Americans For the Arts needs your input

After writing a few brief lines about the following survey for Americans for the Arts, I realized I had essentially repeated, work-for-word, what was already posted on their site.   I’ve never been a fan of plagiarism, so I’ll let them do the talking:

Americans for the Arts is  conducting a nationwide scan of the arts environment to help us determine the best ways to advance the arts in America.  As someone who knows just how essential the arts are, your voice and input are vital.  We hope you will help us by dedicating  some of  your time to complete our online survey no later than Friday, May 11.

Obviously, since you’re here reading this, you appreciate the arts.   Send them your thoughts.

Louisville locals, you’re invited to a private cocktail reception for my next art sale!

11″ x 14″ pen and ink drawing
See all artwork available for sale.

This Thursday, March 22nd, from 4:30-7pm Architectural Salvage is hosting a cocktail reception for the start of a spring inventory reduction sale. Several of my paintings will be on display and available for purchase at the reception and throughout the duration of the sale, which ends on Saturday, March 24th.

I’m incredibly grateful to Architectural Salvage for hosting the event to support my work. Please print out this invitation an bring it with you to the store to receive 25% off all inventory items in stock.

In case you’re newcomer to the store,

Architectural Salvage has been providing original and reproduction architectural antiques and elements to designers, builders, collectors, home-owners, and curious creatives since 1982. With 24,000 square feet and four architectural salvage yards in downtown Louisville, Kentucky, we offer thousands of unique, unusual, and hard-to-find home decor items to a national clientele. You will find evidence of our one-of-a-kind treasures in distinctive homes, memorable restaurants, innovative corporate environments, and elegant gardens.

Some of their typical items include antique light fixtures, mantels, hardware, stained glass, armoires, pedestals, statuary, ceramics and pottery, chairs, tables, stonework, ironwork, unique garden gates, fountains, and much more.

Email this to a friend and join us on Thursday for a drink! I will have several equine related paintings at the reception for those of you planning your Derby parties (wink wink).

Click here for the store address and directions.

ArtBridge lets homeless children of Houston create masterpieces

7″ x 9″ watercolor
See all paintings available for sale.

Obviously I have contacted many non-profits and given them my pitch, but never have I had a response like the one I got from ArtBridge. Instead of the usual, “we would love to have you” I got, “we would love to have you teach our kids about portraiture.” Forget what I was after, ArtBridge was focused on their goal of bringing art to the homeless children in 8 Houston shelters.

Each year, ArtBridge programs serve more than 2,000 children whose families are indigent, in crisis, and struggling to meet their needs…They have experienced family chaos, neglect, and often, domestic abuse. Some have been abandoned and are living alone in shelters.

How do you turn down an offer like that? So I did indeed end up introducing myself to a small group of people half my size and explaining to them what “painting journalism” means. Then I asked each of them about their day and to model their mood for the person sitting across from them. Although restless 8 year olds don’t make very good models, I did eventually have a room of artistic journalists attempting to capture what they saw on paper. Short attention spans made completed pieces nearly impossibly, but there was at least a lot of dialogue about the events of the day. I was flattered to be drawn by several of the kids (proudly displayed on my fridge) and got some big hugs before I left. It was a humbling and heart-warming experience.

If you’re one of my Houston readers and have an artistic flare, I’m sure you would enjoy volunteering with this amazing organization.

Ky Foundation for Women prep their applicants

Grant writing is an intimidating task that can feel overwhelming for many people new to the process. For this reason, the Ky Foundation for Women (KFW) recently helped prepare the next round of applicants for an upcoming deadline.

An excerpt from the foundation’s website tells us:

KFW is celebrating its twentieth year of funding feminist art for social change! Since its founding, KFW has given over 1,100 grants, totaling over $6.5 million. KFW supports feminist art because we believe it has the power to create positive social change in our state, and when women and girls advance, so does Kentucky.The mission of the Kentucky Foundation for Women is to promote positive social change through varied feminist expression in the arts.

Around the table at this grant writing Q and A session was a fairly typical group of artists. To me, the “typical group of artists” translates as a rather rare and eclectic group with a wide range of talents, backgrounds, and interests. A dancer, writer, art therapist, choir director, gallery owner and many more drilled the grants manager and community coordinator with question after question to determine how to make their application stand out among the competition. I heard a variety of unique ideas that aligned with KFW’s mission of promoting positive social change in the lives of women in Kentucky through the arts.

Hopefully, yours truly will be one of the recipients of a KFW grant as I will be applying in the coming months. I’m sure you will be one of the first to know if such good fortune decides to shine on me.

This painter’s painting of people admiring paintings

8″ x 10″ oil on canvas, $220
See all paintings available for sale.

No matter your level of involvement in the arts, if the slightest bit of interest exists, I highly recommend taking advantage of every opportunity to see artwork of “the masters.” I never truly appreciated much of what I studied in college until I was face-to-face with the originals in such museums as the Smithsonian and the Art Institute of Chicago. It’s in these places I have sat in front of the works of my idols for hours pondering sources of inspiration, philosophies, technique, and influences.

On my recent trip to Washington DC, I had the pleasure of visiting the Phillips Collection, housing artwork of artists such as Braque, Picasso, Matisse, Rothko, and personal favorites Eakins, Degas, and Renoir. Don’t get me wrong, I could sleep in art history class with the best of them (dimmed lights and monotone lectures reminiscent of Fred Savage’s science class from the “The Wonder Years” is better than Sudafed for drowsiness). However, the difference in personal engagement with the actual artwork on the canvas the artist built his/herself is an infinitely more substantial experience.

Although much smaller and more intimate than its better known counterparts, The Phillips Collection was the first museum of modern art in America. And as any reputable museum would, The Phillips Collections offers an array of educational and professional opportunities available to everyone from first-grader to scholar.

So, next time you’re strolling the sidewalks of Dupont Circle in DC, stop in to see a stunning collection of artwork you’re sure to enjoy.

Monster puppets thrill New Year’s Eve party goers

7″ x 9″ watercolor, $70 ($10 donated to the Squallis Puppeteers)

See all paintings available for sale.

I tend to gravitate towards organizations that focus on dense issues, often overlooking those with a lighter touch. Let me correct that by sharing with you my New Year’s Eve experience. I was a bit perplexed by the invitation for the Squallis Puppeteers‘ “Monstruppets” performance. I wasn’t sure if I would be attending a Halloween thriller or a New Year’s Eve bash. What I ended up going to was a hybrid of the two holiday celebrations.

The nonprofit, powered by volunteer puppet enthusiast, put on a side-splitting display of antics for a crowd spilling into the stairwell (I was lucky enough to find a mushroom stool to sit on, which was next to the church pew). The puppeteers, dressed like bandits in black, brought their colorful creations to life to comically scare their audience into 2007.

Events such as this are really fueled by a pure interest in having fun, not saving the world. Although, the Squallis Puppeteers are finding no lack of opportunities to integrate their creative hobby into a useful tool for theatre education and other community engagements. When they’re not entertaining themselves by crafting larger than life creatures with hot glue guns and building materials, they visit schools, churches, the local zoo, Bernheim Forest, and other local venues. Their ever-growing presence brings shock, awe, and smiles to every event they attend or host. It was a great way to spend my last night of 2006!

Colors of Christmas at Bernheim Forest

6″ x 8″ watercolor, $70 ($10 donated to Bernheim Forest)
See all paintings available for sale.

Snow is nowhere is sight at Bernheim Forest this Christmas. Nonetheless, the abundance of red berries is a telltale sign of Mother Nature’s festive spirit. With the largest North American collection of American hollies, it hard to overlook the dusting of red (as well as other unexpected colors) throughout the arboretum.

Maybe you don’t like hollies, or perhaps the color red. Don’t fret. Bernheim has much more to offer than a place to admire live holiday decorations. Those looking for recreational indulgences can hike the 25 miles of trails at your adventurous feet. For those wanting to dig deeper into environmental education, Bernheim can host an informative, hands-on day for a class of students, or advise an urbanite on what trees are best suited for their yard (or lack thereof).

Of most interest to yours truly is Bernheim’s involvement in the arts. Multiple opportunities are available to 2D artists, 3D artists, and writers to develop their skill while living at Bernheim funded by grants and fellowships. Artists from around the global have traveled to the hidden get-away to be inspired by what is unfortunately absent from many familiar landscapes, nature. The organization’s founder, Isaac Wolfe Bernheim, craved a collaboration of the arts and nature that is well represented in each building on the grounds (including the buildings themselves). Another effort indicative of the founder’s desire to embrace the arts is Bernheim’s offer to host the 2007 NCECA conference. That’s broken down to, the National Council on Education for the Ceramic Arts (thank goodness for acronyms). I would certainly call that slightly more involved than your typical state park!

More from “Martinis and Mistletoe”

8″ x 10″ oil on canvas, $220 ($50 donated to the Kentucky Museum of Art and Craft)

See all paintings available for sale.

For your viewing pleasure, above is the finished version of a previous article about a recent Kentucky Museum of Art and Craft‘s holiday fundraiser. “Martinis and Mistletoe” was a jubilee evening of holiday cheer hosted at the contemporary museum featuring festive cocktails, classic guitar tunes of Silver Bells, a glowing crowd of art patrons.

The museum supports artisans in a professional, well represented gallery setting that offers increased exposure and sales. The nonprofit also focuses on education for school children and adults alike, artist professional development, and scholarships. The museum is out to help enable the work of Kentucky, regional, national and international artisans while also engaging the public in such work.

The two attendees above stood facing a gallery space (turned martini bar) admiring hand-crafted quilts and glass-blown vessels. Holiday cheer was inevitable with such amazing arts and crafts, peppermint and eggnog concoctions in martini glasses, and great company.

Martinis and Mistletoe for the arts

Hand crafted art, sugar rimmed Martinis, Godiva Chocolate, solo guitar, and Santa; the Kentucky Museum of Art and Craft hosted quite a unique of mix entertainment this evening. The enormous 2 story contemporary museum sheltered a full house from the bitter cold. I’m sure the free flowing vodka helped keep the bodies warm. The annual “Martinis and Mistletoe” drew in a crowd of art patrons ready to show their financial support with sales of the museum’s well stocked artisan inventory.

“The Mission of the Kentucky Museum of Art and Craft is to promote excellence in the art and craft heritage of Kentucky through:

  • Education outreach to Kentuckiana (that’s local jargon for the Louisville/Southern Indiana area) schools
  • A permanent collection gallery
  • Three exhibition galleries featuring Kentucky, regional, national and international artists
  • A gallery shop representing hundreds of Kentucky artists
  • Professional development and scholarships for artist

I wasn’t sure what to do first: try on jewelry, pick out pottery, drink a Christmas cocktail, or remind Santa how exceptionally good I’ve been this year. Actually, I didn’t have much time for any of it. I was busy sketching the event (which turned out to be hazardous as I accidentally dropped my pen on the guests below me while rendering this last sketch). Keep the “painting journalist” away from the martini bar.