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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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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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It has been a long time…

Hey everybody! Sorry that it has been a long time! I was super busy with school, work, and my personal life. I just wrapped up the summer session on 9/2/14 (precisely this morning a 2:30 am). The fall quarter starts on 9/22/14, so I have a little break… Sorta. Remember that annoying perquisites I needed to take before the financial art accounting course, well I just started that today(9/3/14). I just hope I can get through this class, I am not great at math, but we’ll see.

Anyhoo, I have officially completed one year of grad school!!! Omg!! Yay me!! Now on to the hard parts, thesis. About two weeks ago I had a “pre-advising” session with one of the advisors and the professor for my seminar class this fall. I informed him of my topic and he was delighted and encourage me to pre-research prior to class. This was a huge ego boost and I definitely feel that I have grown since starting this program. I will do a separate post on my thesis process and topic later. Trying to focus on starting this class, accounting. I am going to try to do better with updates and topics for this blog. I just want to Thank you guys for your continued support!!! Good luck!

 
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Posted by on September 3, 2014 in Grad School, Thesis Building, Writing

 

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And the struggle still continues…

This has been a very difficult semester. It has been a combination of a lot of things… Some procrastination and excuses included. I am just struggling to stay focused and energized. Hopefully, I can get this accounting perquisites out the way this summer but I am thinking about taking it in the fall. I feel like I need a break and my fall is super busy… Three classes…. In grad life that hard, in my fulltime and part-time working  life that’s insane!!!! I just need to get it together. I am just in a weird place; where I want to change jobs, where I want to do adult things like buy a house, and where I just want to not struggle internally anymore. I feel like I just want to either quiet this fire in myself or release it and not be afraid of it. I feel like I have so much built up in me that I just want to release it. A former coworker once said to me you should write a book. I often go back and cringe at my response to this notion… “Who would read my story”…. I always do this, self-doubt. It’s one of the things I struggle with along with procrastination. But maybe I will write a book or books about my life and views as an art administrator (in training) of color. I need to proclaim my right to be heard and recognize my own power to inspire change and hope!  One of my guilty pleasure movies that give me a “pick me up” and courage to push through things as well as motivation,  is Legally Blonde… I know, shocking. This movie is ridiculously awesome and hilarious… Yet it inspires me to be and do better.The fact that she has the confidence to say ” I don’t need a back up, I’m going to Harvard ” makes me want to have that confidence and assurance that, yes I am the shit!!! And will accomplish what I want. I love this movie for its feministic views and the promotion of staying true to yourself. However, this film is “interesting”  in the continuing conversation of black feminism and people of color in higher education… But that is another discussion and post. Although I love this movie, I still have issues with it. But like the world everything has its flaws. Just venting and perhaps procrastinating… 🙂

 
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Posted by on May 9, 2014 in Black Females, Grad School, Writing

 

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Half way Done the 1st Year!!!

Wow!! Half way done… the first year of Grad School. It’s been super stressful but rewarding. I am happy to being doing something that I am passionate about and genuinely excited about. I have improved from my previous semester/quarter. I have gotten better with the discussion board. I have learned that I need to respond to something regardless because this most of my grade. I was very sick this semester but I managed to get an A- in my Management Techniques Class and still awaiting a grade for my Fund Development Class. In the Fund Development class my final paper was on L3C which is super interesting and under used in the art sector. I think this paper is the start of my thesis. I am still mulling over information and a data but I building more and more research. During the paper, I was able to attend on March 20, 2014, Risk-taking and Entrepreneurship in Museums: a Conversation, hosted by the Museum Council of Philadelphia and the Delaware Valley. The conversation featured three faculty members, Danielle Rice, Neville Vakharia, and Derek Gillman, from the Arts Administration and Museum Leadership departments at Drexel University. The conversation discussed how museum can be financial viable and stay relevant in the 21st century. This is something that remains to be a trend in each class I take. Sustainability and Diversity are topics I seemed to be stuck on. I am excited to see how things will eventually develop. One of the things I need to work on is time management and pacing. I felt so drained by the in of the semester. The last two weeks of the semester seemed to be awful and were the most stressful. I caused most of the stress due to poor time management and lack of motivation.

My goal from the next and future semester is to stay positive, stay focus, time management effectively, and complete easy task sooner. But so far so good!! Super Happy the semester is over!!!

 

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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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OH WOW!!! It’s 2014!!

WOW!!! It’s 2014!!! Back to the Future II was based on Marty returning to 2015…. CRAZY!!! One more year and still no flying cars, no trash powered vehicles, or hover boards!!!!! But we still have one more year! so let’s see what happens..

Classes for winter semester starts on 1/6/14. Super excited and terrified at the same time. I just received an email from my professor of one class, which included the syllabus. I have a lot of reading to do! This is why I wanted to write this post because it will probably be a long time before my next one. This year, I plan to make changes both internally and externally. Time to stop being so negative and pessimistic. I am not going to go into detail on my transformation but… this is my year! 🙂

As was discussed in November 2013, black feminism and self-confidence are topics that I would like to explore this year. I think that art evoke and inspired these topics. I think there is a debate brewing; however, no one is ready to explore it. I will attempt to get the conversation started.

This is an introduction to these topics. I will also try to find the interconnections to art as well as tackle the taboo subjects these topics. I guess this also another commentary of my feelings on, what is art? and how art is deemed art? This new segment will embark on the perception of art. Last semester in my overview class, we discussion art perception and how that affects funding for the arts. In this segment, I want to explore art and its effect on society. Thus, hopefully, connecting the above topics of black feminism and self-confidence and art… we will see.

In the meantime, I hope (seriously hope) that I am able to read the following books by the end of 2014. Here is my list:

Divided Sisters: Bridging the Gap Between Black Women and White Women

Black Feminist Thought: Knowledge, Consciousness, and the Politics of Empowerment

Sister Citizen: Shame, Stereotypes, and Black Women in America

At Knit’s End: Mediation for Women Who Knit Too Much

Curtsies and Conspiracies

I kept the reading light because of school. I plan to really read and study a lot. Who knows, with this research/readings, will, perhaps, develop my methodology and thesis. Who knows!

Why am I so interested in this topic? Why wouldn’t I be! The whole point of this blog is to explore the lack of diversity in the art world. I started this blog to detail my journey into this world that at times feels exclusives and unattainable. Although, starting my program in 2013, there was a great number of black females in my class, more than I expected, especially when I false started in 2010, there were only three (this includes me). How many will make it? Only time will tell. More importantly over three years, there was an increase in the community that this profession (art management, registrar, curators, etc) is viable and an option in the art world. However, we still have a long ways to go, only one black male in the class and this is a graduate program. Ideally, I would like high school students who are interested in art, but do not want to be creators, have the information about other position that are in this field. In hindsight, I think I am going to explore this as a thesis topic, possible book (maybe too presumptuous), of diversity in art management or diversity across the spectrum of art. Hum…

Anyhoo, what are your plans or goals for 2014? 2014!!! OMG!! Crazy… Sorry, I am an 80s baby and 90s kid; this is flipping me out that I am here in the year 2014!! Who knew! Anyhoo, good luck everyone with this year’s endeavors! I will try to write often and explore the topics above. In the meantime check out some suggested reading list on black feminism:

http://www.buzzfeed.com/ashleyford/13-must-reads-for-the-black-feminist

http://www.msnbc.com/melissa-harris-perry/the-mhp-black-feminism-syllabus

Happy New Year!!! 🙂

 
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Posted by on January 4, 2014 in Art History, Black Females, Grad School, Writing

 

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