Contemporary Expression

Get back to the music

Watercolor by Nancy VanReece - "Creative Direction"

Over the course of the last 28 years, my work has been all about advocating creative opportunities for my community to achieve it’s potential.

25 of those years 1982-2007 I worked in the music business – all of it: Marketing, Promoting, Managing, Advocating, Soliciting, Encouraging, Guiding, Buying and Selling, Licensing and Negotiating.

When I jumped off into the non-profit sector it worked out well.  I was able to take my understanding as a painter and my experience working with musicians and lawyers into a new sector.  Bringing creative and practical business practice to a non-profit organization was a good thing.  As a business person, I could speak “the language” of the potential donor easily.

I learned quite a bit the last three years.  I learned that “development” means “fundraising” and that customers were not always the folks that paid for the product. It was, and remains, a fascinating sector of our commerce.

I also learned a lot about social media strategy and community building and the new, always evolving, 21st century tools of marketing, communication and sales. A lot of these things are excellent resources to lead me into the next adventure.

I may remain in the non-profit sector. I might go back to the music business. I may be painting and  putting together marketing and social media consulting work for a season.

One thing I know; I will always be looking at art and listening to music for divine creative direction.

“I’m saving all my lovin’ for someone who’s lovin’ me…” Gloria Gaynor

“There’s a cry asking why, I pray the answer is up ahead , ’cause I know where I’ve been… there is a promise we must make, worth the risk and the chances we take. There is a a dream in the future..’Cause just to sit still would be a sin.” .. Hairspray Soundtrack


Kindness Will Bring Prosperity

iPhone photo by Nancy VanReece

  • Kindness is the language which the deaf can hear and the blind can see.  ~Mark Twain
  • Wherever there is a human being, there is an opportunity for a kindness.  ~Seneca

As I prepare to enter my tenth week of unemployment I am overwhelmed by the kindness of others.  Joan and I have been able to survive these last nine weeks only because of the  generosity of family and friends.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics ; ….  employers initiated 1,776 mass layoff events in the third quarter of 2009 that resulted in the separation of 277,924 workers from their jobs …

I have read several stories on the internet about dealing with job loss and how to job searching and the importance of networking and blah blah blah ….

I am convinced that the real stories of survival are found in the gut wrenching phone calls asking for help from aging parents to cover health insurance payments and in the long  stays at coffee-house tables long after the management  has seen you at the register.  Kindness is found in the generosity of  like-minded sojourners with mission-driven hearts and minds.

My faith in the kindness of others and the helpful hand of strangers has been renewed these past nine weeks and the lessons I have learned will go with me into whatever is in store for the future. Prosperity is sure to follow.

Finding Balance in the Chi


I have been struggling with balance more than I care to admit.  I spend too much time reading micro blogs and statistics and not enough time in the art studio doodling. I spend too much time watching detective TV shows and not enough time detecting my own grievances.  I spend way to little time nurturing my life because I am so busy just surviving.

Over a decade ago, afer surgery, I  found a simple Tai Chi routine that should take 20 minutes if I do it at the right pace.  However, I rush through it and get it done in 10 min lately.  This is my sign that I am just  going way too fast to find the balance I need.

The best way to find your balance and get rid of  bad chi and inhale good chi is to  find the time to conduct the routine with friends.  Even if  it  is just one other person helping you set that pace you are able to clear your mind more quickly and live in that moment seeking balance against your partner or group.

In the last six weeks of my unemployment and job searching I have found some balance from friends and colleagues.  Out & About Newspaper has written an article titled Women on Mission and I am grateful for its accurate account of my journey.  I so appreciate the way Ricky Tim’s, and Cool People Care  and four28 Collective have stepped up to feed my family with great kindness.

What person or group in your life helps you find your balance?

So I Keep Marching
September 20, 2009, 9:58 pm
Filed under: mission statement

Watercolor by Nancy VanReece

The last week has been a bit of a blur as I joined the unemployed masses. I started updating everything. The resume, websites, contact lists, etc. have all been refreshed and are poised for exploitation.

Not having a laptop and working from an antiquated PC, I found myself doing a lot of eyebrow furrows. But in just 3 days I went from a completely blank Google Calender to 17 meetings, appointments and yes, one actual interview. (wish me luck). A fellow friend on the journey said, “I’ve found that the best way to deal with unemployment is to stay busy.”

So I keep marching, hoping not to have to pay our health care insurance premiums with our equity line. (that is just wrong!)

So I keep marching, hoping that I can stop and reflect about all the very good work done and the work yet to do.

So I keep marching, dedicated to taking each opportunity under the microscope of my personal mission statement to “Advocate Creative Opportunities For My Community to Achieve Its Potential”

So I keep marching, looking like the robin for the worm and trying to remember to smile.

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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?

Question —
July 8, 2009, 1:31 pm
Filed under: Living An Artful Life, mission statement

Sam .. the genuine man
June 16, 2009, 1:04 pm
Filed under: change, grace, mission statement

Sam Davidson’s Blog Needs Repeating: So Click here and read and keep reading.