Sunday, December 31, 2006

Calgon Take Me Away!

I am locked in a surreal experience and I can't get out. Mother is here. I am frightened. Sitting at the kitchen table, I suddely felt like I was inside her. I was sitting like her, breathing like her, smoking in the stame style and overthinking everything. She is hard of hearing which is starting to anger me. She refuses to get a hearing aid. She insults me in championship passive agressive mode. "You're not letting your hair grow long again, are you?" She tells my kids stories of the awful and embarrassing things I did as a child, never anything positive. She won't dial long distance from my phone because she insists she has calling cards with thousands of minutes, but can't remember the calling card numbers. They are at home in RI for safe keeping . . . Mother has been here since December 27.

However, there is hope. She carries 4 different wallets. I have one. She stashes money all over her purse. I keep mine in one place. She cuts everything out of the newspaper. I have never done this. She carries 3 years worth of calendars because she needs to keep the phone numbers she wrote in them. I have one calendar and a cell phone with all the numbers.

Calgon, please take me away. She leaves Wednesday morning.

Friday, December 29, 2006

Note To Self

Pay close attention. Mother is visiting. Reality checks are real.

Tuesday, December 26, 2006

A Christmas Miracle

Well, Christmas day was flawless with no tiffs, nothing broken, no gift disappointments, no political arguments . . . the food was plentiful and delicious, lots of sentimental background music, etc. Thank you to fate, karma, God, destiny and anyone else who had anything to do with making the day a smooth one.

We did have a Christmas miracle. For months, the oven hasn't been working properly, never reaching temperature and shutting itself off. On Thursday we called an appliance repair person in. Bob had already taken it apart (wall gas oven installed in the 70s) and the repair guy poked around and said it was the igniter and it wasn't worth replacing in this old oven. He charged us $70 and wished us Happy Holidays. Bob put it back together and turned it on. In five minutes it reached 400 degrees - so I quickly whipped up a batch of cookies and they baked beautifully. Since then, the oven has continued to work as it has never worked before. A Christmas Miracle. Apparently miracles aren't free anymore, but $70 was absolutely worth it!

Thursday, December 21, 2006

It's Beginning to Look A Lot Like Christmas

Back on track for the holiday thing. The house now looks like Woolworth's Christmas Department, as it does each year. The shortbread is baked, the jumble cookies are done, the house is clean (thanks, Bob and Ariel!), the dog is groomed, the greens are entwined, the credit card is maxed out and the scented candles are lit . . .

I'm going to interview in Birmingham in the first week of January. Yaaa Hooo! Sabbatical, here I come.

Sunday, December 17, 2006

Christmas Paradigm Shift

I have been thinking about writing letters this Christmas to the people in my family whom I can't afford to give commercial presents to. Not the creepy family update kind, but the "I'm happy you are in my circle of life" kind. Memories, thoughts, hopes and such. I'll probably continue to give away my art work too. It's all I have to give at this point.

From the bottom of my twisted, aching little heart I know I need a life change of some kind very soon. I know it is coming . . . and I want to think that I will see the shooting star across the sky telling me I'm still connected to the positive flow. That the change will be a healing and prosperous one. Don't we all hope we'll recognize "the sign" or "the message" when it presents itself . . . However, my walk through the fire tells me it can't possibly be that easy for me. I need to rise up, make different choices, re-visit my "poverty thinking" as VT said and take on the challenge of the journey.

Right . . . I'll get back to you on this.

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

Walking Through the Fire

Okay, here's the list: the front of the dryer fell off, the telephone is dying, verizon stopped working altogether which caused 3 days of no e-mail, (bill is paid, 4 days of phone tech support didn't resolve it), we had to switch to Comcast, the vcr won't play my favorite Christmas movie, I had to charge personal hygeine products on my credit card, my contract job at CCAC is in schedule nightmare mode with unprepped teachers, Dane's paycheck is in Louisiana instead of Wilmington (no direct deposit available) and Bob just wrote $700 worth of checks against it, I am an inch shorter than I was last year, and the beat goes on . . . I can feel the flames getting higher. I'm walking with my shoes melted and the end of the fire isn't in sight yet. I used to be a member of the haves. What the hell . . . ? Yes, it is time to keep walking.

Wednesday, December 06, 2006


As you know, I have been struggling over the state of affairs within the household . . and thinking of my new job opportunities as a way out. Thinking that I can't deal with Bob's depression anothr day. But things happen. Yesterday, Ariel was so sick with a fever and stomach issues - probably a reaction to the eye drops at the Dr.'s office. There I was, worried and taking care of her, being Mom. No one else was there to deliver cool washcloths, crackers, ginger ale and backrubs. A most important job opportunity. I have been struggling with this whole life mess, wanting to go away. I've done it before, and it was the wrong thing to do. The kids were still young and needed me. I know Bob doesn't, but my children are my children, no matter how old they are. What if I hadn't been here?

Then the following daily horoscope appeared . . . and of course made me ask if my pursuit of a career job in another state is really how I want to "present myself to the world." At the core: the everyday actions (my segregation from family/household/Bob). The truth: my part as Mom/caring person in the household needs to be as important as my carer pursuit. Maybe it's not time to move away. . . maybe I'm no closer to knowing what I should be doing . . . maybe the daily horoscope is just confusing me. It said "Your most intimate partner and your most feared enemy can both be an honest reflection of who you are. This may not concern any single specific issue, but could rather be about how you present yourself to the outer world through your everyday actions. Be as open to the truth as you can, for the clarity you gain can be crucial to what you do next." So, who is it that will deliver the truth? My kids? A job recruiter? A fortune cookie?

Tuesday, December 05, 2006

Ohhhh, Christmas!

I am in limbo, purgatory, middle of the road weirdness. I know Christmas is coming and I've watched my favorite movie twice already, but I'm just not feeling it. We may not get a Christmas Tree this year, since we won't have presents to put under it. If I had a full-time job and spent the day interacting with people, I think I'd feel differently. I'm not sure going into preschool classrooms next week (if it happens) is going to do it for me either, but at least I'll be out in the world. I think I set a new record spending three consecutive days in my pajamas researching preschool art on the web with Turner Classic Movies in the background. Bob has been vaccuming for 4 days now . . . my mother is visiting December 26 and staying until January 3. My studio needs cleaning. Need to look deeper inside, or outward, for some motivation to stay engaged with daily life.

Monday, December 04, 2006

Turning Tides?

Maybe the tides are finally turning! I got a call yesterday from the recruiter for the position at Peabody Essex Museum . . . Praise the arts Gods! I think it went very well for a preliminary screening phone call. We had some connections - she used to live in Providence! This is the museum whose Director of Education left for the San Diego Museum of Art, where Maxine Gaiber left as Director of Education to be Executive Director of the DCCA. I just finished working with Maxine. So, to complete this circle, I should be hired for this position. Indeed. Can we all agree on this? Please?

P.S. Mentoring did NOT begin this week due to a complication in site schedules.

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Let the Mentoring Begin!

Tomorrow morning the team meets to get the mentoring schedule up and running. I am hoping all the prep work is done, and all I have to do is appear on the day and time I'm scheduled for so I can focus on the task at hand. I have done one classroom observation which has helped me tune in to the preschool culture. I have to admit I was drawn to the table when the playdough came out - and I joined in. The only tools they had were rolling pin and cookie cutters. They were thinking in two dimensions only. So, I made a dog and a dog bowl and little kibbles. We passed the dog around and everyone made him some food, and some new little bowls. Fun. Simple. This makes me think that the kids need actual art teacher experiences as well as the classroom teacher being trained to integrate visual arts into the literacy activities. I'll have to think more about that . . .

Saturday, November 25, 2006

Yes, I'm Not Bilingual

Can I tell you how many interesting jobs have being bilingual as a requirement? All of a sudden I have a huge skill deficit with no hope of fixing it. . . This appears to me as a form of discrimination. I understand that it is a vital need in today's world to communicate with as many segments of the population as possible, but it seems to me that it limits the candidate pool and excludes people who are totally qualified for the position. Although it's rarely stated in job postings, I'm assuming they mean Spanish bilingual. I had 5 years of french . . . Life is just toooooooooo complicated.

Thursday, November 23, 2006

Thanksgiving Day

It is 2pm and the turkey should be done at 3. Everything else is done, table is set, cocktails are in progress. . . if I could just reduce Bob's childhood expectations, it will be a great day here in family purgatory. Yikes. His parents are due any moment, and I'm going to get chastised for being on the computer when they arrive. Same thing every year. Sabbatical. I'm thinking sabbatical. . .

Sent my resume and cover letter via email for the Director of Education position at the Peabody Essex Museum last night. I'm thinking a birthday day submission is a good thing. The museum world is a small one. The person who left Peabody Essex took the position at San Diego Museum of Art that Maxine Gaiber vacated to come to DCCA! Having just finished working with her yet maintaining that relationship completes the circle. This job is mine, right? Right. Happy Turkey Day!!!

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

What To Do . . .

What to do
What to do
I've got a nickel in my shoe.

Superstitions. Something about putting money in your shoe to experience the pain and hard work of making money, will bring you more. . . I have no idea why this little poem appeared. Yes I do. It is because I got as far as the hiring office today and discovered I couldn't even land a holiday job there because I can't walk and stand for 12 hours and lift 50 pounds. I was able to walk out. I turn 49 tomorrow and it's hittin' me on the head . . . just put me in a box right now.

Friday, November 17, 2006

New NEA Study - From Press Release Received Today

National Endowment for the Arts Releases Study on The Arts and Civic Engagement
Contact:Sally Gifford 202-682-5606
Large population survey is first to find links between arts participation and community health
November 1, 2006

Washington, D.C. -- People who participate in the arts are people who help make communities thrive, according to a study released today by the National Endowment for the Arts. The study, The Arts and Civic Engagement: Involved in Arts, Involved in Life, reveals that people who participate in the arts also engage in positive civic and individual activities -- such as volunteering, going to sporting events, and outdoor activities -- at significantly higher rates than non-arts participants. The report shatters the stereotype that art is an escapist or passive activity, showing instead that it is associated with a range of positive behaviors. The study also reveals that young adults (18-34) show a declining rate of arts participation and civic activities.

The study is the first to measure the connection between arts and civic engagement, which can be defined as promoting a positive quality of life through individual and group activities. This new examination of data is based on information from the 2002 NEA Survey of Public Participation in the Arts, which interviewed 17,135 adults ages 18 and older about their activities in a 12-month period. This latest report analyzes civic behaviors reported by arts participants and non-arts participants. Among the key findings:

Arts participants volunteer more. Literary readers and arts participants volunteer at more than twice the rate of those who do not read literature or participate in the arts. For example, half of all performing arts attendees volunteer or do charity work, compared with less than 20% of non-attendees. Those who read literature such as short stories, poems, or novels are almost three times as likely to volunteer as non-readers.

Arts fans are sports fans. Contrary to popular belief, the people who go to theater and concerts are also comfortable showing team spirit at the sports stadium or neighborhood soccer field. People who attend performing arts attend sporting events at twice the rate of non-attendees, and arts participants are also more likely than non-arts participants to play sports.

Arts participants enjoy the great outdoors. Literary readers and arts participants engage in outdoor activities, such as camping, hiking, or canoeing, at double the rate of non-arts participants. They also exercise at nearly twice the rate of non-readers and non-participants.

Young adults are less involved in civic life. Over a 20-year period, young adults are reading less literature, attending fewer arts performances, and even listening to less jazz and classical radio. Young adults also are less involved in sports and exercise, and volunteer rates were flat. Over a similar 20-year timeframe, obesity among young adults grew by roughly 10 percentage points (source: National Center for Health Statistics, Health United States, 2004).

"Healthy communities depend on active and involved citizens," said NEA Chairman Dana Gioia. "The arts play an irreplaceable role in producing both those citizens and those communities."
The study shows that arts participants and readers lead more active lifestyles than commonly is perceived, that they contribute substantial social capital to their communities through high levels of charity works and participation in sports and outdoor activities. Further, the study demonstrates that arts participation can be seen as an indicator of civic and community health. Finally, the study reveals that young adults may be particularly susceptible to giving up both artistic and civic activities.

The NEA Research Division issues periodic research reports and briefs on significant topics affecting artists and arts organizations. The Arts and Civic Engagement report, along with the 2002 Survey of Public Participation in the Arts, is available in print and electronic form in the
Publications section of the NEA website.

About the National Endowment for the Arts
The NEA is a public agency dedicated to supporting excellence in the arts – both new and established – bringing the arts to all Americans, and providing leadership in arts education. Established by Congress in 1965 as an independent agency of the federal government, the Arts Endowment is the largest national funder of the arts, bringing great art to all 50 states, including rural areas, inner cities, and military bases. For more information, please visit

Thursday, November 16, 2006

Flamingo Sadness

As noted in a recent article in the Pawtucket Times, (thanks, Mom) Plastic Pink Flamingos are dead at 49. Union Products of Leominster, Massachusetts is now closed. The sale of the molds is in negotiation with two American companies, and one Candian company. Should I be worried about the three pink boys guarding my front steps? Will someone steal them for ransom money? What if the price of Plastic Pink Flamingos goes up so high on Ebay that only the rich can afford them? Another cultural icon born in the blue collar world adopted by the upper eschelon. . . ? Add this to the remember when column. Check out the video "The Pink Plastic Flamingo, The Ambassador of the American Lawn" - Change is everywhere.

Sunday, November 12, 2006

Ladies Who Lunch

I could easily become one of these . . . there is so much to be learned by sitting with food and drink, actually focusing on what a person has to say. I consider myself a good listener. Had lunch with Maureen Milford on Friday. Hurray for Bennigan's Baked Potato Soup. Trying to connect with new people with the intention of generating job leads. No response from Kalmay Nyckel or DCAD. Courtesy of basic response in the job application game is dead, apparently. Just a postcard to say "Sorry, no" would be helpful. Have been mulling over the possibility of Birmingham and what it would mean to the household. Assuming I would make enough of a salary to send money home . . . I rather like the idea of taking a sabbatical from the household. Applied online for a program assistant position at The Providence Plan and a program something at Wolf Trap Foundation in Virginia. Still thinking about New England and being closer to family and roots. No word from Judith Cizek and the U of D position she's waiting for. Prepping for another teacher training at CCAC tomorrow. Monday morning visual arts. Onward and upward.

Thursday, November 09, 2006

What . . . Me?

Spent today at DCCA (two-day gig) on a B2BW follow-up project. Will finish tomorrow afternoon. Cell phone rang . . . a recruiter from Birmingham, Alabama . . . found my resume on the net . . . Development Director position open at Birmingham Museum of Art . . . got up off the floor . . . yes, I'm interested . . . top tier recruiter calls me back an hour later . . . tells me there may be a Curator of Education position open as well . . . which one would I be more interested in . . . got up off the floor again . . . tells me to call him back tomorrow and he'll have an answer for me to confirm the availability of the education position. Quite possibly having hallucinations. Whoa. Do you really mean me??? Did the research tonight. Yes, it is the largest regional art museum in the southeast with amazing education programs in place (staff of 16 educators!) and what seems to be well-established and well-managed endowments. Director of Development has moved up to Deputy Director - smooooth transition possible. . . Lower cost of living than Delaware, bars that are open until 6am, lots of festivals and galleries, 4 universities in the area and . . . jeez, it's a real city with 2 bedroom apartments under $1,000! Later: Julie Van Blarcom comes in to pick up an art auction purchase. Chatted. Told her how much I loved working with Maxine and would love to come on board as her assistant. Julie asked me if Maxine is the only director I'd want to assist . . . Ummmm, well, no! Said to send her my resume and she'd send it around. . . Later: Kim Graham from CCAC calls to answer all my questions about the current PNC project we're doing together. Confirmed as a contractor, paid every two weeks, etc.

Did the planets realign? Is it the Democratic shift? Have I finished walking through the fire? Life is terribly mysterious.

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

Head First

Plunging head first into a Head Start classroom tomorrow morning for an observation . . . can't wait to see those fours steeped in learning. I suspect it will be inspirational and give me a reality check on future lesson plans as well. Although I still feel fragmented about this project the unknown is something I am learning to live with. As VT tells me, move through it. As MG told me, ask for a contract. As I've told myself, I need the paycheck. So, there you have it.

Monday, November 06, 2006

Janis Called

Janis Tomlinson from U of DE Museums just called for the reference for Judith Cizek, a candidate for the Curator/Exhibitions position. I hope with all my might that Judith lands this position. She is one of my colleagues from the 2004 DAM mess, and we've all had difficutly integrating back into the field since then. Landing this position feels like success for all of us.

Friday, November 03, 2006

Book Festival Tomorrow!

I may venture out to the Book Festival in Dover tomorrow. There is so much hidden activity in Delaware; so many arts events and I feel like it's all happening without me. Disengaged once again. It has been a rough week working on my lesson plans (due and submitted today!) without any official feedback from the last training session. I put way more than 10 hours in on research and writing. I probably shouldn't have. I'm trying to find out if I need to submit a time sheet or do I get paid automatically for 10 hours each week no matter what our activity is. As messy as my desk always seems to be, I am a planner and a details person, and I'm wrestling with myself about the process of this project. For now, I'm just trying to "get over it and move on" as I once had a supervisor tell me. . . On the other hand, I had a blast in the children's section at the library, and reading through the three new books about kids and art that my amazing and generous daughter bought me for my birthday. I am also very excited about the classroom observtion Paulette is setting up for me. I can't wait to see little ones in action.

Personally, I am dreading the holidays and the sadness that is already overtaking me. I'm starting to cry during shows on the food channel about Thanksgiving . . . this is not a good sign. On the good news side, Judith Cizek (curator slashed from DAM in 2004) interviewed at U of DE for the Curator/Exhibition Designer position, and they are checking her references! I am one of them, and gosh, the entire universe knows she deserves to land this job. We've exchanged a lot of thoughts during the past 2 years, and she thinks I bounced back better than she did. . . I am just a lot better at counseling other people than counseling myself. I think I'm at the point where I just need to find another career, like cashiering at a gas station. I can't obliterate the sadness.

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

Lessons and More Lessons

Spent the day working on lesson plans for the PNC Grant at CCAC. Ten lesson plans due on November 3. The 4 that I've done may be too extensive, so my goal is to do 2 of the remaining 6 on a more superficial level. After all, how much can a 4-year old do in 20 minutes?? Some of them are 4-6 session lessons, so I'll be offering a wide range of experiences to the teachers. I sent 2 to Kim for feedback, but discovered today that she is in Ghana. I knew she was going, but I didn't know the dates. (communication, communication, communication) So, I won't get feedback, or a sample lesson plan from last year's project. Why do I feel like I'm expecting too much? Um, because I probably am. I have a tendecy to overwork, being the workaholic that I am. As a good friend pointed out to me, my perception of things is different from that of a lot of other people . . . That's certainly something to consider working on, isn't it?!

Hopefully, I have a classroom observation coming up next week, which I believe will help. I would like to ask for some sample lesson plans from the teachers, but I'm not sure if that is invasive or feeling more like a policing thing. Will take it slow. Got my first paycheck from CCAC today which is lovely, but not enough. . . Are there more lessons in this for me than there are for the pre-school teachers? Hmmmm . . .

Did I mention that I believe in Santa, Fairy God Mothers and winning the power ball?

Monday, October 30, 2006

What Do Our Elected Officials Think About the Arts?

As you head for the polls, consider where your elected officials stand on support for the arts. Do they believe that all students need the arts as part of well rounded education? Do they understand that the arts are a vital part of an active community and commerce? Find out! Take a look at the CONGRESSIONAL REPORT CARD IN THE ARTS The Americans for the Arts Action Fund PAC issued a Congressional Arts Report Card saying 41 House Members received the highest possible grade (A+), a 24% increase over the 2004 Report Card.

Sunday, October 29, 2006

Health Insurance Hell

I WANT A REAL FULL TIME JOB WITH BENEFITS AND I WANT IT NOW! SCREW THE ISSUE OF MY NOT HAVING A DEGRE - I HAVE MORE EXPERIENCE AND SAVVY THAN 6 CHEAP-SALARY RECENT GRAD 20 SOMETHINGS AND I COULD BURN THE DELAWARE ART MUSEUM BOARD OF DIRECTORS' BUTTS IN A HEARTBEAT AS I STAND AT THE GATES OF HELL WELCOMING THEM. Do you know what it's like to be hacked from the job you've been on a path for a lifetime to acheive?? My life hasn't been the same since 2004, on many levels, and I've done an ace job at dealing with it for two years, and now I'm getting ready to live under the railroad bridge downtown Wilmington because of the DAM board's reactive decision and the work of a sewer harpie who had physical ties to the queen of all board members from hell who granted said sewer harpie's wish to get rid of everyone who was smarter than her. (Note: she and her minions are now gone from DAM - someone at the top figured out what the dripping blood from her evil mouth was about.)

I've been trying to hold off on this one, as it lives in me as a tirade full of nasty words . . . but I'm approaching the danger zone. I had health insurance at DCCA from December 1 of last year until October 8th. During this time I was able to get my arthritis diagnosis nailed down, and found a pain medication combination that could get me through each day. Love thos Ibuprofen Horse Pills. Tramadol (generic version, of course) is often for sports injuries, but it worked nicely for me. So, just when all was under control and the blood tests and xrays and bone scans were over, and I was able to walk, stand and sit with the rest of the world, I'm back on the street. No meds. I tried to get a three-month refill but that was a disaster. Thanks to Blue Cross and Walgreens not speaking to each other about what they actuall cover. Arrrggghhhh. Thank God for the kind folks at Claymonth Health Clinic. They will see me and try to fix me up. They only see people without health insurance, and try to match the meds I am on with what they have on hand. If they can't, it would be the full price option prescription, which I can't do . . . Maybe it's time to read that book When Bad Things Happen to Good People.

Saturday, October 28, 2006

Second String

Applied yesterday at Village Green for a temp holiday decorating program associate staff gig. Too late. Already hired what he needs, but will put me in the pool of second string in case the first string develops a gap. There's some holiday irony for you - being in the second string of holiday lights . . . ! My bad - as it took me two weeks to decide to apply. Perhaps I was internally full of angst about possibly having to lift a 50 pound box of glass ornaments . . . anyway, onward and upward.

Looking ahead, this could be the most dismal and depressing holday season our family has ever had. I feel like the little match girl on a Dickensian corner.

Friday, October 27, 2006

The Next Step

Just about ready to take that next step away from the crossroads I've been stuck at, taking stock in the future of my career and family. I decided to go ahead and apply for 2 positions: Deputy Director of Education at the Baltimore Museum of Art, and the Executive Director at the Kalmar Nyckel Foundation. In a way, I feel like this is my last attempt to acquire another permanent full time with benefits job in the arts. This makes me sad, and my heart is aching for the way things are these days. At 48, I am aging out of the arts job market quickly. And withoug an advanced degree, I can barely compete with young graduates who know nothing but will work for a salary in the low 20s to get their foot into the field. Then there is the War. Lack of good, long term blue collar jobs, not enough money to feed and house families, women having babies for the wrong reasons . . . the fabric of society is just about torn apart. Who needs the arts any more when there is so much else to occupy daily survival? Yet, the people who do make the arts part of their lives are so much, well, nicer and smarter people. The financial barriers to making the arts part of daily life are astounding to me. The cost of a ticket to the theatre, dance lessons for kids, admission to a concert . . . it is indeed a certain segment that can afford it. I am no longer one of them, which is very sad. However, I predict a turn around coming: one of the only ways to attract a wider audience these days - make it free. Baltimore Museum of Art just made admission free after many years. The Delaware Art Museum was a more active honest place when admission was free. But unless funders fall in line with the concept of arts for as many people as possible, free doesn't seem viable. More on funding another time.

In the meantime, I am applying for a seasonal temporary position with a holiday decorating company. It will probably pay $8 an hour, but we need the money to prevent crash and burn. I can't help but keep coming back to the fact that being hacked from the staff at the Delaware Art Museum in 2004 is the cause of my feeling paralyzed and worthless. It changed my life drastically, at all levels. God, life can be ugly. Maybe all the sparkling lights will help me rise above the sadness.

Sunday, October 22, 2006

A Wish

I wish I was a millionaire so I could make sizeable contributions to arts organizations' general operating funds. There is so much need. CCAC's building is a good example. It is such an active place, and so used. It is obvious they don't have funding to keep it up: painted, cleaned, etc. The arts environment is so important. Along with this is the quality of materials used in education programs. It is so sad to see an arts organization not be able to use color in their materials, or to have to scrimp on something that is core to what you do. I'm not sure where I'm going with this, but I do suspect I will not be reimbursed for the color copies I made for my teacher training last week. I will submit my receipts and ask for half reimbursement, and see what happens. We meet tomorrow to do the debriefing of the two-day training, and plan for the next one in November. Hope to hear about some mentoring dates too.

Friday, October 20, 2006


I'm taking it all back about the learning curve on the CCAC project. I have truckloads to learn before I can effectively communicate with these preschool teachers. I haven't yet discovered what is at the core of what they do, in their heart, or their head. So far, their love for kids or passion for teaching hasn't shined through. That's what I thought I'd see, along with their desire to discover. Haven't seen that either. There are qualities in them that I'm not seeing yet. I need to find a different way to look and listen. I asked to be schedule to do some classroom oberservation before the training which happened yesterday and today, but that didn't happen. I am totally surprised at how structured they are. I understand that their classroom time must be structured, but I assumed they would be able to look outside those boundaries. There is fear of losing control that I certainly understand, but infusing creativity into structure is going to be a challenge.

There are some differences in my work style and the structure of the project that I also need to talk about and work through. Monday at 3:00 is our debriefing meeting about the training and the project so far. I will work on putting my thoughts in order this weekend.

Wednesday, October 18, 2006


I haven't blogged in 9 days . . . Can't sleep tonight. I've been recovering from no longer being at DCCA, and missing the work and the people very much. Yes, change is hard. On the other hand, I experienced one of the first mornings that I didn't have to be anywhere. I slept late. In fact, I got up at 11am and went back down for a nap at 2pm. Got up for dinner and went back to bed. Apparently, sleep was part of my recovery. Lots of weird dreams during those sleeps, but that's another blog altogether. . . Terrific material for some short stories!

Working lots on my lesson plans and preparing for the Teacher Training on Thursday at Christina Cultural Arts Center. As a teaching artist (for the first time in my life, hired as such!) I'm feeling huge pressure, even though I know the material. The kink is taking it down to a preschool level. Ariel surprised me on Monday with a book about the art development of preschoolers! Coupled with the Creative Curriculum materials that CCAC uses, I think I'm now on track. I have way too many handouts, and haven't yet created the CD for my presentation. Down to serious work later today.

Monday, October 09, 2006

Moving On . . .

This was my last day at DCCA . . . They had a breakfast farewell gathering for me with cards, kind and generous words from Maxine and applause too. I was teary. It will be hard to imagine not being there everyday with my mates. I hope with all my passion that I left the DCCA a better place . . . there was so much to be done, and so many dedicated people trying to the work of a staff double the size. It was interesting at first, back in July 2005, when I arrived there with my DAM experience - which looked to some as "a new level of professionalism" and to others as "art snob." Assimilated into the collective rather quickly and found the passion for the place contagious. I thought it would be a quick stop between other jobs, doing develpoment research for a few months. Change works mysteriously though, doesn't it? Interim Development Director was a fabulous challenge, but I know it is not where my heart is. And I knew I was not what the board needed. Pat Leach, the new Development Director, will be fine. She's on track under Maxine's visionary guidance. I am sorry to leave the tutelage of Maxine. However, I think we may work together again in the future.

For now, there is a partnership brewing with DCCA and CCAC and the Alison Saar exhibition coming in the spring. There is potential for me there, teaching or facilitating or something . . . We shall see . . . Tomorrow, I rearrange my home office to being work on pre-school lesson plans!

Sunday, October 08, 2006


Got home from the event at 1:30, but had to wind down! Went to bed at 4:30am and slept until 6:00 pm! Had that feeling of excellent exhaustion.

Started out on Saturday at 10am doing more goperhering, then heading into the office to do the final work on the auction database including entering last minute ticket buyers then making signs, placing bid sheets in the Lux Auction, setting up the tickets check in area, etc. Crazy fun, but tension was high and egos were on the edge. People started arriving at 8pm and kept flowing all night.

It was a smashing success with about 400 people attending; half the art and luxury items were bid on (low percentage for this kind of auction) and sold, the alcohol was flowing, the energy was excellent, the band played Born To Be Wild, the outfits were fantastic - black T-shirs, jeans, leather - Wow. It was a killer helping pull it all together, but totally worth it. Lots of new patrons, a younger crowd attending, everyone happy. The number last night: $80,000 without ticket sales - I'll find out on Monday when I go in to clean my desk out. It looks like we may have actually reached our $100,000 goal!

Friday, October 06, 2006


My brain has been ripped open today by working on a glitch I discovered in the migration of the info from the online auction to the auction management software . . . However, the buzz and energy of the event is winning, and everyone was in relief mode at the end of the day. Got the Executive Director to hang the bid sheet and sharpen the pencils! A fun victory for the underlings! Everyone was on duty, and the place is ready for a hearty party. We expect 400 people~! Our financial goal is $100,000 - 10% of the annual budget. Jeeezzz. I am confident we will be darn close.

Sleeping late tomorrow. Party for me begins at 4pm to help with last minute details - guests arrive at 8pm. It's the place to be tomorrow night. "The Most Outstanding Party of the Social Season in Wilmington", as they say!

Thursday, October 05, 2006


Today was the successful migration of the information from the online auction. I'm thinking that I am on my way to becoming an Auction software guru, and I could create some consulting gigs managing non-profit auction fundraisers . . . I'm a visual/kinesthetic learner, but I love reading the manuals - weird. It's just such a rush when it works! Anyway, tomorrow is Friday, the bid sheets will be made, the signage completed, the luxury auction spiffed up, and the auction opens at 5pm = Art Loop Night. Saturday will be last minute details for me, like keeping the pencils in the auction sharpened. Love it that I went to college for that. I also have a Ph.D. in Color Copying.

Sunday is going to be a crashing let down day. Monday, I go clean out my desk : = (

Wednesday, October 04, 2006


Two days to go until the big event. Today was spent putting print materials together in addition to an office supply run for the auction and the preparation for the trip to the quick printers first thing tomorrow morning. Going for stuff on behalf of others, in this case the queen of the event = Gophering. The night of the event will be such a rush though, seeing the guests (350 or so) and the bids increasing in the auction and lots of congratualtions for everyone. Then we get to stay and clean up too. Gotta love non-profit life.

It will be sad to go in on Monday and clean out my desk. . .

Board vs Staff

Received news today from a friend who experienced the power Trustees wield in an organization. One small error, in the wrong place at the wrong time launched a larger than expected reaction . . . and it looks like she's on her way . . . It's a reality in the non-profit world that boards are granted enormous respect and exceptions to rules in exchange for excellent stewardship. Sometimes it doesn't seem fair and staff being told "we request that you find a new job" happens. It cuts deep. Reality hurts. You accept it or you don't. Can you fight it? Wrongful termination? You certainly could. HR strategy: Resignation over Termination. Pay the unemployment if necessary. Would I fight it? No. It's a universe that is reserved for the wealthy, connected and powerful who serve the organization at the top. What would you gain from the fight? "I have my pride." This concept line from the film The Women comes to mind. Personally, I would disappear the next day and consider it a lesson. But I'm not her. I haven't been slashed with the emotional knife that says Worthless To Us.

My heart is aching for my friend. But as an "emerging leader" in arts management, I know there are two sides here, and the well-being of the organization usually wins. The view from the studio today was a sad one.

Monday, October 02, 2006

Auction Art

I have two pieces in the art auction part of this big event. They weren't vetted as art, but as items in the luxury gift section, thanks to the founders' syndrome of the art acquisition folks. Being all about art education and access to art experiences for as many people as possible, I still get floored when art snobs make judgements, even though I totally understand their perspective. It is a constant discussion. My personal issue.

I also had a piece in another auction 2 weeks ago, and it received one bid. It was purchased by the same person who bought my piece last year! Does this mean I have a patron? :-)

The Week Ahead

Heading into the week - the last week - at my current job. I am part of the team producing the GIANT annual Art Auction, Party, Fundraiser Thing. Many details to take care of, many egos to take care of, myself to take care of . . . in the end it must make a truckload of money for the org. Critical, actually. 10% of the annual budget! Let's hope the museum gods are hovering that night. Countdown: 6 days to go.

Tuesday, I get the schedule for my new job! Teaching Artist. It's only taken me 28 years to get to the point of being hired as an artist. Truly a crossroads. Will be working with preschool teachers to help them integrate Visual Art into their curriculum. Mostly their language arts curriculum. Thank you for the grant to the org that made my new job possible.

Saturday, September 30, 2006

At a Crossroads

My arts career is changing . . . I'm at a crossroads, between jobs. It's been a challenging time, since 2004, when I lost my dream job. After hibernating for 3 months, I got up and running again, and landed a job thanks to that "it is who you know" theory of landing jobs. That job is now ending. It was an interim position, which I opted out of. More on that another time. . . Gone are the days of full-time with benefits jobs in the arts. If it's not an internship, it is a temporary grant funded position, project based. Many jobs in the arts are in transition towards internships. This saves money for the organization - no benefits, no sick days, no paid vacations - the work becomes a project which gets completed. Everybody moves on. Money saved. Funding issues. Yes, that will be a focal point from time to time in this blog. Funding changes the culture of the arts in a state.

That banner, above the Lion in the opening of MGM movies? It says Ars Gratia Artis. Art For Arts Sake.

You do know that Art For Arts Sake is dead, right?