Contemporary Expression

Time To Make Something
February 17, 2010, 12:00 pm
Filed under: artful living, change, Living An Artful Life, The Art Files

I believe that all people are made to be creative individuals. Living An Artful Life has everything to do with finding ways each day to make something new.  It may be changing a recipe or finding a new one to put your own twist on.  The one new thing may be a doodle sketch to watercolor. You may write, you may blog; you may even tend to a plant or two, or a full garden.  If you find yourself feeling uncreative, change your situation.  Wonderful things only happen when people find a way, find that path, to create.

My trajectory has changed. Life has changed. I’m going to stop trying to get back what worked before and make something new. I’m middle-aged. It snuck up on me.  According to the marketers, I am supposed to have a retirement plan and a kid in college. I have neither.   What I do have is a renaissance mind, something that longs to create new things often.

The surveys all say that as a baby boomer, I may be slower to embrace change than the generation(s) now starting out.  For the record: change makes me tired but I still like it, heck I embrace it!

Something new is about to happen. It’s time to make something.


I may have to sell you a ….
December 29, 2009, 3:55 pm
Filed under: Balance, branding, change, Nancy VanReece, Unemployment

Job Search: 16th week  since the lay off.

The Tally: Applied for 48 jobs so far … 90% in Nashville, 10% out of state.

Interviews: zero

No thank you responses: three

Still waiting to hear back: forty-five

Jobs I applied for that I really would like to have: five

I really don’t want to end up selling widgets (defnition 2.) Here is my thing, I am a really good sales person.  If I believe in it, I will find a way for you to believe in it too.  It may take a few hours, it may take a few months, even years.  However, I am extremely tenacious and if I am passionate about something, I will find a way to help you see it.

For now over twenty-five years, I’ve been extremely fortunate to have had the opportunity to work with projects, products and services that I really actually do believe in. For the past fifteen weeks since my lay-off I have had to  get to know all over again the product I believe in the most; myself.

I have been consulting and networking and painting and networking and drinking a lot of coffee. I have been coping by putting my head down and grunting through like a rugby player.

There will be great change in 2010 because there is nothing but change possible.  I have faced this current challenge with equal tenacity to any project I have had before me.  I am grateful for the helpful support and confidence boosting that many friends have given to my little family and look forward to the New Year with anticipation.  I may have to sell you on it.

What are you doing to sell yourself  in 2010?

The Non Profit Facebook Panic of 2010
December 16, 2009, 11:22 am
Filed under: arts funding, change, community building, marketing, social media

Wow – you would think that Facebook had announced that all Fan Pages were being removed.  The  panic being  invoked by Non Profit Tech 2.0 and Wild Apricot and The Chronicle of Philanthrophy and others, is really premature.

Yes – there are changes coming, there will always be changes coming. The problem is, too many non-profits are still treating their social media tools like bull-horns.  The answer to all change will be strategy. Facebook and Twitter are viable tools for non-profits only if the  friends, volunteers, loyal volunteers and advocates  of that organization are telling their own social networks about the work and progress of the organization(s) they support.

Don’t forget that Facebook generates revenue from all that direct advertising and it may be time for non-profits to stop free-loading and  put a little investment dollars in providing the tools to your supporters to build that network.  Its time to stop using social media because it’s free. Use these wonderful tools because it is part of your strategy.

Are you ready for change?

Climate Change
October 15, 2009, 2:56 pm
Filed under: Blog Action Day, change, Living An Artful Life, The Art Files


Blog Action Day   has come again and I have been thinking for a long time about what I had to say about the issue. Clearly the data is out there to call upon.  There will many thoughtful posts about what to do to help effectively involve yourself in very tangible ways to impact  the climate and help slow global warming.

I just came from an inspiring program from Vanderbilt University and the Tennessee Performing Arts Center called Inside Out of the Lunch Box  that introduced me to an artist named Daniel Bernard Roumain (DBR). This man inspired the audience not just with his music but in infectious ability to change the climate.

“There are people around the globe that don’t get free clean water, they have to pay for it.  There are people around the world that don’t have clean air to breath unless they pay for it.  Here, today, in the United States, to receive the art that feeds your soul, you must pay for it.” – DBR

I understood this deep down as he said it.  As over 10,000 bloggers are posting about clean air, clean water and our responsibility to it.  I am reminded that  to live an artful life you must feed your soul with good hearty, self sustaining, locally grown and happily imported, art.

Being creative isn’t just thinking of a good idea, it’s implementing it, it is in the making it happen that is creative. I have a feeling that the answers that will solve the earth’s climate change will be found through  a lot of creative process.

As Urvashi Vaid said Monday inside her brilliant speech at the National Equality March Rally  “It will take visionaries who believe we can make a sustainable environment for our planet. And it will take the artists that will help us think more bravely.”

New Chapter? New Book?
September 14, 2009, 10:39 pm
Filed under: change

I celebrate with The Nashville Shakespeare Festival on closing the 22nd season in the black.

Read the story: The Tennessean

I had a great 3 seasons covering 8 productions and a record number of workshops.

After consideration, The Festival has decided that the best way to assure a fiscally responsible FY10 is to take on the tasks performed by the executive director directly.

For this reason, as of today, I am no longer with The Nashville Shakespeare Festival but wish them well on their continued journey!

You may contact the Festival at 615-255-2273 or make your inquiry to Your request will be forwarded to the appropriate person, please be patient for a response.

Meanwhile – please let me know if you hear of anything that may be a good fit for me. Please send notes and ideas via email to

Facilitating Community
September 10, 2009, 8:25 pm
Filed under: artful living, branding, change, community building, mission statement

Is everyone around you evaluating something of high importance? It seems that way to me. The non profit sector is evaluating mission statements and services to be sure they are meeting real need and not duplicating the work of others. The for profit sector is evaluating if the product they provide is something people actually want, or better yet, need. I see artists of all stripes, the creative class, evaluating if their voice is being heard or if they are shouting in the wind.

Plenty of us have also taken the time to stop and evaluate ourselves. In the last blog post I talked about branding. As luck would have it, I was able to attend a workshop this morning sponsored by Nashville CABLE about building a personal brand. Clearly the universe was telling me to knuckle down and do some evaluating.

The process of forming brand is the result of unrelenting passion, not spin. So, I asked myself what I felt passionate about, what was the essence of what I was about and is it something I am already doing and, if so, is it impacting others?
I enjoy leading. People follow leaders because they can see the vision when the rest are paralysed by fear. I really needed to clear my vision!

I was able to develop my own personal mission statement:
“Advocating Creative Opportunities For My Community to Achieve Its

What is thrilling to me is that I am already doing this and continue to find new ways to expand it. Advocacy, Creativity, Development, Community Service.

Laura Berman Fortang suggests these questions that will help your own evaluation:
What are you built to do?

  • How do people use you?
  • What have people always said you should be?
  • What is the essence of your dream?

Keep Circling
July 19, 2009, 4:39 pm
Filed under: branding, change, Living An Artful Life

Major General Michael Collins
Time in space
11d 02h 04m

Apollo 11 was the first manned mission to land on the Moon. The first steps by humans on another planetary body were taken by Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin on July 20, 1969.

What of that third astronaut? The commander of the module that circle the moon while the others two became household names for generations.

During his day of solo flying around the Moon, Collins never felt lonely. Although it had been said that “not since Adam has any human known such solitude.”Collins felt very much a part of the mission. In his autobiography he wrote that “this venture has been structured for three men, and I consider my third to be as necessary as either of the other two”. During the 48 minutes of each orbit that he was out of radio contact with Earth, the feeling was not loneliness, but as “awareness, anticipation, satisfaction, confidence, almost exultation”.

I feel a relationship to Collins. I have for my professional career created opportunities for other people to make their mark; musicians, songwriters, record producers, actors, designers, photographers, heck even politicians. I’m a motivator, a manager, someone who loves to create opportunity.
As I approach the autumn, not just on the annual calendar, but also the autumn of my own life I can since that I am preparing for a time for me to put my own foot print down.

I’m still trying to figure out what that will look like, but I do know that I will have the perspective that I will share with Commander Collins.

Keep circling, and soon, your mission will take you home.

addthis_url=”; addthis_title=”; addthis_pub=’NVanReece’;