The Creative Connector Project

Did you know that artists are connectors? This is what the Leadership Philadelphia’s current study suggests — artists are creative community connectors and it is their intent to affirm from this study that the arts are an economic engine as part of this process.

I find this concept interesting but the outcome, I think, is obvious. Yes, I believe artists are connectors because they are creative and  seek out-of-the-box type of solutions for getting things done. People are naturally drawn to their ideas because they inspire and trigger their thought process and brain activity which sparks energy. Like synapses in neurons firing, once a creative idea gets sparked, artists connect others through their expressive ideas and people are naturally and positively drawn to this type of positive and exciting energy.

This study has its premise based on Malcolm Gladwell’s book, The Tipping Point (great read by the way), in which Gladwell “used this term to describe people who know everyone and get things done. They’re the glue holding the community together, and are often under the radar,” according to Liz Dow, the director of Leadership Philadelphia. “She’s not looking for just any artist.” “We’re looking for someone who pulls a community together,” as this The Philadelphia Inquirer online article describes. “The Mural Arts Program is a perfect example,” Dow said. Click here to learn more about this opportunity for artists, regarding the study and how to submit nominations though July Ist.

Speaking of Murals, since this is Mural Monday. Here are a few murals that I did not get to post when I wrote about our family trip to Philly, and especially to see a few of the many murals as part of Philadelphia’s Mural Arts Program (MAP).

 

Bike Spoke Mural_ by Kerrin seen on Art is Everywhere

Bike Spoke Mural. Photo by Kerrin on Flickr

Wowza! So many of Philly’s murals surprise the visual senses.

1_Philly-Mural_Notions-Oceans as seen on Art Is Everywhere

"Just Before Fall" by James Burns, via Notions' Oceans blog

If you want to know more about Philadelphia’s public art, these sites are worth visiting:

Live Arts & Fringe Festival Blog — where you can see how the largest Philly mural in the airport was painted through a community paint day and keep informed of other public art activities.

 

community-paint-day via Live Arts & Fringe Festival Blog, seen on ArtIsEverywhere
community-paint-day via Live Arts & Fringe Festival Blog

The Art Blog

 

Ben Volta_Home That Was, via The Art Blog as seen on Art Is Everywhere

Grid – Towards a Sustainable Philadelphia — See all sorts of initiatives to everyday beautification: Lunch Truck Project and Recycling Trucks among many artistic solutions.

 

Philadelphia Painted Lunch Truck via Grid, as seen on Art is Everywhere

Philadelphia Painted Lunch Truck via Grid

Philly "tricked" truck via Grid, as seen on Art Is Everywhere

Philly “tricked” truck via Grid

Popup Art

Did I mention that I love popup books? I think I did. Peter, my husband, and I were able to finally see the Paper Engineering exhibit at the National Museum of American Art before it closed. I mentioned it in a recent post. I was fascinated with the history of popups and the terminology. Peter had his Pavlov Dog “tired” expression on the minute that we entered the museum…..(He wasn’t that way with Chuck Close, however.) I don’t think I’ll take him to If You could Read my Pins….

large_image_1526 for Paper Engineering Exhbit. NMAA

One Red Dot sample popup book for Paper Engineering Exhbit. NMAA, Art is Everywhere

I bought the Marion Bataille book, ABCD, because I thought it was the most contemporary, conversational piece. The hologram cover, just in itself, sparks the imagination. I was a bit disappointed, however, after reviewing several times that for some unexplainable reason  the “Q” and the “R” were left out. As it turns out, after viewing this Vimeo video below, the mylar sheet may just have fallen out before it was packaged. Well, at least I know what to do to make one now.

ABCD_Marion Bataille - Popup book, on Art Is Everywhere

ABCD popup book by Marion Bataille

Q_R_page in popup by Marion Bataille, on Art Is Everywhere blog

Q / R page missing in our popup book by Marion Bataille


Popup by Marion Bataille
Uploaded by jacques_faciale. – Watch original web videos.

I’ve got my Papers in Order by The Old Ceremony seems apropos for this post and to Kick Start the Weekend. They were great in concert, by the way! They are a “smart” band out of UNC, Chapel Hill and the only one I know of with a modern American song in Japanese that could  be mainstream (to post later).

5th Year Anniversary

Katrina is not something that I want to remember but it is worth noting that August 29 and the surreal weeks that followed mark the 5th anniversary of “The Storm” that flooded New Orleans.

For this year’s anniversary, I thought I’d post fitting artwork by the British Street artist Bansky, who’s mural work just happens to be stenciled on the side of building located on the corner of North Rampart and Kerlerec Streets in New Orleans.

Bansky_NOLA_KatrinaAnniv_casartblog on Art Is Everywhere

Nola Pink by Bansky, 2008

Interesting timing that I just ran across this article regarding Fred Radtke, aka “the Gray Ghost” because he eradicates graffiti and street art in New Orleans by spray painting over them with gray paint, leaving a ghost of the image. I’m glad Bansky’s art is now protected with a Pexiglass covering and duplicates have been produced for further archiving to travel for exhibits.

Getting back to this anniversary, everyone has their story to tell, like where were you during 9/11?  Another unforgettable day, as I was here in the DC area dealing with trying to get my children home from their schools. Here’s a synopsis of my Katrina story. I was not blogging at that time, and good thing because you would have noticed a change in my demeanor. You may have even questioned my sanity. I know I did. It was one of the worst things I’ve been through (even more unknowns than cancer) and I wasn’t even there. I was just trying to make sure that family members and friends got out while I was 1,099 miles away with little or no control to do so.

I watched the waters quickly rise while my friend was in her condo right down the street from the Superdome. Strangely, I was able to reach her on a land line after most everything shut down. She did not plan on leaving. People were jumping from the Superdome platform, there was a fire burning nearby and looters right around the corner. I was watching all of this from the safety of my home television sets and computers — different channels all on at once. She finally left with her husband, sick father and three dogs and a cat (I think) just seconds before the police closed the Interstate Connector (off Camp Street).  I was relieved but didn’t know this until days later when they finally made their way to Mississippi.

My parents, when they finally decided to leave, were able to make it to Atlanta after enduring bumper-to-bumper traffic and then they ended up in KY after a week or so. I had to track down my father’s oncologist who was out of the country and then find other doctors who he could see at various facilities along the way.  ASCO, The American Society of Clinical Oncology was located right around the corner from my home. I paid them an exasperated visit and coincidentally met with the same lovely person who my parents had met earlier that year at a conference. John Cox, of ASCO, later wrote about this experience in their newsletter quoted below and Fran Fritz included this example of what to do with Cancer Care Amid the Storm in her article for MSNBC. I’ll never forget ASCO and Wendy Stokes’ lifesaving help.  I’m glad this story also may have been helpful to others.

A few days after Hurricane Katrina hit, a young woman walked down the street from her home in Alexandria, Virginia, and knocked on the door of ASCO’s headquarters. Her elderly father was a cancer patient who had been evacuated from New Orleans to Louisville, Kentucky, because of the hurricane. He needed care–and she needed help. Wendy Stokes, an ASCO staff member, took the young woman by the hand, made some calls, found a source of care for the woman’s father, and connected the two. And while she was at it, she helped another friend of the young woman, a dislocated cancer patient looking for care in Mississippi. From dramatic rescues and heroic sacrifices that all of us have seen to the small kindnesses that go unnoticed, thousands of Americans have stepped forward to do what they call to ease the suffering of neighbors. ASCO became part of this national response.

Meanwhile, I lost all track of time during this period —  weeks melded into days and vice versa.

My brother and his fiancée set up camp in Baton Rouge and he was the first to return. He doesn’t talk about this or what he saw to this day. His house was flooded to the second floor, being a few blocks from the 17th Street Canal (so strange I can say that and everyone knows where that is now). We watched a video of a cat being rescued from a boat from the top floor of his house — how we knew it was flooded. There were many miracles. Thank goodness for Troy Gilbert, the Gulf Sails blogger, giving us daily reports from the location he never left — a block away from my parents’ house and his sister lived on my brother’s street in Lakeview. Thank goodness for Google Earth! Mostly, thank goodness for the support of friends and my immediate and extended family. The apparent loss of one’s hometown is an insanely difficult thing to deal with, even if you have a love / hate relationship with your birthplace.

There were so many strange occurrences during that time that I don’t like to repeat or even remember them all and these included scenes of others’ trials which were much more serious than those of my kin and friends. I have saved all of the emails and kept a scrapbook of newspaper clippings to deal with all of the memories. I relate this process of healing to that of what those with PTSD must encounter. I finally closed the chapter on this life’s book @ January of this year, when I along with so many others in New Orleans finally felt like the city had gotten back on its feet. We survived. We were stronger and we even won the Super Bowl! (Don’t ask me anything about football but I became a fan.) Then the BP Oil Spill….

My sentiments follow those of Chris Rose; although knowing he had a mini nervous breakdown after Katrina, I try to remain more positive. He is one of my favorite New Orleans writers. His book One Dead in the Attic is so truthful in its telling — pure written art. He is correct in that at the 5th Year Anniversary of Hurricane Katrina, we (all those who have connection to New Orleans) would have been fine and even elated to say we were — had it not been for this oil disaster — a preventable human error. Yet, New Orleans has risen above the sea level of despair, yet again. It doesn’t stop our partying — our celebration of moving forward — our expression of love for life.

Another author, Dan Baum, who’s book I read called Nine Lives: Mystery, Magic, Death and the Life in New Orleans, portrays real characters that reads like fiction. His descriptions of their lives before and right after Katrina show the spirit of New Orleans. His final paragraph in the article that he recently wrote for the Washington Post puts it succinctly:

Five years after Katrina, living in the Big Easy is not for the weak of spirit. It’s a triumph that the place continues at all; that it’s still the singular city it was borders on the miraculous. As we mark Katrina’s anniversary next weekend, it will surely be a time of mourning and for taking stock of the challenges ahead. But since this is New Orleans, we’re talking about, it’s a time for celebration, too. As a wise old man of the Lower Night Ward once told me, “We’re capable here of holding more than one thought in our heads.”

It’s time now to move onward, only reflecting back on the past to be aware, remembering the positive, good deeds of people helping each other and therein, making the future (and New Orleans) better. For all the TV and media coverage this week, let’s focus on the positive progress and not get stuck in the static past.

Here’s an appropriate song by Vince Vance that helps to define this New Orleans’ spirit while remembering heritage.

Pop-Ups Plus

I recently saw notice for and exhibition called, Paper Engineering: Fold, Pull, Pop and Turn, about pop-up books at The National Museum of American History. I’ve always enjoyed pop-up books, so I hope I can see this. The exhibit contains book from the Smithsonian Institutions’ Library’s

Pop-up book, One Red Dot. Courtesy NMAH, seen on Art Is Everywhere blogHere’s the NMAH’s quite fascinating video on the subject and how involved a pop-up project may be. I have an even greater appreciation of a pop-up book after watching this. It’s truly a work of art and a paper engineering and folding feat.

If you’d like to try a more simple book construction, check out the Altered Book Basics, as a project from a children’s librarian and mom on Nature Books Art.

Example of an Altered Book from Nature Books Art as seen on Art Is Everywere

Example of an Altered Book from Nature Books Art

While I’m mentioning exhibitions, here few more I’d like to see:

1) ColorForms examines how artists use color within multi aspect of media. Hirshhorn – Jan 2, 2011.

2) Graphic Masters III: Highlights from the Smithsonian American Art Museum, shows artist’ illustrated lists, among other works at the Reynolds Center for American Art and Portraiture – August 8, 2010.

3) While there, check out the magnificent Kogod Courtyard and also see Norman Rockwell, Telling Stories from the Collections of George Lucas and Steven Spielberg, July 2 – January 2, 2011.

NormanRockwell Telling Stories exhibit at National Museum of American Art on Art Is Everywhere blog

Norman Rockwell Telling Stories exhibit at National Museum of American Art

4) Chuck Close Prints: Process and Collaboration, Corcoran Gallery of Art, through September 12. I’ve always liked Chuck Close.

Curatorial Lectures

I really love the National Gallery. It’s my favorite museum by design and acquisition and that it is so accessible. I used to work there and that probably has something to do with my continued affection for the NGA.

When I first worked at the NGA, I was an intern in the Public Relations Office — the administrative side — before I worked later on the exhibition side. This was a wonderful opportunity to learn the behind the scenes tactics of what it takes to operate a famous and large-scale public art museum. Fortunately, I was able to do this with a Tonya Grant from my university. Normally this was used for mostly government and public affairs internships but I was the first one (at the time) to be awarded this with regard to the art /museum realm. When I was there, we were periodically asked to do research at CASVA, the Center for Advanced Study in the Visual Arts, situated in the East tower wing, taking up several floors among administrative offices. This was fun and intimidating to do. So many scholars were surrounding us. However, I was happy to see that this “hidden” gem and its several scholars were recently profiled in the Washington Post. As Blake Gopnick states in his article, “They work in the shadows to find new insights into art — so that the rest of us don’t have to.” Actually, I would love to, but it would be a luxury at this point with so little time….I’m kind of envious. What a dream job it would be to study art. Art history is still my first academic love; although, I equally enjoy creating art as well, but to be able to delve into historical periods, artistic movements and particular artists of interest and within your profession…. Artists, as well as art historians are part of CASVA.

Current CASVA scholars at NGA. Photo by Bill O'leary. Washington Post

Many lectures take place at the NGA which showcase their work. I used to attend regularly. Having kids, kinda changed that but now that my husband and I are empty nesters and our boys are nearly both in college, they might appreciate attending. Something to put on the summer calendar; although, the CASVA lectures by this point will have finished. Others remain and are ongoing, regarding current and permanent exhibitions. I would have liked to have attended, The Body of Perfection, the Perfection of the Body and Representation and Imitation.

Coincidentally, I had a discussion recently at a dinner party about my behind the scenes experience at the NGA and I recommended the childrens book, The Nine-Ton Cat, by Peggy Thomson as a pretty accurate and basic perspective of all the things we don’t notice when just going there to view the art.

Nine-Ton-Cat by Peggy Thomson

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