Art Bar: Part II

In a previous post I gushed about Art Bars never even having tasted one. Their concept of combining fair-trade chocolate bars and fine art seemed to be the perfect pairing.

Well, while I was in Los Angeles and visiting the gift shop at the Huntington Library I bought one: dark chocolate with coconut. Not only was the chocolate yummy, but the artwork inside was captivating: a miniature reproduction of an original sepia-toned silver gelatin print by Meg Birnbaum. The tiny little artwork also included a brief and well-appreciated interpretation.

Finally, a portion of the proceeds from Art Bars goes toward art education, including the International Child Art Foundation.

  • Interested in submitting your art work?

Image Ithaca Fine Chocolates

The Creative Power of Kids

Last week I taught about seven art classes in a row for kids in kindergarten through third grade. It was part of a Cultural Arts Day at an elementary school. I’ve participated in this program for the last three years as an artist.

This year, I noticed something interesting about the students. Normally, I have a mix of grades, but this year I started with the kindergartners and finished with the third graders. This progression gave me the opportunity to observe creative expression from the youngest kids in the school to the oldest.

And what did I notice?

The youngest students were done with the project the quickest, while the older students finished just in time or not at all. I wondered why this was. Then I realized it was because the kindergartners had less inhibitions than the second and third graders. The older kids spent so much time analyzing the colors they chose and filling in all the details. Yet the younger kids went with their intuition and just had fun coloring.

Creative Aging

Earlier this year, I posted about creative aging with Do the Arts Have an Age Limit? Now, the Metlife Foundation Creative Aging Program is offering funding, in the form of seed grants to encourage healthy aging.

This pilot program will provide in-depth technical assistance and seed grants of $7,500 to eight National Guild members to enable them to design, implement and evaluate sustainable creative aging programs (participatory, skill-based arts education programs for adults age 60 and above) using best practices detailed in the Guild’s latest publication, Creativity Matters: The Arts and Aging Toolkit. Technical assistance will focus on capacity-building with particular attention to outcome-based evaluation measuring changes in the health of participants.

  • So do the arts have an age limit?

Bean Mosaic

Spring is finally here, or so the calendar says. After a long winter, this time of the year is a good time to refresh our creativity and maybe explore some of the ideas that have been germinating during those long cold months.

Here is a fun project I did while volunteering at an elementary school’s Cultural Arts Day. It’s a flower mosaic created with, well beans and other assorted dried foods, including rice and pasta glued onto cardboard.


  • Unleash your inner artist and play like a child using finger paints, chalk, or beans!

Creative Retreats

I know many people have made a resolution this year to spend more time on creative projects. Ok, I am one of them! So, now is the time to clear your schedule and sign up for a creativity or arts retreat in 2008.

It’s a great opportunity to focus solely on creating without the distractions of every day life. There are retreats held in a variety of national and international locations.

Creativity Retreats

Creativity Workshop features creative writing, drawing, storytelling and memoir

Arts Retreats

ShawGuides lists arts and crafts workshops in the US and abroad

Art and Soul retreats offer instruction in paper, fabric, jewelry and fiber arts

Arcangelo Productions hosts art and life workshops focusing on collage, assemblage and photography

  • Or create your own retreat by designating an hour, a day or a weekend to creating.

Are You the Office Flake?

This is the question posed in an article about creatives in the workplace. But are all creative people flaky? The article assumes that if you excelled in the arts as a student then you must not be able to prioritize or meet deadlines as an adult, ultimately hurting your career and future success.

On the flip side, this post from Applied Imagination points to research that those who studied music while growing up were more likely to pursue advanced degrees and even succeed as college presidents and CEOs. That doesn’t sound flaky to me.

  • What do you think?

Artist Quotes

Every child is an artist. The problem is how to remain an artist once he grows up.

– – – Pablo Picasso

  • Learn more about arts advocacy here.

Art Bar

What do you get when you combine two of my favorite things: art and chocolate? Art Bars. Created by Ithaca Fine Chocolates, Art Bars contain fair-trade certified organic chocolate and a collectible card featuring an art reproduction. Plus a portion of the profits support art education. Brilliant!

Image Ithaca Fine Chocolates

Berea Arts Fest

For those of you in the Cleveland area this weekend, the Berea Arts Fest returns. I missed the Fest last year because I was in LA, so I am looking forward to experiencing it for the first time this Sunday.

Unlike other area arts festivals that simply display work by professional artists, the Berea Arts Fest focuses on promoting involvement in the arts and includes art by students and visually impaired artists as well.

You can also participate in a community art project or make something in the family art area. It sounds like a great opportunity for both adults and kids to explore their creativity.

  • See you there!

Image Berea Arts Fest

Slightly Askew in Cleveland

Because I am an advocate for using the skills you learn developing personal creativity to improve your community, I was excited to learn about Slightly Askew coming to Cleveland.

Slightly Askew is an experimental group from NYC, with a local connection, that combines art, education, performance and culture.

They have landed in Birdtown, a part of Lakewood that I have family ties to. While in the neighborhood, they are working with local residents and teens to create a video project documenting the history of this unique neighborhood. In exchange, the teens are learning skills and gaining knowledge about other cultures and history.

  • How can you use your creativity to build community connections?

Image Slightly Askew