Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Advice from a "sage". . . .

We have all just learned that Pete Seeger just passed away at age 94, after a long and interesting life. I was reading an interview he did with Sarah van Gelder for YES! Magazine/Spring 2008. He shared something with her that got me thinking about my desire to open my gallery in Sanger because I wanted to "connect" with my own community. Read one of Sarah's questions and Pete's response here:

Sarah: What’s your secret to getting children singing, getting people even at Carnegie Hall singing together, getting people to fall in love with their river and take care of it? Are there some things we can learn about why people choose to get involved?
Pete: Well, it’s been my belief that learning how to do something in your hometown is the most important thing. It’s not just me who thinks this. Margaret Mead said, “Never doubt that a small group of people can change the world, indeed it is the only thing that ever has.” And the great biologist RenĂ© Dubos said, “Think globally, act locally.” And E.F. Schumacher said “Small is beautiful.” And now Paul Hawken. All these people are saying the same thing.
If there’s a world here in a hundred years, it’s going to be saved by tens of millions of little things. The powers-that-be can break up any big thing they want. They can corrupt it or co-opt it from the inside, or they can attack it from the outside. But what are they going to do about 10 million little things? They break up two of them, and three more like them spring up!

The power of "little things", mentioned once again. When I opened my gallery in Sanger a little over two years ago, my goal was to do my art in a place where I could connect with my own town. This Friday, I am invited to a luncheon at the local Rotary Club where 20 people (10 men, 10 women) have had the honor of thanking their town of Sanger on the 125th anniversary of it's existence. I am honored to be one of those 20 people. I'll talk more about it after Friday, but, for now, I'm going to ponder Pete's statement that "It's been my belief that learning how to do something in your hometown is the most important thing" a bit longer and harder. . . . . 

"My Dad's Home Town"

Wednesday, January 8, 2014

Beginning of 2014--a call to artists and friends! I need 10 "Mixed Messengers!"

Here we are on the 8th day of 2014. The weather is gorgeous here in central California, rather un-winterlike. We desperately need rain and there is none in sight. I want it to stay mild but I know that it needs to rain.

I want to continue on the path that I've taken in my studio/gallery for the last 2 years, but I know that I need to do some different things to move forward. There is a difference between wants and needs and the challenge lies in satisfying what we want while providing for what we need.

I need to broaden my artistic reach and I want to enlist your help. I've thought of several ways to get more exposure and I'm starting to implement them. I'm going to be part of the 3rd Thursday Art Hop in Fresno on January 16th. I will be at the Vintage Market at 601 W. Shaw, at the intersection of Shaw and Wishon, between Palm and Maroa on the south side of Shaw. I will be starting to reconnect with the art scene in Fresno after a self-imposed period of time spent focusing on my gallery in Sanger.

Doing more events in Sanger and nearby will help me as will intensifying my advertising and social networking and blogging efforts. I am going to try really hard to blog every week the rest of 2014.

But what I am most excited about trying is to develop a group of supporters/friends/family/fellow artists and art lovers who I will call "Mixed Messengers". These "Mixed Messengers" will be my allies in helping me tell others about "Mixed Messages" ART, my gallery in Sanger, and about me as an artist.

I will attempt today to tell what being a "Mixed Messenger" will entail. To start off, each person who asks to be one will receive a small packet of items. The packet is a little folded "box" or cover with 3 different things inside.

The first item is a button that says 'I'm a "Mixed Messenger." You can be one, too! Ask me how!'

Each person who asks to be a Mixed Messenger wears his/her button or displays it as desired.

In the packet, there are also a dozen business cards, each different, made by Moo.com. Business cards can be handed out to people who like art and might like to visit Mixed Messages Art. If they bring a "Mixed Messenger" card (see below) into the gallery, they will receive 2 free greeting cards and so will the person who gave them the original business card and MM card.

The third item (just mentioned) is a dozen "Mixed Messenger" cards to be given out one at a time to prospective visitors to the gallery. So when someone is interested in knowing more about the gallery and/or the "process", button wearers give them 2 cards, 1 a business card and 1 a MM card. When the interested person goes to the gallery, he gets  2 free cards and so does the person who gave him the card. We will start with 10 button-wearing "Mixed Messengers" and expand from there. Packets can be refilled as needed so that cards can continue to be passed out.

Talk to me if you have questions and please let me know if you'd like to be one of the first "Mixed Messengers"! Once I have 10 volunteers "in place", we'll have a meeting to talk about ideas etc. and we'll celebrate the beginnings of the new year and some new ways to reach artists and art lovers.

Another idea that is ready to be implemented is a "Loyalty Card" plan.The cards pictured above will be handed out and punched or stamped when customers purchase greeting cards. For every 9 greeting cards purchased, they will receive one free!

I am looking forward to a new year, with it's share of new ideas and new friends and customers to "Mixed Messages" ART. And I am looking forward working with a dynamic group of "Mixed Messengers" ready to share the "I Love Art" message with others.