Welcome to Timeless Rhythms Studio, online art journal! Look at some of my posted art (above), read my entries and feel free to comment on any part of the blog that interests you! Most of my art is available for purchase and I can also be commissioned for a variety of custom painting projects, from portraits to murals. Contact me here by leaving a comment on any post. I look forward to hearing from you in my Timeless Rhythms Studio, online art journal!

Thursday, February 26, 2009

How Did I Enjoy Them_ Should You Ask? And You Have!

I went to the opening performances of this year's PDX Jazz Fest 2009, on an auspicious Friday, February 13th, as a winner of our local NPR station_ KLCC's ticket give-away. I was thrilled to go and hear the music, and also because this year was a particularly top-flight jazz event!! I really wanted to go because PDX was host to one of only three WORLD-WIDE performances of the seventieth anniversary of Blue Note Records, who wisely chose to showcase their jazz artists in traveling/performing diplomacy of American music and culture. It feels good to support independent artists and those organizations whose roots are independent in their support of the variety of arts movement in our world.
For those who don't know, Blue Note Record's historical inception came out of a personal passion for jazz starting in Germany! (Check out the link.)
Gonzalo Rubalcaba's musical family background comes directly out of the height of Cuban Mambo/Jazz that really caught fire in this country during the 1940's! Some of Cuba's musical legends were regular guests in the family home where Gonzalo Rubalcaba grew up.
After hearing this concert, it is clear to my ears that he is a musician with jazz flowing in his veins; a solid performer in his own right and truly a noble opener for what was to come later that night!
I like to call the jazz performed by the humble Mr. Rubalcaba and his band, 'impressionistic abstraction.' For me, it is a musical encounter that allows the mind to soar on layers of color while the body rests in a rocking rhythmic understructure. Gonzalo Rubalcaba's piano virtuosity is playful in a thinking manner. Touching down on solid earth as it leaps freely back off again into an acrobatic, grooving, gliding air dance of color impressions! WOW! I will be looking for more of his solo and en groupe musical tracks and performances after this heady night of my very first exposure to jazz with Cuban roots, Rubalcaba-style!
After the performance, I chose to take home their CD titled, Avatar. I refer to Gonzalo Rubalcaba as humble because meeting him in the autograph line after his show, I found his demeanor very much the diplomat. I am still enjoying savoring the night's performance all the more, each time I turn my copy of Avatar on to listen again and again!

More commentary on the performance of Terence Blanchard and his band and the accompaniment of the Portland Jazz Symphony to come, as well as, my separate musical encounter with world renowned performer Evelyn Glennie, (not a BlueNote musician)... stay tuned!

Friday, February 13, 2009

Next week, it's this astonishing performer!

Eugene Symphony: Drum Roll Symphony

Thursday, February 19 at 8:00 pm

Presented by Eugene Symphony

Composer Jennifer Higdon returns with a West Coast premiere and her colorful Percussion Concerto played by magnetic audience favorite, Dame Evelyn Glennie.

PDX Jazz Festival starts tonight and I have an extra ticket!

The opening performances for this year's winter Portland Jazz Festival are, Gonzalo Rubalcaba performing Cuban Jazz piano:


Terence Blanchard, performing his Requiem for Katrina! Here is an excerpt:

Mid-week, I won two tickets to see this performance. I will arrive a little past the start time as I work earlier tonight. Yet this represents the beginning of a new life for me so, I am going no matter what! And, I would love to have a second person join me in this top flight experience this evening.

Seriously if you can attend and would like to join me with my extra ticket tonight, make contact here. QUICK!

Monday, February 9, 2009

Alright, ALL you artists_ SHAKE IT UP!!!

Today, I thought I was going to write about being so incredibly isolated by ignorance and resistance to know the truth about one's self and the world we each live in. About being the daughter of a parent who has always been mentally ill and never had the where-with-all to investigate this fact for and about her own self!
I thought I was going to bemoan living in a house of people, so resistant to knowing the broader world around them and to more openly sharing any differences at all that over time, sharing living space has begun to feel to me like being entombed alive! Yet instead, right now, what I believe I am recognizing is a greater call for me to outwardly express the compassion that is within me with a lot less fear. Even so, it isn't any easier to write than it is to put into action! I am shaking as I write this recognition.
Even in the recent past, I can attest to being totally uncoordinated about how to go about addressing this inner recognition_ but today is the first step to doing, being with and in life all differently. Differently, I do dare say for all of us human beings really!
I am an artist and I know that out of chaos comes creativity. As a human being I know I can come across as not being friendly-like in the soft and fuzzy ways of say, the mainstream mothering female archetype. My own daughter grew up saying, "I am the only one who knows how nice a person you are!" Call it the successful conditioning of fear. I am still a social geek even after all the years of therapy. Twenty years ago, I needed what crazily turned into too much social isolation, to start this big work in my own life in order to feel safe within from the former terrors that were childhood_ he-e-e-y!
To this day my sibs seem to only remain emotional enemies; resistant to mutually clearing up mis-defined family "reality" that only continues sadly instead, to be fierce. Pride dies hard, hard, hard.
Yet, even as I have hooked your curiosity to the universal commonality in my story_ I turn instead, because it is more important, to walk out onto this US socio-economic landscape to testify. I believe that in the bigger picture of life, my social return to community is timed right! My child is doing a fine job in the world even though there were many time that I was treated as though kids raise themselves! You know, grow up in a vacuum for crying outloud! Afford your own sense of recognition is really where we are going...

The real point in writing today then is about:

I - M - A - G - I - N - A - T - I - O - N!

I know my fair share about imagination and how to continuously use it well, as my life has been nothing short of endurance (like the races) without the support of commonality from family and friends for over twenty years now! As a result, I offer a sensitivity that allows me to see how soft many folks have become; how much the mind/intellect has been allowed to run rough-shod over "reality." Reality, you do know this one too when you let yourself! It's the stuff that shows up at the front door of your life without an appointment. Life, not appointment calendars filling up the years of living. No! No! This is not a cliché! In the big picture, I am pointing to TRUSTING your own self to be good enough to be loved, that you are already loving and that we each really are loveable.

In this economic fallout right here in the good old U.S of A., love really is the heart of the matter now! So, I am talking to everyone like the artist. Don't walk away, don't even steal this idea. Let your vanity retire from believing it is in charge. Really, now is the time to self-examine_ not to be targeted but to truly, undeniably hear our own individual and collective truths.

One truth being: we have more in common with one another than not! One of the great truths that has been run over and left for dead on our community and national social highways. MORE in common WITH one another, THAN NOT!
For example, we all really do have more of our basic humanity in common with the mentally ill, the socially ignorant_ plainly, plainly, plainly then, there is more to learn from one another. MORE to observe, taking sentimentality out of observing as much as possible_ only, as much as possible. Sometimes it is simply not possible_ this is part of what makes us human. We are connected... we are connected. We are all connected. No one is left out. No one. Can you really hear this yet?
Artists of all stripes, are you hearing me?! Right this minute I am saying: speak to your truth. Stand naked in this world! Lift everyone up by your commitments to truth, love and freedom. Make art that does not only sell, but rather art that also openly risks telling us again what our collective truths are, about love and freedom! We are a country of human beings who have the greatest opportunities to advance, to evolve in many, many spontaneous, subtle, nuanced, empowered ways! Speak to these truths_ NO MATTER WHO YOU ARE, OR WHAT YOUR CIRCUMSTANCES_ speak to your own capacity to speak in trust of your best possible self_ using the medium that you love best!
Weave our differences together now in new harmonies, in new color combinations, in more poetry, theatre, dance, sculpture, paintings, movies, books of risk! Do what the great predecessors of our industry left to us_ to show others what they resist doing for themselves: to see! To hear! To taste! Touch and be touched in self-respect and safety. Speak and be spoken to, in self-respect and safety! We all flourish like the flowers_ with enough sun, clean soil and flowing water. Dig deep within all you artists and show us this! In this land of the free we have been very free to whine and fight like the spoiled brats this nation has allowed itself to be portrayed by_ long enough!
The mentally ill have dignity. The socially ignorant have dignity_ there is human dignity in all; great capacity for polish, for development_ to embody our own possibility. Reread, "The Agony and the Ecstasy!" Remember Martha Graham’s great quote, about each doing one's own work in this world while we are each alive here?!

What does it take for us to be brave enough to know we are alive while we are here? Many will talk a blue streak about being alive but are nonetheless still asleep for one reason or another. Wake them gently. Ask, what does it take to reach each human being where they are? Put the ego to the side to navigate this set of creative considerations. Then who is actually left out of the call to consider how to respond? Artists show everyone how. Then each one can look inward and collaborate, to creatively speak to what human challenges are at hand in her and his own best ways_ together!

This is the time of artists of all stripes, all mediums and all considerations.

So, we believe that we do not have money in the same ways we are conditioned to believe in currencies of exchange_ create new conditions for transaction! Create new community currencies! New inter-community currencies! New national currencies!! Come on now, all you artists! Shake this up! Examine value! Examine self-value! Make people happy! Make the environment around you friendly. Lift families to feel safe. Let the children tell us what we are missing; what we are not paying enough attention to! All is NOT doom and gloom_ ask what are you agreeing to?!!! Choose! Choose! Choose! You are free to choose! You are free to slow down! Eat more homemade! Make more homemade! Share! Potluck! Visit! Consciously notice!
Ask yourself, ask each other what (you) are really doing? Really listen now. THIS IS truly more a time to relax_ to reconsider. This is a great time to back up and re-access what is working and what collectively and individually we can afford to shed now.
All of our young people need time and space. They are missing that and many do not even know this! Let them make mistakes in order to learn and develop their own creativity!! Let them have their own creative time and space to grow and develop! Remember having this kind of wealth?! Space and time.
No more isolation for anyone!! Shake it up! Mix it up! Talk! Dance! Make music! Move your body! Write! Tell us poems! Show us theatre! Show us movies! Be openly, self-respecting every step of the way! Reveal new ways of being non-reactively courageous in this life!! OF MOVING BEYOND REACTION CONSCIOUSLY.
For the truth in all this economic downturn is: there is a new paradigm of creativity in seeing, in thinking and in doing in this world that is upon us all.

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Kennedy Center Launches Initiative to Help Struggling Arts Groups

The Kennedy Center in Washington, D.C., has announced a new initiative designed to help nonprofit arts organizations that are struggling to stay afloat during the current recession, the Washington Post reports.

The program, Arts in Crisis: A Kennedy Center Initiative, is a high-tech support service through which arts administrators can have confidential discussions with the center's executive staff about issues such as shrinking income sources, fundraising, budgeting, marketing, the use of technology, and other areas pertinent to maintaining a vital performing arts organization in a troubled economy. Any nonprofit arts group may sign up to receive assistance, which will be provided via e-mail, phone, Web chats, and/or site visits. Arts in Crisis has received $500,000 in seed funding, mainly from board member Helen Lee Henderson and Miami businesswoman and philanthropist Adrienne Arsht.

Over the past eight years, the Kennedy Center has amassed a reservoir of information about how groups have managed both successes and failures, and the need for a central place to share this type of knowledge has been building. Indeed, organizations from almost every part of the country have reported belt-tightening measures or worse. The Baltimore Opera Company, for example, recently filed for bankruptcy, while the Seattle Repertory Theatre asked its staff to take two weeks of unpaid leave and the Orlando Ballet cut live music for its holiday performance of The Nutcracker.

"Organizations that have endowments have seen them cut by one-third," said Kennedy Center president Michael M. Kaiser, author of The Art of the Turnaround: Creating and Maintaining Healthy Arts Organizations. "In cities like Detroit that are so dependent on the auto industry, the money is gone. Foundations are forced to cut back, and individuals have seen their wealth reduced."

To Provide Planning Assistance From Kennedy Center President Michael M. Kaiser and Executive Staff.” Kennedy Center Press Release 2/03/09.

Trescott, Jacqueline. “Kennedy Center to Help Arts Programs in Economic Trouble.” Washington Post 2/03/09.

the Arts and Economic Stimulus

Information Regarding the Arts and Economic Stimulus

Victoria Hutter

January 29, 2009

There has been much public conversation recently regarding the role of the arts and culture industry in economic stimulus. Following is information that seeks to clarify this issue through two key points: that the arts and culture industry is a sector of the economy just like any other with workers who pay taxes, mortgages, rent and contribute in other ways to the economy; and that the National Endowment for the Arts is uniquely positioned to assist in job stimulation for that industry.

A statement on January 22 from then NEA Chairman Dana Gioia noted, "Arts organizations have been hit enormously hard by the current recession. They've seen their support drop from corporations, foundations, and municipalities. This infusion of funds will help sustain them, their staffs, and the artists they employ. We are hopeful that Congress and the new administration will support this important investment."

The arts and culture sector

A recent study released by the National Governors Association titled Arts & the Economy: Using Arts and Culture to Stimulate State Economic Development states, "Arts and culture are important to state economies. Arts and culture-related industries, also known as 'creative industries,' provide direct economic benefits to states and communities: They create jobs, attract investments, generate tax revenues, and stimulate local economies through tourism and consumer purchases."

As noted in the NEA study Artists in the Workforce (June 2008), there are two million trained, entrepreneurial working artists across the country who are assets to their communities. Representing 1.4 percent of the U.S. labor force, artists constitute a sizeable class of workers -- only slightly smaller than the total number of active-duty and reserve personnel in the U.S. military (2.2 million).

In addition to artists, there are many more arts administrators who manage arts institutions including office staff such as accountants and booking agents, production staff such as stage managers, and artistic staff such as ballet masters and artist managers.

According to research by Americans for the Arts, nonprofit arts organizations and their audiences generate $166.2 billion in economic activity every year, support 5.7 million jobs, and return nearly $30 billion in government revenue every year. Every $1 billion in spending by nonprofit arts and culture organizations and their audiences results in almost 70,000 full time jobs.

The National Endowment for the Arts

The NEA has in place processes to distribute federal funds quickly and effectively to organizations large and small in every Congressional district. The NEA's grant-making process of applications, panels, and grants distributes money to arts and culture organizations in six to nine months both through state governments and directly to the organizations themselves.

A review of NEA grants for FY 2008 revealed that for every $10,000 of grant money, 162 artists benefited. This number does not include the arts administrators involved in these projects as mentioned above.

Of the 884 grants approved in the NEA's October 2008 National Council on the Arts meeting, project costs totaled $403.8 million of which 22 percent was designated for salaries. Of the $53 million requested in those 884 grants, the NEA was able to fund more than $20 million or 38 percent.

The NEA has strong relationships with grantees and other institutions in the nonprofit arts field that can facilitate funds distribution. And finally, the projects the NEA supports aren't subject to hearings or studies at the front end that might delay the start of a project and don't put entitlements in place after a project is completed.

Examples from the arts and culture sector

Nonprofit arts organizations have been struck particularly hard in this economic downturn due to their reliance on both private and public, earned and donated monies to support their activities. Some examples of the impact of the economic crisis on arts organizations follow.

* The Los Angeles Opera said today that it had laid off 17 employees, or approximately 17% of its staff. It has also mandated a pay cut for all employees, averaging 6% but with higher-paid staffers taking an 8% cut. (source: Los Angeles Times, 1/27/09)
* The Milwaukee Shakespeare Theater Company, a high profile regional nonprofit theater closed down operations in October. (source: report from the field)
* The Seattle Art Museum has cut back five percent of its staff and is facing a $3.8 million annual shortfall if it can't find a new tenant for the space Washington Mutual had been leasing from it. (source: Seattle Post-Intelligencer, 1/25/09)

Reports referred to above are available online:

Artists in the Workforce

Arts & the Economy: Using Arts and Culture to Stimulate State Economic Development (pdf)