Tuesday, October 30, 2007

CERF Responds to California Wildfires

The Craft Emergency Relief Fund (CERF) is taking action to respond to the community of craft artists affected by the Southern California Wildfires. We are reaching out to artists, arts organizations, galleries, businesses and others in the affected areas to offer assistance and to locate information about the arts community. While it is still too early to know the extent of damage, we do know that the situation is severe as news reports indicate. We also know that this area of California has a significant population of craft artists. We have already heard from a jeweler who lost both her home and studio and CERF Trustee and clay artist, Lana Wilson, had to be evacuated from her Del Mar home.

Please help us spread the word that CERF is available to offer assistance to craft artists in Southern California by forwarding this e-mail to your contacts or by sending your contact information of craft artists in this region to CERF. Please also be aware that your support of our work during these times is essential so that we can deliver aid quickly and effectively.

NOTE: I have recently been elected to CERF's Board of Directors

Monday, October 29, 2007

Salvaging Textiles after Water and Fire Disasters

Emergency Salvage Procedures for Wet Items: Textiles and Clothing - Minnesota Historical Society

Salvaging Water Damaged Textiles – The American Institute for Conservation of Historic & Artistic Works (AIC)

Salvage at a Glance Part V: Textiles – National Park Service

How to Care for and Salvage Your Textiles After a Flood – Historic Textiles Studio

Washing Will Remove Soot, Odors - New Mexico State University College of Agriculture and Home Economics

Cleaning of Fire Damaged Watercolor and Textiles Using Atomic Oxygen – NASA – this is very interesting and is apparently quite effective, but where and how would you or I get our hands on some atomic oxygen – and what would we do with it once we got it?

Saturday, October 27, 2007

Critical Response

"Untitled", 1994 - 12' x 18'
Douglas Argue

"Untitled", 1994 - 12' x 18' - showing scale of the painting
Douglas Argue

Detail of "Untitled", 1994 - 12' x 18'
Douglas Argue

This 5-minute audio (with pictures) is a fascinating example of an educator taking a student (who states that he is indifferent to art) through the critical response process. The level of understanding that he reaches during this process is amazing. His initial statement was, “I don’t get art.” The artwork is "Untitled”, a painting by Douglas Argue which is on exhibit at the Weisman Art Museum.
To view more of Douglas Argue’s art, please visit his website:
“Critical Response is a structured process that allows responders to pay close attention to a particular piece of art, text or a performance.” This process is one that we as artists can use when dialoguing with a viewer about our art, or on our selves when we find ourselves engaged with someone else’s art that we may or may not “get”. Five questions are to be asked and responded to (with emphasis on “There are no wrong answers”) - The Critical Response Tool:
Additional examples of Critical Response in action:
Developed by Minnesota’s Perpich Center for Arts Education for the Minneapolis Public School System, Critical Response was designed for artists who teach and for “artful” teachers.
Also available is the Artful Teaching and Learning Handbook
this 158 page free e-book (http://www.pcae.k12.mn.us/pdr/HANDBOOK6_7.pdf) is “Full of tools, processes and examples from its field sites, the handbook offers the practitioner research-based support for building arts based and arts infused learning.” (a hard copy version also is available).

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Investing in Creativity: A Study of the Support Structure for U. S. Artists

“Throughout our history, artists in the U.S. have utilized their skills as a vehicle to illuminate the human condition, contribute to the vitality of their communities and to the broader aesthetic landscape, as well as to promote social change and democratic dialogue. Artists have also helped us interpret our past, define the present, and imagine the future. In spite of these significant contributions, there's been an inadequate set of support structures to help artists, especially younger, more marginal or controversial ones, to realize their best work. Many artists have struggled and continue to struggle to make ends meet. They often lack adequate resources for health care coverage, housing, and for space to make their work. Still, public as well as private funding for artists has been an uneven, often limited source of support even in the best of times economically.”

Thus begins this 107-page document (available as a free e-book) from the Culture, Creativity, and Communities (CCC) Program of the Urban Institute. One of its findings:

"While 96% of Americans value art in their communities and lives, only 27% value artists."

The Urban Institute (a nonpartisan economic and social policy research organization) publishes studies, reports, and books on timely topics worthy of public consideration.

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Call to Artists - The Gallery at Mount Ida College

This is a call to artists for an exhibition titled Wild life/Wildlife.

How is your wild life interpreted? Life as a human condition: its structure, wildness, rawness and crudeness or wildlife of the natural world: its order and disorder, incivility and savageness. How does the artist express the essence of Wild Life / Wildlife as a paradox, the perfect and the imperfect, order and disorder? Does the word wildlife still hold its original meaning or has human interaction destroyed what is wild?

All media eligible. We will look at up to 10 images from each artist. Please send a list of works with the submission in detail including; title, date, medium, and dimensions. Also, please include your name, address, telephone/cell and email address for contact. We will contact you by email by December 14, 2007.

Slides and digital images should be clearly marked with your name and the name of the piece along with the corresponding number on the list of works. For slides include a red dot in the lower left corner to help us orient your images properly. Send the requested materials no later than November 30, 2007 (post mark) with a SASE for return.

Dates for the run of the exhibition are March 25 - May 4, 2008 with a reception on Thursday, April 3 from 5:00 - 7:00pm with an artist's talk at 6:00pm.

The exhibition will be curated by Professor and artist John Tricomi (http://www.mountida.edu/sp.cfm?pageid=313&id=248), and Associate Professor, Gallery Director and artist Kathleen Driscoll (http://www.mountida.edu/sp.cfm?pageid=313&id=101)

Mail or email entries to:

Kathleen Driscoll, Gallery Director
Mount Ida College
777 Dedham Street
Newton Centre, MA 02459

Kathleen Driscoll 617-928-4654 (kdriscoll@mountida.edu) or
Sally Gray, Administrative Assistant, 617 928 4636 (sgray@mountida.edu)

Monday, October 22, 2007

Emergency Assistance for Artists

The following is a listing of foundations and organizations whose primary mission is to provide emergency financial and other assistance to artists in dire need.

1. Craft Emergency Relief Fund (CERF)

The mission of the Craft Emergency Relief Fund (CERF) is to provide direct financial assistance to professional craft artists through the award of small grants ($1,500 - $5,000) and no-interest loans ($3,500 - $8,000), through the waiver and discounts of booth fees, and through donation of supplies and equipment. Since its inception in 1985, hundreds of craft artists have been provided with over $1.25 million in financial assistance, donated services, equipment and supplies.

Full information about CERF, criteria for assistance, eligibility requirements, and application forms is available on its website:

2. The Haven Foundation

The Haven Foundation is a national, nonprofit organization making grants to freelance writers and artists experiencing career-threatening illness, accident, natural disaster or other emergency or personal catastrophe. The Haven Foundation is a small fund providing grants of up to $25,000 per year, renewable for up to five years (pending approval of renewal application).

3. John Anson Kittredge Educational Fund

Grants awarded to artists in very special circumstances. $1,000 - $10,000. Initial contact by letter stating purpose, amount requested, period of funding, supporting letter.

Application Address:
P.O. Box 2883
Cambridge, MA 02138

4. Myer Foundation: Economic Relief Grants

Economic relief grants to needy individuals who are distressed or suffering as a result of poverty, low income or lack of financial resources, including as a result of natural or civil disasters, or from temporary impoverishment, loss of employment, death or incapacity of a family wage earner or damage to home and property; to provide health care to those who cannot afford health care or whose health insurance or financial resources are insufficient to cover medical needs. Grants range from $2,500 - $5,000

An application form is not required. Proposals should be made in letter form. See web site for details regarding information required:

Application Address:
20 West 64th Street, Suite 15-U
New York, NY 10023

Email: mayerfoundation@hotmail.com

5. Change Emergency Funds

One-time only emergency grants for visual artists of any discipline within the U.S.

Grants are to avoid eviction, pay medical bills, pay unpaid utility bills, address fire damage or any other emergency the board deems worthy.

Awards of up to $1,000 for medical, living, or other emergencies. Open to artists of all disciplines, with no U.S. geographical restrictions; students are not eligible. Each applicant must submit a detailed letter describing the financial emergency, copies of outstanding bills, medical fee estimates, etc., and current financial statements, along with a career resume, exhibition or performance announcements, slides or photos of work and two letters of reference from someone in the affiliated field (no video tapes). Only complete applications will be accepted. Change, Inc does not issue more than one grant per person.

Application Address:
Robert Rauschenberg, Executive Director
Change, Inc.

P.O. Box 54
Captiva, FL 33924

Phone: (212) 473-3742

6. Springboard for the Arts Emergency Relief Fund (ERF)

“Springboard's Emergency Relief Fund exists to help meet the emergency needs of artists in need of immediate monies to cover an expense due to loss from fire, theft, health emergency, or other catastrophic, career-threatening event.”

Update, August 23, 2007: The Emergency Relief Fund is recently depleted due to a high volume of recent requests for funding. Applications will still be accepted and reviewed in the order received, but cannot be funded immediately. [Emphasis Added]

Friday, October 19, 2007

Volunteer Lawyers for the Arts (VLA)

Voluntee Lawyers for the Arts (VLA) "... delivers pro bono and low cost legal services and information to members of the arts community each year. Access to VLA’s pro bono legal services is available to low-income artists and nonprofit arts organizations, but many other programs are more widely available to the entire arts community.” Unfortunately, not every state nor every country has an organization. Of those that do, the services offered vary considerably. They are:

Australia – The Arts Law Centre of Australia www.artslaw.com.au/
Canada – Canadian Artists Representation
United Kingdom – ArtQuest http://www.artquest.org.uk/

AlabamaAlabama Lawyers & Accountants for the Arts (ALAArts)
Executive Director – Marcus Hunt
4326 Eagle Point Parkway
Birmingham, AL 35242
Telephone: 205-408-3025 (main #); 205-936-9559 (alternate #)

California(statewide) California Lawyers for the Arts

(Beverly Hills) Beverly Hills Bar Association
Barristers Committee for the Arts

(Oakland) California Lawyers for the Arts
1212 Broadway St., Ste. 834
Oakland, CA 94612
(510) 444-6351
(510) 444-6352 Fax

(Sacramento) California Lawyers for the Arts
926 J St., Ste. 811
Sacramento, CA 95814
(916) 442-6210
(916) 442-6281 Fax

(San Diego) California Lawyers for the Arts
1205 Prospect St.
La Jolla, CA 92037
Phone: (619) 454-9696

(San Francisco) California Lawyers for the Arts
Fort Mason Center, Building C, Rm 255
San Francisco, CA 94123
(415) 775-7200
(415) 775-1143 Fax

(Santa Monica) California Lawyers for the Arts
1641 18th St.
Santa Monica, CA 90404
(310) 998-5590
(310) 998-5594 Fax

Colorado Colorado Lawyers for the Arts

ConnecticutConnecticut Volunteer Lawyers for the Arts

D.C.Washington Area Lawyers for the Arts

District of Columbia Volunteer Lawyers for the Arts
916 Sixteenth St NW
Washington, DC 20006

Business Volunteers for the Arts-Washington
1436 U Street NW, Suite 103
Washington, DC 20009-3997
Phone: (202) 638-2406
Fax: (202) 638-3388
Email: staff@cultural-alliance.org


ArtServe, Inc./Volunteer Lawyers for the Arts
1350 East Sunrise, Suite 100
Ft. Lauderdale FL 33304

Volunteer Lawyers for the Arts, Pinnellas County Arts Council
14700 Terminal Blvd., Suite 229
Clearwater, FL 33762
tel: (727) 453-7860
fax: (727) 453-7855

Volunteer Lawyer for the Arts
3233 East Bay Drive #101
Largo, Florida 33771

Business Volunteers for the Arts- Miami
150 West Flagler Street, Suite 2500
Miami FL 33130

Volunteer Lawyers for the Arts/Western Florida
(A division of Business Volunteers for the Arts)
14700 Terminal Blvd., Suite 229
Clearwater, Florida 33762
phone: (727) 507-4114

GeorgiaGeorgia Lawyers for the Arts

IllinoisLawyers for the Creative Arts

IndianaCreative Arts Legal League

KansasMid-America Arts Resources
c/o Susan J. Whitfield-Lungren
PO Box 363Lindsborg, KS 67456
(913) 227-2321

Kentucky - Fund for the Arts
623 West Main Street
Louisville KY 40202

LouisianaArts Council of New Orleans

MaineMaine Volunteer Lawyers for the Arts
tel: (207) 871 7033

MarylandMaryland Lawyers for the Arts

MassachusettsVolunteer Lawyers for the Arts of Massachusetts, Inc.

MichiganArtServe Michigan Volunteer Lawyers for Arts & Culture www.artservemichigan.org/docs/services_sub/art_law.html

MinnesotaSpringboard for the Arts

Missouri - Volunteer Lawyers and Accountants for the Arts St. Louis

MontanaContact the Montana Arts Council -

New HampshireLawyers for the Arts/New Hampshire

New JerseyNew Jersey Volunteer Lawyers for the Arts

New YorkVolunteer Lawyers for the Arts New York

Albany/Schenectady League of Arts Inc.
19 Clifton Ave
Albany, NY 12207
Phone: 518-449-5380
Email: info@artsleague.org

North CarolinaNorth Carolina Volunteer Lawyers for the Arts


Volunteer Lawyers and Accountants for the Arts-Cleveland

Toledo Volunteer Lawyers and Accountants for the Arts
c/o Arnold Gottlieb, Esq.
608 Madison, Ste. 1523
Toledo, OH 43604
(419) 255-3344
(419) 255-1329 Fax

OklahomaOklahoma Accountants and Lawyers for the Arts
c/o Eric King, Gable & Gotwals
One Leadership Sq., 15th Fl.
211 N. Robinson
Oklahoma City, OK 73102 tel: (405) 235-5500

OregonNorthwest Lawyers and Artists, Inc.

PennsylvaniaPhiladelphia Volunteer Lawyers for the Arts

Pittsburgh Arts Council


Western Pennsylvania Professionals
PO Box 19388
Pittsburgh, PA 15213
Phone: 412-268-8437

Rhode IslandOcean State Lawyers for the Arts

South DakotaSouth Dakota Arts Council

TennesseeTennessee Volunteer Lawyers for the Arts

TexasTexas Accountants and Lawyers for the Arts
2917 Swiss Ave.
Dallas, TX 75204
Phone: 214-821-1818

Austin Lawyers and Accountants for the Arts
P. O. Box 2577
Austin TX 78768

Artists' Legal and Accounting Assistance
P.O. Box 2577
Austin, TX 78751
Phone: 512-476-4458
Email: mpolar@bga.com

Lawyers and Accountants of North Texas for the Arts (LANTA)

P.O. Box 2019
Cedar Hill, TX 75106
Phone: 972-291-9010

San Antonio & El Paso Offices: contact TALA at Houston office

UtahUtah Lawyers for the Arts
PO Box 652
Salt Lake City, UT 84110

VirginiaVirginia Lawyers for the Arts

WashingtonWashington Lawyers for the Arts

WisconsinArts Wisconsin

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

How NOT to Display Your Artwork on the Web

Charley Parker, a professional web site designer, writes: "There are millions upon millions of bad sites on the web, but artists really work at it. Never have I seen such an array of sites in which artsy designs, misplaced cleverness, highbrow concepts, amateur clumsiness, arrogance and ignorance have been painstakingly employed to drive visitors away."

He has therefore "...created a collection of handy tips for how to send editors, art directors, gallery owners, prospective buyers, webcomics readers and casual users hastily clicking away in search of some portfolio site other than yours." These can be read on his blog:

Fortunately, Charley also has written a 6-part series of astute posts about "How to Display Your Art on the Web":


Part 1: Finding a Web Hosting Provider

Part 2: Registering a Domain Name

Part 3: Building Your Web Site

Part 4: Planning Your Web Site

Part 5: Designing Your Web Site

Part 6: Preparing Images for the Web

Charley Parker's Blog, Lines and Colors states that it is about anything he "...find[s] visually interesting. If it has lines and/or colors, it's fair game." It's a great blog for anyone interested in discussion about art.

Sunday, October 14, 2007

Opportunities for Artists

Puffin Foundation 2008 Grants to Artists - Deadline December 30
This foundation makes grants that encourage emerging artists…whose works due to their genre and/or social philosophy might have difficulty being aired. It does not award grants for travel, continuing education, or the writing or publishing of books. Average grants are: $1,000 - $2,500. To receive an application packet please send a #10 SASE to:
Puffin Foundation Ltd.
20 Puffin Way (formerly East Oakdene Avenue)
Teaneck, NJ 07666-4111

Barbara Deming Memorial Fund
This fund provides small grants ($500-$1500) to individual feminist women in the arts whose work in some way focuses upon women. Contact:
Susan Pliner, Administrator
Money for Women, Barbara Deming Memorial Fund
PO Box 630125
Bronx, NY 10463 (no phone, fax, or email)

E. D. Foundation Grants to Individual Artists - Deadline Ongoing
The E.D. Foundation offers grants to individual professional artists, sculptors, and printmakers. Programs open to applicants living in any US state, territory, or Indian nation. Initial approach is by letter, application form required. Write to:
E. D. Foundation
953 Fifth Avenue
New York, NY 10021

The Kaiser Permanent Art Program announces the availability of guidelines for artists who wish to have art considered for purchase. The art program features quality original art in all mediums from regional and nationally know artists. Art will be purchased for Kaiser Permanente medical facilities located in the Kansas City area. Slides are reviewed throughout the year, and selections for direct purchase and/or commissions are made when employee art committees meet. For guidelines, contact:
Art Management and Planning Services, Inc.
Kaiser Permanente Kansas City Art Program
1660 Wynkoop St. Ste. 1060
Denver, CO 80202
Telephone: 913/967-4604
E-mail ksmithwar@aol.com

The HFA Gallery of the University of Minnesota, Morris is currently accepting exhibition proposals for the 2008-09 and 2009-10 academic years.
Deadline January 15, 2008
Exhibitions may be solo or group shows. Possible visiting artist opportunity in conjunction with exhibition. Please submit proposals including a brief typed cover letter explaining your work and general purpose of your exhibition, artist resume, artist statement, 10 - 20 jpg/psd digital images on a CD, Mac compatible (no slides). This is the only acceptable format in which your work will be reviewed (DVD will be accepted for video, installation, and performance proposals only); no Powerpoint or e-mailed/web site proposals. Send proposals to:
Michael Eble, Curator
HFA Gallery
600 E.Fourth Street
University of Minnesota Morris
Morris, MN 56267
For more info download a prospectus at http://www.morris.umn.edu/academic/art/ProspectusHFA.doc

American University Museum Reviewing Work for Exhibitions, DC
Deadline - Ongoing
American University Museum at the Katzen Arts Center, in Washington, DC, accepts submissions for exhibitions. Guidelines for being considered: A CD of up to 20 jpeg images along with a resume, image list, a short statement and/or cover letter. If you are proposing a group exhibition please include resumes by all artists involved. Please do not send slides. Submitted materials will not be returned. The reviewing process should take 6 - 8 weeks. We will contact you if we would like to see additional materials. Submissions should be mailed to:
Jack Rasmussen, Director and Curator
American University Museum at the Katzen Arts Center
4400, Massachusetts Avenue, NW
Washington, DC 20016

Three Rivers Community College (CT) - Three Rivers Community College, located in Norwich, Connecticut, seeks artists who work in 2-D media to display work in the college's exhibition spaces. Exhibition duration is 1 - 2 months; exhibition dates are ongoing and submissions are accepted on a rolling-basis. Accepted work must be either matted and framed or mounted and ready to hang. To apply, send 5 - 20 labeled slides, resume, artist's statement, and SASE with sufficient postage for return of slides to:
Sandra Jeknavorian, Instructor of Art
Three Rivers Community College
Thames Valley Campus
574 New London Turnpike
Norwich, CT 06360

Community Center Art Gallery, Greenbelt, MD - Deadline Ongoing
The Community Center Art Gallery of Greenbelt, Maryland reviews work of local, national, and international artists for 5 ñ 6 week shows in its primary exhibition space on an ongoing basis. Exhibitions feature both established and emerging artists with original, thought provoking work of professional quality. Community engagement is central to the mission of the Community Center Art Gallery. Artists who are interested in leading one or more paid, hands-on workshops in conjunction with their show will be given first consideration. To apply, submit letter of introduction, commenting on your work and concepts for a visually and conceptually unified exhibition; images of your work (CD, slides, DVD or video) (no limit); artistís resume; and padded SASE for return of materials. A proposal for related workshop for youth, teens or adults is not required, but highly recommended. Mail to:
The Community Center
Attention: Nicole DeWald, Arts Coordinator
15 Crescent Road
Greenbelt, MD 20770
For additional information, e-mail Ndewald@greenbeltmd.gov

International Fiber Collaborative - Deadline March 15, 2008
The goal of the International Fiber Collaborative is to provide an opportunity for people who enjoy working with crafts, whether professional artists, hobbyists, or students to come together from all over the world to express their concerns about their countries extreme dependency on oil for energy. Those who participate will crochet, knit, stitch, patch, or collage three-foot square fiber panels that will express each participants concern about this topic. By designing and creating a panel and participating in this project you are, in the larger picture, expressing your concern about this important subject to the rest of the world. Once all 800 panels are received, they will be sewn together to completely cover an abandoned gas station in central New York State, USA. To learn more about this project, visit http://www.InternationalFiberCollaborative.com or email Jennifer Marsh at blueangle1412@yahoo.com.

Thursday, October 11, 2007

Artist as Teacher: A Guide for Artists Working in Schools

“The purpose of this guide [a 70-page free e-book] is to help…artists understand, survive, and enjoy success in the role of Artist, as teacher [in the classroom]. It is not intended to change their role as artists but rather to start conversations and prepare artists to become an integral part of any community. This guide leads an artist in preparation. Why? Because the role of Artist, as teacher, is integral to the survival of the arts.”

The guide is prepared by the Whole Schools Initiative of the Mississippi Arts Commission. The Whole Schools Initiative is “Mississippi's first comprehensive statewide arts education program, [which] uses the arts as a vehicle for promoting high-quality instruction and learning for students in all disciplines. This unique program goes far beyond ‘art for art's sake’ and applies the learning power of the arts across the entire curriculum.”

Tuesday, October 9, 2007

Line - A Critical Design Element in Quilting

Zen View Red
23" x 34" - Cotton and silk
June Underwood

"The Line as Quilted" – June Underwood - “Line is important in design, particularly, of course, in drawing. It moves the eye, evokes feelings, defines or suggests shape, can make value and depth, and can be varied to vary its expressive quality. In quilted art, line functions in all these ways, but can have a weight and value different from that found in drawing and is far more important than line is in painting.” Thus begins an incisive article by June Underwood recently posted to the Art & Perception blog.

June's essay is a profound and an in-depth exploration and analysis of the use of line in quilting and explores the power of this seemingly simply design element. Many pictures (such as "Zen View Red" shown above) are used to illustrate each point. An extensive and excellent discussion follows in the comment section.

To view more of June's work, visit her website:
June also is the founder of the Ragged Cloth Cafe,
a mailing list for artists
"...to verbally circle ideas about their own work, the visual arts,
and the theories, histories, definitions and philosophies of arts
while relating these to the textile arts..." and of its spinoff blog,
Ragged Cloth Cafe, Serving Art and Textiles
which hosts "Discussions and ideas about art and textile art"
from many different contributors.

"The Quilted Line": Pam RuBert posted an essay to her blog discussing her use of line in her most recent work, "The Food Pyramid: Another Mystery of the Not-So-Ancient World"

To view Pam's work, visit her website:

"The Line in Quilting": - Kim Ritter has posted an extensive essay (including exercises) about the use of line in quilting based on notes from her City and Guilds classwork

To view Kim's work, visit her website:

Create a Line Sampler – This is an exercise designed to investigate the expressive nature of a simple line

The Elements of Art: Line – Illustrates how Line is used expressively by artists

ArtsWork - This is a series of 6 excellent exercises for experimenting with Line http://artswork.asu.edu/arts/students/line/index.htm

Sunday, October 7, 2007

Tax Guide for Visual Artists

Updated in 2006, this tax guide for visual artists is made available by Peter Jason Riley, CPA (senior partner of the CPA Firm of Riley & Associates, PC).

Worksheets Provided Include:

1. Expense Checklist:
PDF Version http://www.artstaxinfo.com/ARTIST/ARTIST~2.PDF
EXCEL Version

2. Income Worksheet:
PDF Version http://www.artstaxinfo.com/ARTIST/ARTIST~1.PDF
EXCEL Version http://www.artstaxinfo.com/ARTIST/INCOME~1.XLS

3. 12-Month Expense Worksheet for Visual Artists:

Other guides include:

1. How to Deduct Your Home Office http://www.artstaxinfo.com/office.shtml

2. Self-Employment Tax Basics http://www.artstaxinfo.com/basics.shtml

3. When to Set Up a Corporation or Other Business Entity

Glossary of Tax, Business, & Financial Terms Written in Plain English

Thursday, October 4, 2007

Artists Speak About Their Art and Spirituality

One of the commitments made as part of our grant proposal to explore the interrelationship(s) between creativity and spirituality was development of a guide to relevant resources, primarily those accessible online. This was a task that I personally undertook to produce, and a 116 page document was submitted at program end on the group's behalf. It included a section which was a compilation of quotations by artists speaking about the role
spirituality plays in their art. A few of them are as follows:

“My quilts are not just connections of varied fabrics. They evoke my sense of spirituality and have their own rhythmic movements that relate to my personal connections with the past, present and prayerfully, the future experiences I hope to encounter.”
Diane Pryor-Holland (fiber artist) http://www.blackerthanthouart.com/site/diane.html

“I am exploring the mysterious and intuitive link between spiritual expression and creative practice."
Wasma'a Chorbachi (ceramist) http://www.wasmaa.com/

“My aim was to create a building…which emotionally moved the soul of the visitor toward a sometimes unexpected realization.”
Daniel Libeskind (architect)

“My responsibility as a painter is to serve as agent to connect the viewer with something beyond my own perceptions and impulses, beyond objects and beyond the literal.”
M. Kathryn Massey (painter) http://www.masseyfineart.com/

“To create sculpture is to confront our dual nature as both spirit and body. The work must express spirit and speak to the spirit of the person who views it. And yet the work must be embodied. Making sculpture is intensely physical. Doing the work means working with and upon certain materials. It is out of this wrestling with form and matter that spirit can be known.”
Kathryn Field (sculptor) http://www.kathrynfield.com/

“I search for the signature of the Spirit.”
Chester Higgins, Jr. (photographer) http://www.chesterhiggins.com/

“There is an essential link between my creating art and the spiritual. Deeply felt experiences in my life are transformed by my art as part of my personal search for the spiritual and the sacred.”
Tricia Milford (fiber sculptor) http://www.cup.edu/nu_upload/Journal_11_13.pdf

"My connection with the stone involves spirituality and reverence for the spirit that dwells within. It has been on this earth much longer than man and for this reason the stone becomes the teacher, it is simply what my ancestors believe. I am the mediator between the stone and the tools; the stone and the viewer. I visualize what the stone wants to become and I strive to help it blossom.”
Cliff Fragua (sculptor) http://www.singingstonestudio.com/

"My challenge is to master unique compositions of spiritual significance. I desire to visually engross the viewer through powerful expressive works. I paint from an intuitive point of view. During this process the ‘spirits take possession’ and a ritual theme becomes dominant.”
Bernard Stanley Hoyes (painter) http://www.bernardhoyes.com/

“I write because life is awesome, because it holds beauty, and at the edge of beauty, a sense of terror. It calls me to risk opening my eyes, to look into the glare. It is an act of faith, for not only must I look into the light, I must look into the dark.”
Jean Janzen (poet) http://www.lineonline.org/JJpoem.html

“We have the power and the responsibility to shape new forms in the landscape, physical and spatial forms that will sustain and nourish, and poetically express that all-important intangible, the human condition at its spiritual best.”
Fay Jones (architect) http://www.fayjones.org/

“For me, both art and spirituality are truly about tending to the moments of life. Listening deeply, holding space, encountering the sacred, touching eternity. For a moment we touch time beyond time and in that quality of presence my heart grows wider, my imagination frees, my breath catches, and I am held in awe and wonder. We know we have touched this moment when we are moved by something beyond us yet also rising from deep within. We may be moved to tears or to laughter, or maybe both. In these moments the particulars of the world open us up to a great expanse. We suddenly see the other world hidden in the heart of this one. We may not know exactly why or how, but we know we have been touched and gently transformed, invited into greater compassion for ourselves and the world. In these moments words fail me and I want to sing and dance and cry poems from the center of my being. I try to capture them in images as a doorway to the next moment.”
Christine Valters Paintner (photographer)

“My work in fiber arts reflects the constant changes I experience in my personal and spiritual life. I use my work to explore the forces of nature and the mysteries of the soul.”
Doshi (fiber artist) http://www.doshifiberart.com/

“In my work I explore the relationship between violent destructive impulses in the world and the power of spirituality to overcome them. There is a delicate balance between the natural forces, human impulse (destructive and constructive), and an underlying spiritual presence in the world which assists in turning destructive aspects of our behavior into peaceful ones, the outcome being beauty and harmony. This struggle is manifested and presented in its final form in the finished piece of art work. In this way, each piece that I make, whether it is a sculpture, painting or drawing on wood, is a result of this process.”
Tanya Bell (sculptor & mixed media)

Tuesday, October 2, 2007

Creativity & Spirituality

This is a revision of a commentary piece originally printed in the January 2006 issue of Artist Quarterly, the Alabama, Arkansas, Louisiana, & Mississippi Regional e-mail newsletter of SAQA
(Studio Art Quilt Associates)

The journey is begun…

How many times have you been to an exhibit and simply moved from one piece to another without feeling anything. When viewing a work of “art” that does not move you in any way, is it because it seems to have been created passionless, without feeling or meaning, without “soul”??? Is the presence or absence of a sense of spirituality important? Is or is not the creation of a dialogue or the eliciting of emotion or some type of reaction or response from the viewer an essential ingredient in whether or not the work is truly art? In other words what, if any, is the relationship between creativity and spirituality?

What exactly is creativity? There must be at least 6 zillion definitions – just do a search on Google and see how many “hits” are returned (91,000,000 the last time I checked). I personally find it most useful to primarily think of creativity as being the process through which an inner vision becomes translated into an external reality (e.g., producing a work of art, rearranging furniture, tinkering with a recipe – these are all activities through which creativity finds expression).

Funded by a $40,000 grant, nine women (including myself) began in September, 2005 a two-year exploration which took us deep into examination of the interrelationship(s) between creativity and spirituality; personally as well as generally. Half of this group was cleric, the rest of us were lay and together we represented seven faith traditions: Judaism, Islam, Unitarian-Universalism, Baptist, Methodist, Presbyterian and Episcopal.

For me personally, this exploration was truly “a journey” since at that time I was not yet completely comfortable with thinking of myself as a spiritual being. I had, in fact, always considered myself to be one of the least spiritual people around since dogma, rituals, highly structured and formalized religious services had long been anathema to me. So I was always somewhat “taken up short” whenever someone commented about the spirituality of my art. And it was that “spirituality” which prompted the invitation to be extended for me to join this dynamic group of women to develop and submit the proposal for funding.

Comments about the spirituality of my art occurs frequently enough to make me have to stop and think – to reevaluate what is transpiring when I work; to ponder what drives me to create. I.e., to think deeply about what is the wellspring through which my creativity is funneled and expressed. It all related to what this group wanted to explore – the intersections, the connections, and the correlations between spirituality and creativity. Because clearly there was a lot more involved than just having the desire to create.

One task I set for myself over that two year period was to try and define from my own perspective just what the concept of “spirituality” means. I now clearly understand that for me, “spirituality” is a much broader concept than mere religious belief or commitment although it certainly can be the vehicle for the expression of one’s faith. I know that for me it has much to do with the awareness of and with having a sense of connection – with trying to figure out just how I connect with the universe. For me personally, spirituality is bound inexorably not only to my past as an individual, but also to my cultural heritage. It also is tied to the legacy, tangible as well as intangible, that I will one day leave behind.

Although there are color studies and abstracts among my work to which viewers are inexorably drawn, I believe it is in the narrative work that my spirituality becomes most evident. In musing about this, I have come to the conclusion this may be because when working within this particular genre, I am fully aware of my desire and of my need to communicate something that is coming deep from the depths of my being; from the inner core of my self. This is when I usually am trying to speak for those who have no voices or whose voices have been stilled because of death, fear, or terror; whose voices have been stilled because of their position of caste, class, and/or economic status; whose voices have been stilled because of the role played by race and racism in our society.

It is through this work that I am able to feel a direct connection with the universe, with something greater than myself, and find the ability to communicate and express these experiences, emotions, feelings. It is this work to which viewers appear to have the strongest response, most often positive; sometimes negative – but one way or another, they do respond.

While searching for resources about the creativity/spirituality connection, I visited the QuietSpaces website. On it I came across the following quote: “The important thing is to bring a conscious, ongoing awareness into your chosen activity, acknowledging that it forms a part of your spiritual path. This intent, this consciousness, helps to stabilize and deepen your experience.” I think that more than just a kernel of truth has been captured in these few words.

With my colleagues I embarked upon a search for understanding and to the best of my ability brought to it an open mind. Throughout the two-year period I found myself immersed in and confronted with (sometimes confounded by) many questions and issues that were not readily apparent to me when we began. The journey was difficult at times and joyous at others. It is impacting my work in both overt as well as in subtle dimensions. The journey has still only just begun.

Some questions to ponder:
  1. What is your personal definition of spirituality? Of creativity?
  2. What drives you to be creative? Is creativity equally pervasive throughout all facets of your life? Why or why not? How and to what extent do you think this has an impact on your art? Positive or negative?
  3. Does spirituality play a role in your creative life? If so, how – i.e., are you consciously aware of its presence during the conceptualization and/or execution of your art? If so, do you find this to be meaningful, and in what way(s)? If not, to what extent do you think this is significant or irrelevant?
  4. There are those who consider the process and/or expression of their creativity to be a spiritual practice in and of itself as a form of meditation and/or prayer. Do you?
  5. To what degree is your spirituality expressed through your art – in most or all of your work; in only some? If the latter, are there any aspects of your art in which you feel your spirituality is more readily apparent than in others (e.g., the subject matter, the genre, the medium, etc.)? Is it subtle or more openly expressed? Does it matter?
  6. Has there ever been a time in which you felt that you “lost or yielded control” of the work – that you were no longer the sole guide of the process or determinant of the product? If so, do you think that the final outcome was a more powerful or stronger work than it would have been if you had persisted in developing your original concept?
  7. How do your creativity and/or spirituality affect the way you view and/or interact with the world; how does it influence those areas of your life that exist beyond the boundaries of your studio?

Just for Fun - Paint Like Jackson Pollock

Two different websites provide you with the option to test your artistic painting skills - on a single canvas - http://www.jacksonpollock.org/ , or your masterpieces can be displayed on three canvases as if they were being shown in a gallery setting: http://www.ipollock.com/