaps and The Renaissance Center in Chicago? If you would like to reserve a seat please email me, Lisa@EntrepreneurTheArts.com. The event is free but seating is limited to the first 75 who reply. ( And if you have never been to Catalyst Ranch- trust me- you’ll want to come.)

john-cimino-informal

John Cimino, president of Creative Leaps International, is returning to Chicago for a third round presentation and discussion of his theme: “Bridging the Ingenuity Gap in the 21st Century”. For the benefit those who missed his sessions in September and October, John will provide a quick paced summary of his earlier presentation before moving on to a wider discussion of his vision for a Renaissance Center for Innovation, Learning and Leadership in the Chicago area.

In his initial sessions, John Cimino discussed the “habits of mind” linked to creativity, ingenuity and imaginative insights. He also reviewed recent findings in neuroscience revealing the brain’s unique experience of the arts and arts-based thinking. Alongside creativity, Cimino emphasized the need for connectivity, that is, thinking across boundaries, disciplines and cultures to address the complex issues of a globally inter-connected world. According to Cimino, designing “high tech, high touch” environments for creativity and connectivity is the central challenge of our institutions of higher education, research and professional development.

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

In this latest session, John Cimino opens the doors to a deeper examination and wider discussion of his vision for a network of Renaissance Centers for Innovation, Learning and Leadership and their significance in bridging knowledge across disciplines. In particular, he will ask how can such a Renaissance Center best serve the needs of Chicago’s own institutions of higher education, business, commerce, leadership, creativity, the arts and arts-based education reforms in the schools? What kinds of partnerships among institutions, public and private, would be essential? Finally, in addition to addressing the needs of individual sectors, what global and overarching issues important to Chicago should the Renaissance Center address in its cross-disciplinary, transdisciplinary and interdisciplinary forums?

Come join John Cimino for an evening of spirited dialogue, creative collaboration and exploration of a new vision for interdisciplinary learning, creativity and leadership.

Jump Start Your Life- I have the spark plug

In Accounting, Art, BOOKS: Learn and Grow, Cooking & Food, Creative Support, Customer Service, Employees, ENTREPRENEUR THE ARTS, Entrepreneurial Evolution, Entrepreneurial Tool Box, Fashion, Health & Wellness, Leadership, Legal, Marketing, Money, Music, Networking, Risk, The Idea, Theater/Film, Writing on January 7, 2009 at 1:16 pm

dreamstime_3139037One of the reasons I want to write books is because books, art, poetry and film, as examples, all intrinsically are built to last. Their very form offers easy “spark-creating-experience” access, like a hand full of nourishment going right into our mouth. Love that rush of energy that follows, don’t you? You know, the part before you get tired?

While it is impossible for a memory to replace the actual real time experience of ephoria, or intense joy, anger or sadness– only the kind a work of art can deliver, it can be waiting eagerly for you on a shelf, if it’s a book, or hanging on your wall.

What a basic concept entrepreneurship is for artistry, and yet without this simple “must have”, generations upon generations have defined who we are and what we are capable of creating for others in life, through a very narrow, confining, and as I see it, rather destructive single lens.

In honor of the power of the written word to enlighten and transform, here is my recommended reading list to jump start your very best you in 2009.


Do You Want to Become More Entrepreneurial?

* Small Giants: Companies That Choose to Be Great Instead of Big, by Bo Burlingham

* The Art of The Start by Guy Kawasaki

* Awakening the Entrepreneur Within: How Ordinary People Can Create Extraordinary Companies,
by Michael Gerber

* Who’s Your City? How the Creative Economy is Making Where to Live the Most Important Decision of Your Life, by Richard Florida

*The Illusions of Entrepreneurship: The Costly Myths That Entrepreneurs, Investors, and Policy Makers Live, by
Scott A. Shane

*Bounce!: Failure, Resiliency, and Confidence to Achieve Your Next Great Success, by Barry J. Moltz

*Birthing the Elephant: A Woman’s Go-For-It Guide to Overcoming the Big Challenges of Launching a Business, by Karen Abarbanel and Bruce Freeman

Marketing Maven
* Unleashing the Ideavirus by Seth Godin

* The New Marketing Manifesto: The 12 Rules for Building Successful Brands in the 21st Century (Business Essentials) by John Grant

* The Tipping Point: How Little Things Can Make a Big Difference by Malcolm Gladwell

* Coercion: Why We Listen to What “They” Say by Douglas Rushkoff

* Purple Cow: Transform Your Business by Being Remarkable by Seth Godin

* The Anatomy of Buzz: How to Create Word of Mouth Marketing by Emanuel Rosen

* The New Rules of Marketing and PR: How to Use News Releases, Blogs, Podcasting, Viral Marketing and Online Media to Reach Buyers Directly by David Meerman Scott

Organizational Development
* The Discipline of Market Leaders: Choose Your Customers, Narrow Your Focus, Dominate Your Market by Michael Treacy

* Good to Great: Why Some Companies Make the Leap… and Others Don’t by Jim Collins

* The Art of Profitability by Adrian Slywotzky

*First, Break All the Rules: What the World’s Greatest Managers Do Differently by Marcus Buckingham

* Now, Discover Your Strengths by Marcus Buckingham

* Emotional Intelligence: Why It Can Matter More Than IQ by Daniel Goleman

* The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People by Stephen R. Covey

Financial Health Check
*The 9 Steps to Financial Freedom: Practical & Spiritual Steps So you Can Stop Worrying by Suze Orman

* Finance Your New or Growing Business: How to Find and Raise Capital for Your Venture by Ralph Alterowitz and Jon Zonderman

*Conscious Finance: Uncover Your Hidden Money Beliefs and Transform the Role of Money in Your Life by Rick Kahle

*The Seven Stages of Money Maturity: Understanding the Spirit and Value of Money in Your Life by George Kinder

*The Soul of Money: Transforming Your Relationship with Money and Life by Lynne Twist

Reaching for Greatness
* The Art of Possibility: Transforming Professional and Personal Life by Rosamund Stone Zander and Benjamin Zander

* This Time I Dance! Creating the Work You Love by Tama Kieves

* Make the Impossible Possible by Bill Strickland

* The Everyday Work of Art by Eric Booth

* The Courage to Teach by Parker Palmer