Archive for the ‘Art and Politics’ Category

Hmmm, to what am I referring? It can’t be the laundry detergent or the homemade crackers, since I’ve already reported on that. It is, of course, coffee. In fact, to the wonderful coffee shops in the area, “I thank you”. Now here is why:

It was a couple weeks ago, after making the laundry detergent, and feeling my clothes were once again freshly washed, that I felt I could venture out in public. I agreed to meet with a potential business partner (art related) and while waiting, I decided to clean out my handbag. Women can get a little carried away with the things they stuff in their bags and then…well…carry away. I had post-it notes, coupons, pens, brochures, CDs, and gift cards. Nearly everything came out to file later but, the gift cards I decided to get to know a little better.

I had two Starbucks™ cards. I called the 800 number and after a minute or so, was informed that between the two cards I had enough money for a whole cup of coffee! Whoo Hoo!

I then called the local coffee shop to ask about that card. Although the card had been discontinued, the owner reinstated the amount lost and even doubled the amount to help me out. He had been following my story and thought it was very inspiring and a good lesson for us all. I think he missed seeing me around the place as well. Yay, I will be a lot more alert this month!

During my quest, I also learned that Chick-Fil-A never refuses an expired coupon. I had been purchasing those calendars for several years but never used the monthly coupons. Really Chick-Fil-A? Will you take a year 2009 coupon? I may have to try that.

Last week a friend invited me over for a glass of wine. This led to having dinner with her at another neighbors house. The discussion of my “Dollar a Day Challenge” came up and the  went through her pantry offering me some of the things she and her daughter would probably not eat.
~~~~
“Do you like rice,” she asked.

“Yes, I’m totally out of it,” I replied.

“Good, you can have this, it takes 30 minutes to cook and I’m not going to mess with that!”

“How about couscous?”… “How about peanut butter granola bars?” “How about this, How about that…” she continued.

It wasn’t until she asked about the sticks of butter that I really exclaimed “Yes! I need butter!!!”.

We all laughed as I tried to explain my reaction. “I love popcorn as a snack. I have a whole tub of popcorn kernels but no butter.” “What’s the fun of popcorn without butter?”
~~~
Before the night was done, I had a better grasp of why everyone should set aside a time to look at what is in their pantry, their immediate environment, their lives. There is no better time than now to really reflect on what is really necessary.

The neighbor had taken me to the garage where shelf upon shelf was loaded with cereal boxes, boxed dinners, canned goods, you name it. She pulled down some coffee packets and handed them to me.

“Do you like coffee? I have a Keurig machine and will never use these.”

“Thank you,” I said as I walked back to my car with yet another idea.

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After what was a very productive day and as usual not enough time to get it all done, I am flustered at what I recently read regarding the artwork at the Scrapel Hill Art Exhibit. I guess I am feeling so affected because I did put my heart and soul into my entry and was feeling pretty good about it. In fact, I still feel good about it. In fact, I am sure all of the artists are proud of their creations. I may not like every work for all the same reasons, but I do find a worthwhile quality in every piece and encourage everyone to go and see it for yourself. 

Here is the link to the one persons mind:
http://trianglearts.blogspot.com/2009/04/scrapel-hill-art-show-in-univerity-mall.html

Here is the link to the Scrapel Hill website where you can find information about the artists and the story behind their work: 
http://www.scrapelhillart.com

Here is the link to get directions to the exhibit. Then you can determine for yourself, with your own mind, what art is good for you and what you will leave alone for others to enjoy: 
http://www.universitymallnc.com

OK, so my last entry, “It’s all good” gave you an idea of my career, but kinda left you hangin’. You might have walked away from the computer asking yourself, where is she going with this?

Well, I am writing to reiterate to myself more than anyone, that I am working extremely hard doing exactly what I should be doing and that is why it does not feel like work. I do get tired and worn out and bogged down from time to time, but I never wake up thinking, I don’t want to go to work today.

Why? Because I am doing what I love. I am volunteering in the community as an advocate for the arts. I am a promoter, marketer, designer, problem solver, artist, and entrepreneur. I didn’t exactly plan it this way, but life presented one thing after another and this is how it ended up. I now use all the skills and talents that I have accepted over the years and apply them to almost everything I do.

For instance, I have always had a love and appreciation for the outdoors. My first real job the summer after graduating HS was working for WCC building trails on one of the uninhabited Apostle Islands in Lake Superior. Then my longest career move was with a Parks and Recreation department that focuses on environmental and historical education and open space acquisition. I never outgrew my need to get dirty once in a while. I now garden and volunteer in my community by serving on the Greenways Advisory Board while creating artwork from scrap and recyclable materials.

I always had a soft spot for children and struggling families. Growing up was not always easy and all I ever wanted was a family of my own. When I worked in the city and walked the mile to my office every day, seeing the homeless people sketching on the streets brought a smile to my face. They must have been enjoying themselves and take pride in what they were doing because I saw them nearly every day. Never did they hold out their hand, just a small sign saying “artwork: $20”.

Then there is art, which has been a mainstay passion of mine from a very young age. I was always good in math and had more common sense than I really wanted, but creativity is where I could truly be at peace. I went to school for Math, and quickly switched to Graphic Design. I took several drawing and painting classes and had as much criticism as I did praise as I tried to find my niche. My portfolio was missplaced my Senior year and found in the middle of a road during a rain storm, run over and trampled. The same year, a painting that took half a year to complete, dissappeared from the student studio. No big deal, it was just an 8′ x 4′ triptych of the New Zealand coastline. Ugh. I sure hope it matches that persons sofa.

So, where is the end to this story? There is no end. With every stab in the back, and every “you can’t”, “you won’t”, you shouldn’t…try harder. With every person who won’t accept what you are doing, concentrate on the two people who think you are doing a great job. When someone calls you arrogant, realize that it is your confidence that has just made them step back. Then you take one giant leap forward.

When the elder, wiser locals of the community say they have been here doing what you are doing for a much longer time than you, just smile. Live your life learning from everyone and everything around you while embracing change. Our world is changing rapidly, and fresh, new ideas are just as important as the old ways of doing things. The young, the old, the rich the poor, every color and every corner of the earth is worthy of being recognized for the good they bring to this world.

Let’s all work together for the greater good…

After what was a very productive day and as usual not enough time to get it all done, I am flustered at what I recently read regarding the artwork at the Scrapel Hill Art Exhibit. I guess I am feeling so affected because I did put my heart and soul into my entry and was feeling pretty good about it. In fact, I still feel good about it. In fact, I am sure all of the artists are proud of their creations. I may not like every work for all the same reasons, but I do find a worthwhile quality in every piece and encourage everyone to go and see it for yourself. 

Here is the link to the one persons mind: http://trianglearts.blogspot.com/2009/04/scrapel-hill-art-show-in-univerity-mall.html

Here is the link to the Scrapel Hill website where you can find information about the artists and the story behind their work: http://www.scrapelhillart.com

Here is the link to get directions to the exhibit. Then you can determine for yourself, with your own mind, what art is good for you and what you will leave alone for others to enjoy: http://www.universitymallnc.com

Thursday nights Celebratory Gala provided much more than the normal conversation and now that I have had some time to reflect, I am ready to post.

From the very beginning, I walked in to see my work had disappeared…sort of. Someone had come in and suggested a revised arrangement of many of the displays to provide better viewing and a more walkable layout. Hence the relocation of the artwork. 

As my initial shock settled, my state of mind quickly rose to concern and unsettling fear. My project, One Year and Ninety-One Days, although seemingly  simple, is really quite complex. I found the new location and as I got closer, something was clearly not right. Turns out, someone had disassembled my piece to move it and it was never the same. My friends and I spent a good while tweaking it, and began to head to the party… Alas, does anyone else out there follow their intuition? 

Well, it was hitting me in the gut at that moment. My display looked “almost right” but not quite perfect. I was walking one step forward and looking two steps back. Finally, I turned around and, again with help from my friends, we were able to get it to the point with which I could be happy. Then I was ready to move on. 

I write this hoping that everyone will come to  understand the the level of respect that this and every art exhibit should project and demand. I was shocked when they moved my exhibit–the installation of artwork is just as important as the act of creating it. This has always been true with my artwork but even more so with this piece. Artists are professionals and should be treated as such whether the artwork is created with 24K gold embellished with diamonds or junk materials that would otherwise be disposed of in the landfill. The materials used, the emotional energy conveyed and the years of experiences behind the artist is what makes a piece so individual and special. This is no more true than in this exhibit. Imagine the challenge presented to an artist to take junk and scrap and trash and create something beautiful.

That being said, the Scrapel Hill Art Contest and Exhibit should be visited not once but several timed over the few months. Every one of the 15 sculptures is worthy of your vote. Vote for your favorite by going to the registration table near the center of the mall. The Scrapel Hill Art Contest and Exhibit is on display at University Mall in Chapel Hill through June 30, 2009. http://www.scrapelhillart.com

Last nights Tea Party in Raleigh, NC was a success, I guess. Apparently, I have been too busy to realize the effect of the Economic Stimulus Bills and other decisions being made by our political leaders. The only thing I was upset about is the fact that I have lived within my means, and my only debt is my house. Well, I guess I owe my daughter $5 for lunch today, but that doesn’t really matter too much, does it?

Yes, it makes me mad to think of CEO’s and others getting huge raises when they have wronged the American people. And how about the employees who work so hard under them and lose the shirts off their back and their own jobs in the end. I wonder why the banks, mortgage companies and car manufacturers get help while the smaller “mom and pop” places that I love go belly up before I even get my foot in the door. That’s what upsets me.

Well, that was last night. Today was a new day and it began at the local Boys and Girls Club listening to a speaker talk about the effects of positive influences and mentoring for young children. Although I may not have had the support of a typical family while growing up, I remember certain people sticking with me and carrying me–if not just to the other side of the tracks. When no one was there to guide me, there was someone there to help me fill out the paperwork to “see what would happen”. I appreciated that and so much more. 

After that first meeting, I went to another. Then home to change clothes and go pick up a dog house that a found for sale on Craigslist. Great site, by the way.  We got the dog house and brought it home. Looks great in the yard, especially will after we paint it. Then I went back to get my vehicle and came home to see my lawn getting cut. Talked to the man for quite a while as he told me what a beautiful yard I have. I shared with him my latest art project, http://www.scrapelhillart.com, and he smiled. “See, you were meant to do art and to follow your dreams,” he said. 

And so, I am enjoying it all and creating my own life. Stimulus package or not…

I don’t want to hear about it anymore. And perhaps you are tired of it too which could make today my lowest rated day yet. But that, quite frankly is just fine with me, since I have a ton of things to do.

Seems as if I have deadlines everyday, which is strange since I am currently unemployed. Ironically, it seems as if the entire working world out there is more than ever stressed, agitated, and frantically grasping at straws. Meanwhile a certain percentage of the unemployed seem to play along doing what we can to ease the pain with a smile on our face. Yes, we seem to be carrying out our dreams, focusing on family values, dabbling in our hobbies and otherwise living the “good life”. Has it ever occurred to you that that’s what we as human beings should be doing? Is that what that Cheshire smile really means? 

OK–I am not talking only about myself anymore. I have networked a web tighter than a black widow spider over the last 6 months, and in that time have talked with many people who also feel like a weight has been lifted since they left full time employment. Sure, losing your job is tough, but it is not the end of the world. 

I may change my mind tomorrow, but here is how I feel today and right now: cry for a day and then just enjoy it for the next month. Take this time to re-evaluate what is important to you. Refocus on family, hobbies, finances, whatever it takes to figure out your own true happiness. Then work hard and do what it takes to get there. This is your opportunity for change. You just might be surprised to find what is at the end of this unexpected twist in the road. 

—-from Alice in Wonderland:

“Would you tell me, please, which way I ought to go from here?’
“That depends a good deal on where you want to get to,” said the Cat.
“I don’t much care where–” said Alice.
“Then it doesn’t matter which way you go,” said the Cat.
“–so long as I get somewhere,” Alice added as an explanation.
 “Oh, you’re sure to do that,” said the Cat, 

“if only you walk long enough.”