May 25, 2011

Artistic Mission from Vision and Values

This past weekend I taught strategic planning to individual artists at the San Francisco Arts Commission on behalf of the Center for Cultural Innovation. I had met with this same group off artists in April to talk about Vision, Values and Goals. In between our two meetings the artists met in sessions with several of my consulting colleagues to explore marketing, PR, fundraising, financial and legal issues relating to running a sole proprietorship arts business.

In our second meeting we began with discussing their artistic Mission. I was skeptical about discussing mission all the way at the end of their training series, as opposed to at the start. But it was a good choice. The artists had synthesized their thoughts and the bar had been raised on their level of professionalism in their ability to talk clearly about the business of their art.

As we explored Mission many of the artists had "Aha!" moments as they stood at the front of the room and diagrammed their Vision and Values. I explained that Mission is the vehicle they choose to pursue their Vision, and Values inform the choices they make in how they operate that vehicle. Many artists or even corporations may have the same Vision - how they ideally see the world - but their Values and Mission are what makes them unique in that pursuit.

As the artists explored their Mission it was a slow and thoughtful process and I took on the role of the facilitator. As they put ideas out on the flip chart I would ask them, "To what end do you make this art? What is your greater intention?" to get them to their Vision. For Mission I would ask, "How do you bring these Values and Vision to the world?" That's when they would have their "Aha!" moment.

It was a beautiful process to foster. Those epiphany moments of clarity are fulfillment of my Mission of helping artists realize their fullest potential towards my Vision of people living their dreams.

May 23, 2011

Theatre Bat Area Annual Conference

I'm at our info table. We co-sponsored this fantastic annual event. Earlier in the day I facilitated a "fishbowl" discussion on measuring artistic excellence. It went well - a very interesting discussion format.

May 21, 2011

Oakland is Still Here

Does that make us sinners?

End of the world self portrait

I'm on the ark and wearing practical shoes. Bring it on!

Summer Portrait

Still cold and windy in San Francisco.

“Is this where,” she asked, “the world is going to end?”

If you haven't yet heard, the world is going to end today - the hotest news from Oakland.

In an Article by  in this week's New York Times state, "OAKLAND, Calif. — If Harold Camping and his followers are correct, Gertrude Stein’s famous comment about Oakland — that there is no there there — may finally be true. If not, some local churchgoers say they will set up encampments outside the headquarters of Mr. Camping, the self-proclaimed biblical soothsayer who has prophesied the end of the world on Saturday, with an eye toward consoling the disappointed."

To celebrate the occasion I am attending an end-of-the-world party tonight, ironically located on a boat - very Noah-like, at which we will eat all of our favorite foods just in case the world is ending. 

May 19, 2011

Fashion Line Up

My PR students are providing support to their classmates in the Fashion Show Production class and I put the pressure on them today. We worked in teams to create the Press Release, FAQ sheet and Social Media pages.

I felt like a trask master, forcing them to tweet and Facebook about the event. This was ironic since I'm usually saying, "get off Facebook and stop texting!" Today I kept saying, "Fan that page, Like that photo, follow us on Twitter and update your posts!"

Our fashion show is on June 18, themed Fashion Line Up, at the SF Design Center. Last year's show was spectacular - I had a blast. Looking forward to another memorable event this year.

May 15, 2011


Lately I've been writing Haikus as a way to capture what I am experiencing in the moment. Walking to the farmers market from yoga this morning I found this Hauiku written on a garage door.

What's So Funny About Lesbians?

Last night my cousin Diana and I went to see a comedy "showcase" in Berkeley and frankly, I didn't find it funny. A continuous theme throughout the show was making fun of lesbians - but the jokes weren't funny. Neither were their jokes about rape. As we were exiting the show, the comedians were lined up at the back of the room and Diana said, "should I ask them what is so funny about lesbians?" Yes, was my response! That's one of the things I love about Diana, her earnestness about asking questions.

Diana went up two of the comedians and said, "Hi guys, can you tell me what's so funny about lesbians? All of your acts poked fun at lesbians and I want to understand what makes lesbians funny." The comedians were totally taken off guard and started to back away from their statements made on stage. "I didn't make fun of lesbians" said one of them. "Yes you did" was our response and we recited back his joke about how lesbians were stupid because they were getting artificial insemination to have families instead of adopting. "Well, that's not really how I feel, if I could do an album of my other jokes they wouldn't be about lesbians." Huh? Another comedian said to us, "I hope we weren't offensive." I stepped in and said, "Diana's sincerely interested in your response, she really wants to understand what's so funny about lesbians."One of the comedians offered, "people laugh when they are uncomfortable and sexual topics make for good laughs." Hum, the jokes weren't about sex, they were about family values.

During our drive home Diana and I chatted a long time about the post-show interaction. She thought that maybe instead of asking "tell me what's so funny" she should have been more direct and have said, "that wasn't funny." I disagreed. Asking them to explain was actually a teaching moment. "Yeah, they will probably rethink their jokes before doing them again next time" concluded Diana.

May 14, 2011

Taking Whipped Cream to the Max

I've added maple syrup and cinnamon to my heavy cream before whipping and let me tell you, the resulting whipped cream is outstanding. I have to hold back from eating the entire batch with a spoon.

May 10, 2011

Love is in the Air

My hororscope for the month said I will find love in the second week of May. So, I'm alert to all the possibilities. Here's how I found love already today:

- Went on a morning walk and a woman stopped me to point out a nest of baby humming birds.

- During the walk my sister called and we coordinated my visit to see the family in June/July.

- On the same walk I passed a woman watering her garden which featured the biggest roses I've ever seen and we momentarily chatted about their size and beauty.

- Returning home from the walk I encountered my favorite neighborhood cat Lowkei who gave me cat kisses.

Looking forward to finding more love this week.

May 7, 2011

Sneak a Peak

Looking inside a dilapidated building on Broadway in Oakland.

May 5, 2011

Too Good to be True

I am at an art auction fundraiser and put in far too many bids on so many gorgeous pieces of art made by seniors with Alzheimer's. Turns out one piece had an opening bid at $700 below the required minimum value. Of course I honed-in on the opportunity as soon as I recognized the quality. Unfortunately, they had to pull the piece. It was too good to be true.

Learning From Student Coaches

In both my HR Management classes this week I taught my students how to use coaching tools and then coach each other. In each class I worked one-to-one with a student and they turned out to be superb in helping me fine-tune a goal. The questions the student coaches asked me really allowed for deep introspection and the umph I needed to get over barriers. This class assignment also allowed me to better understand how to practically apply the coaching tools. I love learning from and with my students,