Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Pancakes & Printmaking

Event: Pancake Breakfast & Printmaking
Date: Saturday, June 11
Time: 8:30 am - Noon
Place: 8230 Georgia Avenue

Come one, Come all to the Pyramid pancake breakfast hosted by Chef Daniel Beavin at Pyramid Atlantic.

For just $5 you can enjoy a plethora of pancakes, fruit, juice

and coffee and enjoy vegetable and fruit printmaking activities for the whole family.

Proceeds from our pancake breakfast will benefit Pyramid Atlantic’s arts & education programs.

RSVP (so I know how much syrup to buy!) to: Jose

Image Credit: source

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Week 13 or Why Not Being The Smartest Guy In The Room Worked Out

It's Week 13 and I am $190 away. That’s right, you read correctly. My goal was $3,000 to help support Pyramid’s arts & education programs that inspire, educate and build community and now I am knocking on the door. 190. That is like 10 people contributing $20 and my brother contributing $10. I am almost there. Let’s do it! Make a contribution today, in any amount to my Pyramid Atlantic fundraising campaign by clicking here.

AND NOW: Week 13 Inspiration or Why Not Being The Smartest Guy Worked Out

When I was in high school, my good friend Michael Wilson, shared with me a quote he had heard on Oprah. She said, “The key to being successful is always surrounding yourself with people smarter than you.” I remember nodding my head and saying, “Yeah, that’s right.” It sounded like a good idea at the time and I was in high school, so saying that I didn’t know what he meant by that would just be “uncool.” But I really had no idea what I was agreeing with. I mean, surrounding yourself with people who are smarter than you is great in theory, but in practice can be very intimidating. I mean, if everyone around me is smarter, then what do they need me for, right?

At Pyramid Atlantic, Oprah’s words of wisdom have helped make me a better leader and taken the organization to new heights. I am surrounded by smarter people every day. Most of these smart people are on our staff at Pyramid. Only one of these is full time staff member however, Artistic Director Gretchen Schermerhorn. Everyone else is part time. They hold full time jobs elsewhere, run their own businesses are stay at home moms, waiters, teachers, scientists, researchers, but they manage to weave Pyramid Atlantic into the fabric of their lives. They coordinate our classes, membership, manage each of our studios (papermaking, printmaking, letterpress, bookmaking and digital media), do our finances, recruit our volunteers and run our store. They do it with a professionalism that is a deep reflection of their love of life. The embody the words of another great person, Winston Churchill who said, “You make a living by what you get, but you make a life by what you give.”

So, what about me, what do I do? It‘s simple. When you have the smartest people in the world around you, you help them be great.

Here is a BIG THANK YOU to my staff at Pyramid and a link to our blog with a slide show of some of all of the greatness they make possible:

Gretchen Schermerhorn, Artistic Director

Catherine Aselford, Development Manager

Sarah Bright Yaneza, Finance Manager

Natalie Holmes, Finance Associate
(on the far right)

Richard Kamenitizer, Financial Consultant

Laura Kinneberg, Papermaking Associate

Elizabeth Parthum, Papermaking Associate

Linda Rollins, Bookbinder in Residence

Patty Lee, Associate Bookbinder (above)

Melanie Karlins, Letterpress Associate

Leslie Smith, Letterpress Associate

Julia Louie, Letterpress Associate

Grant Dickie, Weekend Rental Associate, Rebecca Katz, Screenprint Associate, Marty Ittner, Screenprint Associate

Micah Beard, Associate Printmaker (at left)

Jake Muirhead, Associate Printmaker

Sabeth Jackson, Blockprinting Associate

Chris Derderian, Director of ArtSpring
(in the middle)

Franc Rosario, Digital Associate (at right)

Jody McLean, Volunteer Coordinator (below, at left)

CaraHunt, Education Coordinator (at right)

Crystal Polis, Membership Coordinator (at right)

Sha Grogan-Brown, Fundraising consultant
(at left)

Ariana Estrada, Webmistress

I hope you found this inspiring and share it with the many great people in your life who help you look like the smartest person in the room.

AND Make a contribution today, in any amount to my Pyramid Atlantic fundraising campaign by clicking here. If you were thinking about contributing, but wanted to wait to see how far I would get, look at me now! $190 away. I am almost there and a contribution of any amount from you, will get me that much closer. Have a great week.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

New Summer Interns!

The new summer interns started today. From the left there is Caroline (me), Julie, Laura, Stephanie and Elena. We have another intern coming, but he's currently in Thailand.
Today we met Gretchen and she gave us a tour of the facilities and gave us an introduction to screen printing.

Thursday, May 19, 2011

I am $400 away. Be Inspired By Me.

I am $400 dollars away. Yes! My goal was $3,000 to help support Pyramid’s arts & education programs that inspire, educate and build community.

I am almost there. Help me raise the $400 I need to reach my goal. Its week 12, 4 weeks to go!!!!

But first, your moment of inspiration. So what inspires me this week: Love.

My wife and I moved into Silver Spring, into our Long Branch neighborhood in 2000. It was just before the housing market blew up and you could still afford to buy a house.

There was talk of gang activity in the neighborhood and the elementary school on the corner seemed so overcrowded with portable classrooms out on the ball field. We were nervous about the neighborhood, but we had a 6 month old
son and had grown out of our one bedroom apartment at Falkland Chase.

Our neighbors were terrible. Our first year on this street the family next door would play music till 2 pm or 3 pm in the morning. There were times when we would find people asleep in the cars next door. There was one morning when a car showed up at 5 am and honked the horn for 15 minutes until I came out and it finally pulled away. There was litter on their front yard, guys drinking beer out front all afternoon. I called the cops at least twice to break up parties that went way too long into the night. I always considered myself to be an open minded, tolerant person, but I wasn’t. I liked the “idea” of diversity, but it found it very difficult to practice. I didn’t like my neighbors. I wanted them to move or to be more precise, I wanted them to be more like me and my wife.

So, one day, when Joshua was 3, we were outside kicking the soccer ball around. Their was a young boy he looked about 6, standing in the front yard of our neighbor’s house He and Joshua spotted each other. The young boy’s soccer ball rolled over into our yard .Joshua kicked it back. He rolled it over again and my son kicked it back again. This went on for about 5 minutes and then it was time to go inside. I asked the boy his name. “Mago,” he said. The next day my son saw Mago outside playing with his cousins and asked to join them. I said sure and went outside with him and we all played together. I watched as Mago’s aunt and uncles carefully watched over my son as they played and made sure everyone stayed out of the street. I watched as they participated in the game and cheered their kids on. I chatted with the uncles about soccer in Spanish. They asked me where I was from. “Cuba”, I said and we talked about great Cuban baseball players. After a while, it was time to go in, but this day began what would become a tradition of playing soccer in our front yard with our neighbors.

I am grateful to my son. He was the bridge. Because of my son, my wife and I got to know our neighbors. We learned that despite our differences on the outside, there were not many differences on the inside. They loved their kids and we loved ours and that was enough. My son helped me put all of my prejudices aside and be a better father, a better neighbor, a better person. I learned that when you love your child, you just want them to be happy and when you do, you forget about the things that bother you and before you know it, those things that bothered you, don’t anymore. They get replaced with things you learn about yourself and your neighbors.

I hope I inspired you today.

Make a contribution, in any amount to my Pyramid Atlantic fundraising campaign by clicking here. If you were thinking about contributing, but wanted to wait to see how far I would get, look at me now! I am almost there and a contribution of any amount from you, will get me that much closer. Have a great week.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Have you heard that you should learn something new every day?

That is what Lincoln Mudd did over the past few months. Art teacher in Sculpture at Montgomery Community College, and artist himself, he decided to try his hand at making paper sculptures. Lincoln has been working as a Resident Keyholder at Pyramid Atlantic working in the paper making studio. When he first started his journey into paper making, I have to say he didn't really know anything about it. He spent part of a day walking through the studio with Gretchen and she demonstrated the basic skills in a crash course to get him started. The first time I met him he was trying to make a very long sheet of paper, which being a beginner myself, I was frightened myself of trying to pull anything that long for fear of the whole thing turning into a pile of mush as I tried to get it off the deckle. There he was, making sheet after sheet. This process was totally experimental to him, including mixing dyes and forming sheets to drape over these large pear shaped molds. The results are really large and beautiful. Lincoln will be giving a talk on his process at Pyramid Atlantic on Thursday night, May 12 from 6:30-7:30 pm. You don't want to miss this!!

Sunday, May 8, 2011

These are our Super Heros

You may have noticed a new group of strapping young folk hanging around the print shop, making work, and cleaning the different studios. These youth are interns at Pyramid Atlantic through the Inspire program and they come to us from MMYC.

They have been working hard! Many of them have never made a book, made paper, or screen printed before. They are learning so many new things and flying...

So to aid them in their quest Melissa Salazar and Anne Albagli, the instructors for this program, decided that Thursday, was the perfect day to play some Super Hero Bball.. and see what our interns could teach us on the court. Check out some photos from super hero bball!

Also! Get ready... their final exhibition is coming up on May 26th!

Friday, May 6, 2011

Thanks to you!

Pyramid Atlantic would like to give a great big thanks to all of its new and renewing members!
We are at 240 new members since the last time we did a thanks to our members post-wow-so we'll be sending out several thank yous over the next couple of months.

Catherine Abbott
Ronald D. Abramson
James S. Adams
Edward Alton
Kathleen Anderson
Miranda Lea Anderson
Iskedar Ayalew
Karol Vanessa Bados
Lorena Baines
Tom Bannister
Daniel C. Barbiero
James Calvin & Anne Barton
Anne Becker
Peter & Shelly Berman
Jorge Luis Bernal
Leda Black
Nadine Bloch
Carol & Stephen Bluestone
Kathy Boyland
Graham Patrick Boyle
Ruth Burke
Adjoa Burrowes
Melinda Byrd
Julie Byrne

More Thank yous to come!
To get in on all of the exciting events Pyramid offers, and at the same time support the organization, please visit the membership page on our website.

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Master Youngdam's visit

Last week we enjoyed a very special treat here at Pyramid Atlantic. Master Youngdam, an award-winning Korean nun and papermakaer, lead a workshop on traditional ways of making Korean hanji paper.Pictured above: our intern (coincidentally from Seoul) B00Gyung, did a fine job of translating
She taught the traditional way of sheet formation, whabaldugee, which is a different technique than other other Asian methods of sheet forming. During the paper dipping process, she held the screen and the mould together. The far side of the mould was attached to a string hung that hung from above. First, she scooped the vat stock from her side and let it flow towards the far side. This first scoop formed the ground of the sheet. Then she took the second scoop laterally from either side and it flowed away to the opposite side of the mould. She repeated these steps until the desired thickness was achieved, which was about 7 or 8 times.
To see more of her class and technique, watch this video
Side note: Notice her scarf. She was cold, so she tied a piece of paper around her neck!

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

But first, its time for inspiration!

It’s Week 10 folks. I received $100 dollars this week, so I am at $2,100 with 6 weeks to go. Its crunch time for me. I have $900 more dollars to raise to help support Pyramid Atlantic's fabulous arts & education programs. You can help me get there by contributing here.

But first, its time for inspiration! What inspires me in Week 10? Being a man inspires me. Now that might not seem like such a hard thing, but I have not always found being a man the easiest thing. When I was a kid growing up in my family, being a man meant only one thing: being macho. Sensitivity was a weakness. Crying was a weakness. I was a sensitive kid. I cried. I could tell my Dad was not proud. I grew up hating the very things about myself that now are my biggest strengths: my sensitivity and my compassion. It was my Dad's opinion of manhood that mattered most to me and I was not it. My folks divorced when I was 13 and I didn't see my Dad for again.

I went away to college and my views and my world expanded. I met a whole new group of men who were very different different from the men that I had grown up around in the Theatre Department at Southern Methodist University. Many of my professors were thoughtful, insightful and compassionate men. They were men who never stopped trying to perfect their ability to articulate their thoughts and feelings through their art, their words and their deeds. I so wanted to be that kind of a man. However, in my mind, my Dad's opinion of me still colored my progress and development. I still did not feel like a man or that he would think much of my maturation or my chosen profession.

I went looking for my Dad after my freshman semester. I am not sure why, but I wanted to see him, much to my mother's dismay. She gave me his address and I drove over to his apartment one evening. I was so nervous. I walked to the door. I knocked on the door. He opened it. "Hey, look who's here," my Dad said. He hugged me. "Sit down," he said. We just started talking. It was as if we had both been just very busy for 5 years and had just been unable to return each others calls. We didn't talk that night about where he had been or where I had been. We did not talk about why he never came to see my brother and I and why we had never come to see him. He called my step brothers over and we went out to play pool.

After that night, my Dad and I began to see each other again, much to my mom's objections. We would meet for dinner when I was in town from college and occasionally talk on the phone. I was so hungry for his company. I missed having this man in my life. He came to my graduation, much at SMU and he was at my wedding.

My Dad passed away of a heart attack at the age of 64, I was 32. It was very unexpected. The big hole between him and I that had been getting smaller over the years, with his death, seemed to begin to grow wider again. I was a young father with so responsibilities. There were so many things that I didn't know. So many questions I wanted to ask him about being a father. So many things I wondered about being a man. I mourned the conversations that my Dad and I never had and the ones that we would never have. I mourned a man who I was just getting to know.

Six months after my Dad passed away, I joined a men's group in DC and did that for about 3 and half years. For three and a half years, I sat in a room with men who had experienced loss or trauma and who were not sure of their responsibilities or identities as men. I was there because I wanted my own identity as a man. I wanted to come out of the shadows of the man I thought I had to be and into the light of the man I was capable of being. In the group, I learned that. I shared my questions about being a man, being a father and being a husband with the other men in that room. I learned that my feelings were a strength. That my compassion was an asset and not a weakness. That I had greater capacity that I had given myself credit for. I slowly came to my own definition of the man I was and wanted to be. I also slowly began to forgive and accept my Dad.

I see so many men today struggle with being a men. Expectations and responsibilities can seem so overwhelming. We have the capacity to feel fully and it is that helps us during trying times. But to many men, it is easier to ignore the emotional part of who you are. There is no time to feel, its just "do" and "back to work" and asking for help is a weakness not a sign of strength. That's what my Dad believed. I wish that my dad would have found the strength to be the kind of man that he wanted to be. I used to see my Dad stay up late at night painting and drawing. One time when he was visiting me in DC he let out with this quote from Macbeth, in his really thick Cuban accent, "Is this a dagger which I see before me, the handle toward my hand?" I couldn't believe it. Here was my Dad this macho guy quoting Shakespeare. I wish my Dad would have felt more comfortable letting his artistic spirit out. I think that maybe if he's grown up with a friend like me around maybe, he would have.

As fate has it, I am a father now of two boys. I was thinking about my sons and my Dad this week at my son's baseball game. I watched as all the Dads stood around the back stop, volunteered to coach 3rd base and talked about what great hitters and fielders our boys were. I was so happy to have this opportunity to see my sons and be a part of their lives in ways that my Dad was never a part of mine. I hug and kiss them all the time and tell them I love them. I want them to know that their emotions are pillars on which to stand on and not vestigial organs that should be ignored and wished away. I see my older boy, Josh, (that is him below) who is 10, struggle with the expectations that come with being a young boy. He doesn't feel its okay to cry or ask for help and that its important to be "tough." I tell him it takes a real man to cry. He thinks I'm stupid. That's alright. I am not going anywhere and I am going to stay here help them both find their way to their own definition of manhood.

I hope I inspired you today.

Make a contribution, in any amount to my Pyramid Atlantic fundraising campaign by clicking here. If you were thinking about contributing, but wanted to wait to see how far I would get, look at me now! I am almost there and a contribution of any amount from you, will get me that much closer. Have a great week.