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Category Archives: Art and…

Back to Basics

Back to Basics

It has been a long long long time since I really have been able to update this blog. I just turn 30 and like many 30-year olds you begin to assess your life. I am not a New Year’s resolution person. I believe resolution eventually get broken but I have goals and need to change/obtain them this year!

Goal 1: Must complete my thesis and Graduate (on time)

  • This graduate journey has been incredible hard. I have had career setbacks (which prevented me from starting the program in 2010). Then I had financial issues that prevented me from getting funding. This took two years of cleaning up and one consolidation loan. Finally I began the program in 2013 and then I got really sick and had to take another year off. Changed Careers and restarted the program….I am in that the restart phase. I have one more required course and one more elective to take; this will complete my course work…then its the thesis. As I have been working on my thesis, I am just feeling incompetent. I constantly have feelings of do I belong here, I am really an academic, can I really have a great life, etc. These are the things that I am constantly battling and trying to push above. As this blog was created out of the lack of positive or supportive information for Black Women who wants to get into the arts, I find myself really struggling with maintaining that concept and really with life… but that is okay because this blog is about that struggle. Now as I near the finish line of my graduate experience, my life seems to constantly be in turmoil. My mother is super sick (she had a stroke that his left her entire left side paralyzed), I have a poor relationship with my family (work in progress…but still poor), and I am the “working poor.” I am pushing through, even though every day I want to stop this grad school journey (stop my life really) and really focus on my mom… but I need to finish this program. It needs to happen!! and I really need this win! So far, I have been managing the situation and maintaining the little sanity I have. I have completed two interviews and an online survey for the thesis. Recently, I secured the third and final interview. The last research I need to complete the focus group, which need to be done before the end of February. I will write another post about my thesis journey and concerns… because this has gotten very lengthy.

Goal 2: Lose Weight

  • When I start this blog, I was very thin. I have always been thin and was one of those people who could never gain weight. As I began to gain weight, I embrace this change as I have never been able to before; however, now I have just stop being healthy. I don’t mind my weight gain, I am just not healthy and I am starting to feel the effects of my age and the weight. So I need to get tone and lose some weight.

Goal 3: Get Organized

  • I feel like I am constantly living in a state of chaos. I need to re-gain control over my life. This starts with getting back to routine activities, using my planner (and other electronic tools), and organizing my life around me. Over the next couple of weeks, I am going to go through a serious purge and reorganization.

Goal 4: Write More

  • I need to write more! This blog was a way to express my professional/personal feelings and really work on my writing skills. The closer I get to finishing this program, I am starting to think about my career and where that may lie. I want to start writing articles, journals, and books. So I need to practice and write. Beside, I am about to gear up to write the biggest paper I have ever written and I just need to constantly be writing. This is the plan, I will write on this blog twice a week (Sundays and Wednesdays), I am going to develop a writing schedule for my thesis, in which I will be writing (or researching) consistently everyday. Time to step this game up and embrace my academic life.

Goal 5: Get In Tune with Self

  • Everyone has this goal of enlightenment. I am just trying to get back to being centered. I am not sure where I am spiritually. I believe in a higher power and I do pray, but I am not religious. I have never been religious, just can’t do it. However, I have always manage to stay centered. Right now, everything seems to be off balance. Thus the need for organization, loosing of the weight, and the many other goals set forth; I need to get back to being comfortable in my skin and (for lack of a better term) centered.

So here are my life goals (for this year). I am going to really set up to the plate. I have been running scared and fighting my life. I have become my worst enemy and need to really get back to work. I think I am also going to try to theme it up a bit on this blog. It is time to really start taking this serious. I hope everyone had a great New Year! And have been keeping your resolutions or goals set forth for the year! Good Luck everyone and see you on Wednesday!

 

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Performing Arts vs. Museums

I feel like there has been a constant battle between performing arts and museums. Although we fight the same battles and respect each others sectors, there is still a divide.

Since starting my new position, I have found great joy working in the performing arts field. I found that I have a renewed passion for the arts and life. However, this poses a slight conflict because I am still fond of museums. My thesis is on museums, specifically culture-based museums. With this feeling of confliction, I am struggling with writing and researching. I am still working at the American Swedish Historical Museum with cut back hours. I really love this place; however, since starting my new position and the cut of hours, I feel that I am not growing in the position. But I don’t want to quit… It’s a conflict.

As I near the completion of making up my assignments from my horrendous semester, I am still interested in my thesis; however, I can’t help but wonder about a different topic. Upon my readings and direct personal experience, I started thinking about art education. Originally, I did want to focus on art education and diversity as a potential thesis topic, but I felt I couldn’t develop this thesis beyond this phase.

Even now, I am still struggling with how to make the topic of art education relevant to administrators and interesting. Although it is not too late to change, I am still very interested in my topic of culture-based museums. I guess my real struggle is whether I want to continue a career in museums.

Since junior year of college, I have wanted to work in museums. It took me a long time to find something that I enjoyed and could have a rewarding career. Don’t get me wrong, I enjoyed my major and still wanted to attend law school after college. However, I just knew that wouldn’t have made be happy. Museums made me happy. Understanding the ins and outs of an institution that are both visually and sensory hubs of nontraditional concepts of education was what I wanted as a career. Even as I write this I am still battling. I love museums; but at this time I just can’t see myself working in one. For now, maybe I am meant to work in the performing arts and I should stop being dramatic… I love change. It helps me feel like I am growing and I love that this is not the end of my growth. Who knows I might end up going to law school after all.

I just wanted to share some of my thoughts as I continue to work through school and life. But I am excited to be back on track!!! Until next time.

 
 

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The Time has Come… Finally

It finally happened! I got a full-time position in the arts. I am super happy, blessed, and excited. In my last post, I talked about finding passion and pushing forward, well this has paid off. I will be starting my new position on 1/12/15. I am the new Branch Coordinator for Settlement Music School in Philadelphia. I grew up with Settlement being a household name due to being a musician and a huge music geek. Now, I have the ability to create more musicians and artists for the world. I am super happy and excited! This year I will be turning 29, which is look very good. I started this blog at 25 when I was at a crossroads in life and really wanted to get back to what made me feel whole… the arts. After four years, my journey continues in an upward position.

As far as school, I am even more motivated to finish and continue my professional development. This winter quarter, I decided to take a break and re-group as well as really focus on my thesis goal/purpose. Drexel has a wonderful art administration program online and campus. Their staff is amazing and they continue to improve. Although, I have had two classes that were not as helpful; however, these class were educational and provided real life learning experience to provide a balance view of the arts. I have grown as a student, researcher, and person in this program. I definitely recommended this program if you are considering a masters/career in the arts. I am super ecstatic for the spring semester and the completion of the program.

So happy NEW YEAR!!! I hope this year, you find peace, happiness, and your passion! I will keep you posted on updates and well as the restructuring of this blog, which will focus on creativity, goals, and professional development.

 

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Seeking Passion

This semester has been a real mess. I have been sick, stressed with work, and moving into a new place. I can’t seemed to shake the stress and the associated depression. But I am still fighting!

So this post is about finding passion. I have somehow, on my journey through life, loss my passion. I realized this sombering fact after interviewing a former classmates who is a very prominent contemporary artist, for a class assignment. Of the many awesome things we discuss, the one thing that hit my core was the sense of “freedom” he got from making art. I completely understood what he meant by that feeling. It is a feeling I have been searching for years to get back.

There was a time where I ate, slept, and breathe music; I loved music so so much. It filled me when I felt empty, alone, and unloved. It still has an effect on me  but not like before. It different… Distant.  After a series of struggles and life setbacks, I stop creating music, I stop being myself and started to become something else. Fuled by fear and unhappiness, I started to search for safety and security. Thus my ambitions to be a lawyer. The artist in me dimmed a bit and I was empty.

I tired to find anything to fill this void… But I was still empty. Until one day, one sad and awful day, I felt creative. I need to create. It was the day the verdict for Trayvon Martin tragedy. I was so upset, I was so angry, and in so much pain. I took out my guitar and for the first time in years poor out that emotion into a song… After it was complete I was whole; I was free. I felt better, I felt like I could breathe…. Then I was terrified.

I remember thinking why I am I afraid? Why can’t I just be in the moment? I realized that I have grown comfortable with my discontent. It is still a struggle, thus this post. I love art and music. I love to create and learn.

These past two months have been rough; however, I learned a lot. I need to take control of my life and follow my passion. I need to become fearless again and stop worrying about falling and just do it. Like the Nike commercial just do it. So I will finish out my 20s with some passion, growth, and strength!

This is just the beginning…. Seek your passion!

 
 

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Black Female Voice

I have been on my black feminism kick for a minute now. I am in this mind state maybe because of the world or maybe because it’s time to weigh-in on black issues or really, world issues. I think different perspectives provides us with education. I love these women and I think this was an interesting discussion. I think as people (regardless of race) have a narrative that need to be shared. I think that we need to figure out how to shape this information and provide this dialogue for change. I like that… Dialogue for Change. Watch this great discussion with these two women.

 
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Posted by on January 17, 2014 in Art and..., Black Females, Scholarships, Writing

 

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Reflections on Afrofuturism & STEAM at SMiH

Here is another piece from the same blog. Last semester, we discuss the impact of STEAM and art advocating. It prompted many papers and debates about the importance of art in education and in general. I think this adds to the discussion and take the topic to the next level. Examine the information presented as well as the sources. My paper/letter* about the program initiative STEAM is below as well for more information. But what are your thoughts on this movement as well as the STEAM project?

 

* Dear Representative Harris,

What is art? According to Merriam Webster Dictionary, art is defined as “something that is created with imagination and skill and that is beautiful or that expresses important ideas or feelings.” When the arts are removed from our educational system, we lose these valuable skills and take away a child’s opportunity and dreams. Art saved my life; without it, I would not have been able to obtain my dreams. As your constituent, I call on you to support the success of all students by strengthening arts education in the reauthorizing of the Elementary & Secondary Education Act.

The Elementary & Secondary Education Act (ESEA) AKA “No Child Left Behind Act,” was a temporary solution enacted by the Bush Administration in 2001 to address the education crisis of this country. The Lyndon B. Johnson Administration first enacted the ESEA in 1965, as a campaign to combat the “War on Poverty.” The act was later amended in 1994, with the premise of higher standards for children, more community, family, teacher interactions, and resources targeting the areas of the “greatest needs.” This brings the education debate to 2013 with Representative George Miller’s Amendment to the H.R.5.  I request from you, Representative Harris that you support the following provision proposed by Representative Miller:

1) Demand clarification of the allowable uses from Title I funds, for disadvantaged students to use in all core academic subjects, including art education;

2) Guarantee that struggling schools could have greater flexibility with the arts as a turnaround strategy for schools labeled as failing;

3) Include specified support for art education grants in a well-rounded curriculum fund in the U.S. Department of Education;

4) Add art and design into the definition of science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) program activities, helping to turn STEM into STEAM;

5) Designate the arts as an eligible activity for schools that are seeking expanded learning time (ELT) for their school day.

In addition, I urge that you to strengthen access to learning in the arts by supporting $30 million in funding for the Arts in Education program and reject the effort to terminate this program in the FY14 Labor-HHS-Education appropriations bill.

Why are the arts important for our children?  If not for the arts, I would not be writing this letter. I was born and raised in the inner city of Philadelphia. I grew up in a single parent home and below the poverty line. In my senior year of high school, I was homeless and was motivated to stay in school because of music. I learned to play the flute in the fourth grade at Rowen Elementary public school. Music allowed me to escape from my surrounding and nurtured my dream of getting out of poverty. I stand as a college graduate, current graduate student, and an artist, due to the encouragement and motivations of my art teachers and art. Art saved my life; without it I would not be the successful, well-rounded person I am today. Please support the Arts and the future of our children!*

Renegade Futurism

The so called fine artist realizes, those of us who have freed ourselves, that our creations need not emulate the white man’s, but it is time the engineers, architects, chemists, electronics craftsmen, i.e. film too, radio, sound, etc., that learning western technology must not be the end of our understanding of the particular discipline we’re involved in. Most of that west shaped information is like mud and sand when you’re panning for gold! –Amiri Baraka, “Technology & Ethos” in Amistad 2, 1970

Last Thursday I moderated an artist panel at The Studio Museum in Harlem. My rationale for moderating Enlightenment, Strange Mathematics and Rhythmic Equations was two-fold. The first objective was to place contemporary, interdisciplinary artists in dialogue around the idiosyncratic notions of Sun Ra and other pioneers of afrofuturism, a framework for freedom of expression.

Tasked to reflect on afrofuturism in Africa Tegan Bristow writes, “The…

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Augmenting Sociocultural Awakenings in Art & Beyond

Very Interesting!! Check it out! Share and explore!

Renegade Futurism

The Shadows Took Shape exhibition at The Studio Museum in Harlem (especially reading the catalog) got me thinking about redesigning Augmented Reality in Open Spaces for a new project/purpose. I read We Want the Funk: What is Afrofuturism in Africa? by Tegan Bristow. Tasked to reflect on afrofuturism in Africa Bristow writes, “The practices that refer to being of a contemporary Africa presented in The Shadows Took Shape reflect something new to me – digital and technology culture augmenting already existing sociocultural awakenings occurring in contemporary Africa.” She notes a strong relationship between innovative practices and social change in Africa.

Bristow highlights the work of Botswana-born South African based artist Pamela Phatsimo Sunstrum who imagines parallels between ancient mythologies and futuristic sciences. Her practice includes drawings on paper, drawing installations, animation and performance. In her paper Afro-mythology and African Futurism: The Politics of Imagining and Methodologies for Contemporary Creative…

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