Sunday, December 30, 2012

My 2013 Wish For You


For 2013, I want to wish you all the help that you need, but have been afraid to ask for. 

I know, from experience, asking for help is hard.  

It makes me feel weak and many times like not I am not enough, but there is also a funny thing about asking for help.

As crazy at it may sound, when I ask others for help I discover how much others are willing to do and how much more I am capable of because of their support.  I don't feel so alone anymore.

I didn't know it when I first got to Pyramid Atlantic and asking for help was the last thing on my mind. I was going to do it all by myself.  Its 5 years later and it is not because of me, but because of staff, artists, volunteers, board members, elected officials, interns, donors, members and people like you that we have succeeded.  

Our success is not because of anyone one person, but it is because of this collection of greatness that you are a part of.

If you have not done it yet, please make a $100 tax-deductible gift to Pyramid before December 31, 2012. Click here to donate onlineIf you have already, thank you, thank you, and yes, thank you.

I don't know what's best all the time, but I don't have to because I have great people like you to learn from.  

In 2013, my resolution is to start "Coffee with Jose" once a month. This will be an opportunity for you to tell me what I can do better and how Pyramid can be better.  

I thought asking for help was a sign of my weakness, but I have learned its actually a sign of strength.  I thought being a leader meant that I couldn't ask for help and I learned that asking for help is what good leaders do best.

Ask for the help that you need, but have been afraid to ask for in 2013. I asked for help and it changed my life.  It can change your life too.

Happy New Year

Jose 

PS: Contribute today AND you help us raise an additional $5,000 thanks to a challenge grant from the Morris and Gwendolyn Cafritz Foundation!  The Cafritz Foundation will match, $1 for $1, every donation you make until we reach our $5,000 goal.  So don't wait,do it today!



Photo of Erin helping a young artist taken by Marty Ittner 

Monday, December 10, 2012

Make and Take: Advent Calendars

Whoo! Make and Take was so fun, there were many activities that inspired both creativity and thoughts on how the little things can make a big difference! It looked like everyone had a blast- from letterpress to screenprinting. 
 Seeing people's advent calendars come together was very exciting! Putting together a nice collage as the first page of the calendar was a nice way to personalize the how thing.
 Looking good, ladies. Loving how different the calendars can all be!

Monday, November 12, 2012




This is the last week and here are the final 5 businesses to thank for their support of the Pyramid Atlantic Book Arts Fair!

Work Opportunities Unlimited: Founded in 1982, Work Opportunities Unlimited is a community-based employment service provider specializing in placing job seekers who experience barriers to employment. The company has grown from one person to a workforce of hundreds that serves thousands of adults and students annually.  In 2007, Work Opportunities Unlimited began providing job placement and supported employment services in Montgomery and Prince George's counties.

Zipcar: Zipcar is the world's largest car sharing and car club service. It is an alternative to traditional car rental and car ownership. Car sharing seems like a simple enough idea, but there's a reason that Zipcar has become the leader for cars on demand. Zipcar is the industry's gold standard service, allowing members 24/7 access to thousands of cars around the globe. 

ArtSpring: ArtSpring is the Pyramid Atlantic Community Arts Store featuring the work of local artists from the Greater Washington, DC Area and was ranked in Washingtonian Magazine's Top 10 Gift Shops in the Washington area!  At Artspring you will find prints, books, jewelry, pottery and so much more.

Change Matters: ChangeMatters started in 1999, as a one-person shop, with a focus on strategic planning and fundraising services for charities and community-based organizations.  Since then, the portfolio has grown to include larger strategy, training, funding, and coaching projects for small businesses, government agencies, and philanthropy, requiring collaboration and “accordion staffing.”

School of Art & Design at Montgomery College: The School of Art + Design (SA+D) is an innovative transfer program at Montgomery College. The program offers a rigorous, highly structured, portfolio-intensive "art school" experience for college students majoring in studio art or graphic design and noncredit students seeking new or improved skills in fine and digital arts.

These are 5 of the businesses in Silver Spring that help make it the coolest place to work and play!  Thank you all for your support & see you at the Book Arts Fair!

Monday, November 5, 2012

Thank You For Your Support




Only a few weeks left and 4 more to thank for their support of the Pyramid Atlantic Book Arts Fair!

The Pyramid Atlantic Book Arts Fair is grateful for the support of businesses like these whose investments in the book arts fair will make possible a creative weekend for all.

Shepherds Table: Shepherd's Table is a nonprofit organization in downtown Silver Spring, supported by volunteers, religious organizations, government, businesses, foundations, and individual donors. Their mission is to provide help to people who are homeless or in need by providing basic services, including meals, social services, medical support, clothing, and other assistance in an effective and compassionate manner.

Statland & Katz: Statland & Katz , Ltd.offers their clients more than 36 years and two generations of insurance expertise, experience managing more than 6,000 insurance policies, experience in offering their clients insurance products and services from the nation’s best-known and most-respected insurers,  and a personal, client-focused philosophy that has earned them the business and the trust of thousands of business owners and managers, families, and individuals including Pyramid Atlantic Art Center.

Urban Alarm: Urban Alarm was started in 2003 by Miles Fawcett, a lifetime resident of Northwest DC. He set out to create a different kind of security company -- one that is invested in the community and lives of the people in it. Urban Alarm employs the best systems and technologies, maintaining high standards for training and expertise and filling the gap between large multi-national and smaller, local companies.

Washington Property Company: Located in Bethesda, Maryland, Washington Property Company (WPC) is a full-service commercial and residential real estate firm offering diversified expertise in acquisition, land use, design, development, finance, leasing, construction and property management. Through a quality portfolio of services, WPC has become an award-winning company with commercial, residential, retail and mixed-use projects throughout the region.

These are just 4 of the businesses in Silver Spring that help make it the coolest place to work and play!

Thank you all for your support.

Monday, October 29, 2012

Never Enough Tanks To Go Around


Only a few weeks left and 4 more to "tank" for their support of the The Pyramid Atlantic Book Arts Fair!

This week we are highlighting 4 more businesses that value creativity in the workplace and in the community.  The Pyramid Atlantic Book Arts Fair is grateful for the support of businesses like these whose investments in the book arts fair will make possible a creative weekend for all.

Olazzo Restaurant: Born the sons of Italian immigrants, brothers Riccardo and Roberto Pietrobono opened Olazzo Bethesda in 2002 and transformed the place into a critically-acclaimed neighborhood spot. Using only the freshest ingredients, Olazzo offers concise, well-executed classics such as Lasagna Bolognese, Linguine with Sausage and Peppers, and Penne Pasta with Homemade Meatballs. In 2007, Riccardo and Roberto picked their childhood home of Silver Spring to launch the second outpost of Olazzo.

Plaza Artist Materials: When you shop at Plaza you are continuing an over 50 year tradition of offering great products at great prices with unmatched customer service. Whether you're an artist looking to get started, create your next masterpiece or frame a special treasure with their expert framing team you have come to the right place.  Besides a huge selection of art materials, creative gifts and custom framing, Plaza also offers Gift Cards, Workshops, Demos and Classes, Delivery, Special Orders and Bulk Discounts.  If you don't see what you are looking for, just ask and they'll do everything they can to fulfill your particular needs.

Pure Energy Real Estate Team: The Pure Energy Real Estate Team is a high producing, award winning, top dollar getting, design loving, market knowing, highly talented team of real estate professionals! Since 1998, the Pure Energy Real Estate Team has been adding value to buyer and seller home sale transactions in the most creative ways possible. No one matches their enthusiasm, advanced home search technologies, local market statistics, neighborhood knowledge, design expertise, creative marketing, negotiation skills or real estate savvy.  There's never been a better time to have an expert on your side.

Ryan & Wetmore PC: Ryan & Wetmore PC is a full-service accounting and management-consulting firm, servicing the Northeast/Mid-Atlantic region since 1988. What makes them different from other accounting firms is their proactive approach. Through numerous management engagements, they have become trusted, unbiased advisors by riding the fine line between keeping an objective perspective and being a clients' advocate.  Ryan & Wetmore PC belong to the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants.

These are just 4 more of the wonderful creative businesses in Silver Spring that help make it the coolest place to work and play!

Thank you all for your support.


Sunday, October 21, 2012






Only a few weeks left and four more to recognize!





This week we are highlighting four more businesses that value creativity in the workplace and in the community.  The Pyramid Atlantic Book Arts Fair is grateful for the support of businesses like these whose investments in the book arts fair will make possible a creative weekend for all.

The Law Offices of Lerch, Early & Brewer:  Lerch, Early & Brewer believe a great law practice is more than just legal statutes, filings and technicalities. They believe their clients want – and deserve – more. That’s why they bring enthusiasm, personality, responsiveness and engagement to the table along with extensive legal knowledge. That’s how they create ideas that work and how they deliver great solutions to a loyal clientele.

Kefa Cafe: Kefa Cafe is truly an oasis of peace and friendliness in the more bustling urban environment of Silver Spring. It is a neighborhood cafe whose warm walls offer community, light lunch fare, coffee, soup and other tasty treats. Kefa attracts both local residents and nearby office workers.  Inside Kefa Cafe, is Space 7:10, an organic artspace exhibiting an evolving mix of contemporary, outsider, visionary, and world cultural artwork.

The Law Offices of Phil Zipin: The Law Offices of Phil Zipin represents individuals and businesses throughout the Washington, D.C. metropolitan area in federal and state court, in administrative hearings, and in alternative dispute resolution.   They work closely with their clients to map out a case-specific strategy, and to determine at the outset how to best direct their efforts and the client's resources toward achieving the desired results.

Meineke Car Care Center Silver Spring: Located at 8220 Georgia Avenue,  Meineke Car Care Center Silver Spring takes care of everything from oil changes to brakes, and their complete car care model provides consumers with high quality services at affordable prices.

These are just four more of the wonderful creative businesses in Silver Spring that help make it the coolest place to work and play!  Thank you all for your support.


Image Credit: Source

Sunday, October 14, 2012

Thank You, Thank You Very Much



This week we are highlighting four more businesses that value creativity in the workplace and in the community.  The Pyramid Atlantic Book Arts Fair is grateful for the support of businesses like these whose investments in the book arts fair will make possible a creative weekend for all.

Innovative Business Interiors: Choosing the right furniture for your organization can have a significant impact on your operations. Innovative Business Interiors can help you create a more healthful and efficient workspace, make happy employees, and make a better impression on customers.  They are experts at helping customers find the perfect furniture solution — and at managing the entire process, including selection, ordering, purchase, project management, and installation.

Impact Silver Spring: Impact Silver Spring's mission is a thriving, multicultural community where all people are engaged and have the power to bring about the changes they need to live a full and quality life. They seek to create the environments and capacity needed to build and sustain a thriving, multicultural community. Taken altogether, IMPACT’s work is about helping people share power in a diverse community. IMPACT believes that power is infinite and can be shared for the good of all.

The Law Offices of Jay Marks: Liberty. Justice. All. These are not just words but a credo. Jay has been defending the rights of immigrants, especially those with criminal convictions, in immigration courts nationwide since 1998. He also vigorously pursues the labor rights of immigrants in state and federal court to recover their unpaid wages and overtime from employers.

Legal Shield: Rebecca Silvestre and Legal Shield provides legal service to families and individuals.  Customers can access legal counsel and advice from qualified lawyers simply by calling a toll-free number. Many other benefits are included, but even at the most basic level our plans allow you to have peace of mind, knowing that the promise of Equal Justice Under Law is a reality.

These are just four more of the wonderful creative businesses in Silver Spring that help make it the coolest place to work and play!  Thank you all for your support.

Image Credit: Source 



Tuesday, October 9, 2012

UPSCALE YARD SALE

Wow, so many new and interesting things have been donated for the Upscale Yard Sale happening on Saturday! We have gotten a variety of items starting from paper cutters to Moroccan leather shoes.

If you have anything that you would like to donate please stop by and drop them off, one man's trsh could be another's treasure.

Upscale Yard Sale happening on Saturday, October 13, fro, 9:00 AM to 5:00 PM

Thursday, October 4, 2012

Thank You Creative Businesses


This week, two more businesses that value creativity in the workplace and in the community.  

The Pyramid Atlantic Book Arts Fair is grateful for the support of businesses whose investment make possible a creative weekend for all.

First Call Office Products: All office supply companies purchase their stock - paper, pens, envelopes, ink cartridges, janitorial supplies, etc. from the same major suppliers. So not only can you get the same office and technology supplies from First Call Office Products at competitive prices, but you're supporting your own local economy when you do. Great products, great prices, great service and folks.

On The Purple Couch: A Consignment Experience: On The Purple Couch, is not just a consignment store, its a consignment experience.  It’s a store with a purpose and a mission, where you will beautiful clothing and accessories and Annie Sloan Chalk Paint(by British interior designer Annie Sloan) used to refurbish furniture. This Sunday, October 7th come to On the Purple Couch for Chalk Paint 101 from 12 - 3 PM and learn all you need to get started. Click here to register and for more information.

These are just two places that help make Silver Spring the coolest place to work and play!  Thank you for your support. 

Image Credit: Source

Sunday, September 23, 2012

Two More Big Thank Yous


This week we are highlighting two more businesses that value creativity in the workplace and in the community.  The Pyramid Atlantic Book Arts Fair is grateful for the support of businesses like these whose investments in the book arts fair will make possible a creative weekend for all.

Double Tree by Hilton-Silver Spring: At DoubleTree by Hilton Hotel Washington DC-Silver Spring™, every little thing they do adds up to Create A Rewarding Experience for their guests (CARE). Hospitality starts with a warm chocolate chip cookie upon arrival and continues through the award-winning Hilton HHonors® guest reward program, the Sweet Dreams® by DoubleTree Sleep Experience and the industry-recognized Culture of CARE.

Fenwick Beer & Wine:  Fenwick Beer and Wine is a different kind of beer and wine shop. They have an outstanding selection of American craft beers, Belgian, English and German beers, and boutique wines.  They have organic beer and wine, gluten-free beer, and kosher wines and offer the largest selection of craft beer in Montgomery County, over 600 kinds.

These are just two more of the wonderful creative businesses in Silver Spring that help make it the coolest place to work and play!  Thank you for your support.

Image Credit: Source

Sunday, September 16, 2012

We Want To Thank Our Creative Business Sponsors


The Pyramid Atlantic Book Arts Fair is grateful for the support of so many businesses that value creativity in the workplace and in the community.  We could not do the work we do without their generosity.  We will be highlighting two each week for the next several weeks.

This week we are highlighting the great work of:

Clean Currents: Clean Currents provides green energy options to residential and commercial customers in Maryland, Washington, DC, and Pennsylvania.  Pyramid is proud to be a Clean Currents customer and 100% wind powered.

At Home Care Inc.:  At Home Care Inc. is a licensed agency that reaches out to persons, one on one, to assist with the activities of day to day living. Their agency of professionals bring affordable assisted living to the individual in the comfort of their own home.

These are just two of the wonderful creative businesses in Silver Spring that help make it the coolest place to work and play!  Thank you for your support.

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Welcoming Our New Fall Residents!

With leaves beginning to change color and the Autumn air rolling in, Pyramid Atlantic welcomes two new Artists in Residence for Fall of 2012!

Allison Bianco
Allison Bianco, a Rhode Island native, loves to work with and combine both Itaglio printmaking and screenprinting. She is also interested in experimenting with 3D objects and incorporating them along with her prints. During her time in grad school at University of Hawaii - Honolulu, Allison got the quirky experience of burning screens using sunlight, instead of using a light table. Go and check her out! http://www.allisonbianco.com/
Ben Ilka, from Tuscon, Arizona, likes to work with stone lithography and screen prints. He is currently interested in writting along with illustrating his work with his own prints. Another interest of Ben's is the Apollo Program and the Space Program. Ben also likes technology, while printing with a former professor, Ben helped make a print of the Apple iPhone on plexi-glass which was later displayed in the store. Go and check him out! http://www.benjaminilka.com/

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Our Yard Sale Needs Your Stuff


             



Saturday October 13 and Sunday October 14





We’re hosting a Yard Sale on Saturday October 13 and Sunday October 14 from 9 am to 6 pm at Pyramid Atlantic Art Center!

Last year, with the help of members and volunteers we raised $3,000 from the sale that helped support programs for people of all ages.  We need your help to make it a success again this year and remember all of the items you donate to our sale are tax deductible.

We’re looking for good stuff – nothing broken or in poor condition.  Here is a list of potential items we are looking for:
  • Antiques – Furniture, mechanical devices in working condition – no piles of rust
  • Books – Old and rare only. No modern hardbacks or paperbacks
  • China/ceramics/porcelain - Higher-end sets preferred
  • Collectibles – Almost anything in the world of collectibles
  • Clothing – Nice items for men, women and children. Please deliver clean
  • Curiosities – Anything odd or unusual
  • Glass – Fenton, Brilliant cut, decorative, Depression, etched
  • Historical memorabilia – Autographs, photos, documents, letters
  • Home D├ęcor – If it look good in someone else’s home, bring it
  • Household items – basic stuff everyone needs
  • Hollywood – Autographs, photos, memorabilia
  • Jewelry – From the very best to costume jewelry
  • Lamps – Tiffany-style, banquet lamps, floor lamps, desk lamps
  • Militaria – Civil War stuff is very hot
  • Pottery – Hardest thing to value so be ready to tell us about it
  • Records – Old and in excellent condition. Nothing after 1970
  • Native American – Anything authentic
  • Silver – Sterling silver souvenir spoons, flatware, and other items
  • Sports memorabilia – autographs, sports cards (pre-1970 only)
  • Tools – Power and non-power tools
  • Vintage toys – From the 80s, 70s, 60s and earlier
  • Used furniture – Chest of drawers, coffee tables, end tables, repurposed/refinished pieces, dining table sets, book shelves, chairs
  • Western – Anything western
Questions?
Want to donate?

Contact Christopher Lancette, our FUNdraising "partner in crime" at Orion’s Attic.

Let's raise $4,000 this year!

Image Credit: source

Sunday, September 9, 2012

Update From Poet in Residence Anne Becker















I am an expansive person and so when I plan I plan big, wanting to follow threads through a number of activities.  


I came to Pyramid Atlantic wanting to make and encourage others to make collaborative art.  I began my work as poet-in-residence by connecting with Lee Marchelonis, an artist-in-residence this past winter, in order to collaborate on an artist book (which got its start in another collaboration with poet/artist Jim Landry and myself).  Lee and I expect to have a prototype ready to go on display for the Book Arts Fair.  For the Fair, I’ve also organized a poetry reading by poets who have collaborated with visual artists.   

In the new year, the next stage of this collaboration fest will continue with a series of salons, that will bring poets, visual artists and book artists together to share their work and begin to get to know one another in order to find partners for new collaborations, culminating in a exhibition of  the works created.  During this time I will be developing a symposium, which will feature artists from a variety of media to explore the collaboration process.  

I hope that many of you in the Pyramid Atlantic community will want to join in.    


Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Thank you Maryland





We want to thank the Arts & Humanities Council of Montgomery CountyMaryland State Arts Council , and the Maryland Citizens for the Arts for their generous support of the 12th Biennial Book Arts Fair & Conference.

If you don't know about the fair yet, it will be a weekend destination event for people passionate about books, art and living creatively from Nov 16th - 18th in Downtown Silver Spring.  It will feature: special behind-the-scenes tours of D.C. print and book arts collections, contemporary print and book art exhibitors, specialty marketplace, curated exhibition, notable speakers, demonstrations, after-hours receptions, all in Silver Spring’s modern civic building.

This would not be possible without the grant support of these 3 great Maryland organizations.  Thank you for helping to keep the arts "front and center."  Your work helps make our work happen.

Sunday, September 2, 2012

Ice Cream Social - Friday, Sept 7- 5:30 - 7:30 pm



Event: Ice Cream Social - Art, Music and Board Games
Date: Friday, September 7
Time: 5:30 pm - 7:30 pm 
Place: Pyramid Atlantic, 8230 Georgia Avenue
Cost: $5
RSVP: to jdominguez@pyramid-atlantic.org by Thursday September 6 so I know how much ice cream to scoop!

I scream, You scream, we all scream for ice cream!

Don't stay home this Friday, come out and enjoy a night of ice cream, papermaking, games and live music courtesy of The Dwindlers at Pyramid Atlantic Art Center 

All ages are welcome for this night of fun & friends at Pyramid.

Saturday, August 4, 2012

Interns' Show "Repeat Notions" Now Up at Takoma Park Community Center Gallery



On Thursday Pyramid Atlantic's studio interns installed a show of their work entitled Repeat Notions at the Takoma Park Community Center's gallery. The show explores repetitive marks, actions, and imagery in works spanning from the two dimensional to the technological.

Repeat Notions will have a reception on Friday, August 10th where you can talk to the artists and enjoy light refreshments. Friday will be the day after the interns' last day at Pyramid Atlantic, so the reception should make for a festive send off! We hope to see you there.

Takoma Park Community Center's gallery is located on the third floor of 7500 Maple Avenue in Takoma Park.

Friday, July 13, 2012

The Papermaking Studio's Newest Addition


With fresh inspiration from making paper in Fabriano, Italy, Gretchen, with the help of Franc, built our studio's newest addition: this wonderful curved Couching Stand!  

Couching [kooch-ing] (verb)
in Papermaking : to transfer (a sheet of pulp) from the mould to the felt on the post or couching stand


in progress...
Gretchen brandishing the nail gun like a boss.

Ta-da! Displayed in its new home,
proudly awaiting freshly pulled sheets of paper.
Marcella, our papermaking star intern,
happily puts the couching stand to good use.

Jackie, so happy she that she had to bust some moves.
Clearly the papermaking studio is the fun place to be!
And here's a sneak peak of the keepsake project!
Handmade abaca paper and screen printing. With 4,000
to make, the interns are getting into production mode...



Friday, July 6, 2012

Must-See at AAC

A pair of pants: screen prints by Anthony Dihle

On view at Arlington Arts Center is CTRL + P, featuring "nontraditional processes and forms" of printmaking. Screenprinters will find oodles of inspiration (more on the Screenprint Society blog) and Pyramid people will want to catch Gretchen Shermerhorn and Franc Rosario's collaboration works of firearm prints. The show is up until Sept. 16.

Thursday, July 5, 2012

..Get Your Boots In A Row.. 
....We're Ready To Go....


The interns at Pyramid Atlantic are helping create a rambunctious and fun art-making environment
we spend a lot of our time in the paper making studio
 working, laughing and occasionally getting soaked

We have embarked on a large project
making 4, 000 keepsakes to send out to the wonderful pyramid atlantic community



Here is Emily and Tim
two very excited interns 
playing with felts like kids in a candy shop
and pressing handmade paper for the keepsake project

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

1,000,000 Pennies Contributed = Success!

We made it.  We raised 1,000,000 pennies.  I could just say we raised $10,000, but 1,000,000 pennies just sounds so much cooler. 

We raised it on the 30th of June as promised. The money represents more than just the final tally of 1,000,000 pennies.  It represents an effort by a collective group of people in support of this wonderful organization.  A collective group of genders, ages, class, sexual identity, races, ethnicities, religions and politics. That is very inspiring.

Like you, I hunger for inspiration.  I hunger for that thing, at any point in the day, that reminds me that at our very core, we are generous and compassionate.  Sometimes we just need to be reminded.  I know that alone I can't do anything and I don't want to be lonely.  I want to be part of a large community that can move mountains or collect 1,000,000 pennies.

This is my last email.  I will be back again next Spring with more inspirational emails.  I think I really like writing them and I love hearing from you about them.  Until then, know that your your 1,000,000 pennies will help make possible 77 classes and workshops for people of all ages, 50 Internships for high school and college students, studio space for 439 artists to create work throughout the year & events that will invite over 7,000 people into Silver Spring.

Know that your pennies helped make it possible for artists of all ages and abilities to grow in our studios, to fall in love with learning through the arts of papermaking, printmaking and artistic books and to be a part of a diverse community that regularly inspires one another through their own self discoveries that the arts make possible.

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Inspiration Week 21 - 4 Days Away From 1,000,000

Okay folks, this Saturday is my last day. June 30th at the stroke of midnight, my penny campaign is over.  Where do we stand?

Well, this week was a big week and we stand at 900,000 or $9,000.  I could not have gotten this close without all of the penny philanthropists and penny partners. Thank you, thank you.  Also this week, a donor pledged to contribute $500, if I could come up with $500 by Saturday! That would put me at my goal of 1,000,000 pennies.  So, with $500 to go, if you haven't called me about a penny pick up or made a drop off, time is ticking.  Now is the time to contribute those pennies! Help me make the match! But first, your weekly inspiration

"Don't just do something, stand there.  That was one of the best pices of advice that I was ever given by one of my acting teachers at NYU.  Don't just do something, stand there.  Its a little counter intuitive I know.  Especially in an age where our days seem to fill up quickly and our Iphone is our trusty sidekick, always within arms reach.  But there is something about what my acting teacher said that resonates with me as I come closer and closer to the end of what I hope to be a successful conclusion to my 1,000,000 campaign. My acting teacher used the phrase one day while I was working on a scene.  "Jose, your too busy, slow down, stop, don't just do something, stand there, he said." I did and I actually started to listen to what the other actor had to say, became present and truly engaged in the scene. I started listening (which is a great thing to do when you're acting) and stopped acting (which is also a great thing to do when you're acting).  I started listening to the other actor AND (hope this makes sense) listening to myself as well.  I stopped trying so hard and found that by not "doing something," but standing there, I became more alive.

This campaign has been a time of doing, but also a time of standing there.  I have written many emails, but once I send them out, they are out of my hands.  I have to just stand there (or sit there, because I sit when I write the emails) and wait for them to land and resonate.  Its scary to stand there. I don't know if the emails will make sense or resonate with anyone, that's not something I can control.  I can control sharing with you the things that I feel hold me back and simultaneously propel me forward.  I can control the feeling of relief I experience once I have sent my email out and know that even if the email does not bring my campaign a contribution, the act of sending it out does bring me peace of mind.  The peace that comes from realizing that all the "doing" is not what life is really about.  Its really about standing there and listening.  Listening to others and listening to ourselves as a way of becoming more alive.  I am fortunate that everyday at Pyramid I listen to some of the most creative people share with me their ideas, hopes, dreams, fears, their funny stories and their heartbreaks.  I am really lucky to be part of such a vibrant and visceral community.  It makes standing there a very fulfilling thing to do."


I hope you are still inspired!

Your contributions support art classes and workshops, internships, studios for artists and events for people of all ages at Pyramid.  Together, we are a small army of philanthropists who do amazing things at Pyramid.

Its easy to join:

If all this penny stuff is too complicated and you just want to make a contribution, you can donate in any form of currency to Pyramid Atlantic by clicking here. I will add up your donation in pennies and include it in my campaign. I will take them to my friends at Eagle Bank

Join me this Saturday, June 30 from 6 pm to 9 pm for a night of Local Beer, Wine, Film, Music and Artmaking Night at Pyramid Atlantic. The cost is $10 (or $5 if you bring a 6 pack of craft beer)  which will help us reach our 1,000,000 penny goal.

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Inspiration for Week 20

What do you do with 10 days to go and 300,000 (or $3,000) more pennies to raise? You dig down deep and keep moving forward. 

You don't stop.  We have raised 700,000 pennies (or $7,000) to date.  In 19 weeks, so $3,000 more in 10 days, while a challenge is not impossible  People like you and me like a challenge.  We like the challenge of making arts education, artist studios and arts events possible for people of all ages and all abilities. We are a small group of people who care a whole lot.  So, here is your inspiration for this week:

"So last week on Father's Day, I did something that I had never done before in my life:  I took a golf lesson.  I have wanted to for about two years now, but there was one thing holding me back.  I was not prepared to be as bad as I knew I was going to be during that first lesson because that's what happens when you are trying to learn something new. You are really bad for a while.   I mean really bad because you are so conscious about what you are doing.  You are thinking about it every step of the way and it just sucks.  It almost takes all of the joy out of that thing that you are trying to get better at.  I always hated being bad at something as a kid. I would get so angry and that would make me try harder and harder and I would still suck.  I remember playing football in the front yard with my Dad and my cousin Pablo.  My Dad was quarterback for both teams and every time my Dad threw the ball, my cousin would score.  Everytime he threw it to me, I would either drop it or he would overthrow me or he would tackle me before I could score.  I was furious and eventually, I just walked off not wanting to play anymore.  I remember my Dad trying to talk to me, telling me to calm down, that it was just a game, but I couldn't listen.  It wasn't a game to me.  The irony, of course, is that my older son is that same way  He is a real athletic kid and can pick most things up rather quickly, but when he doesn't he just gets angrier and angrier and I talk to him and try to call him down and he doesn't listen.  Ironic, I know. 

Forme this scene of me trying something new and not being good at it right away and getting angry played it itself out over and over again in my life for years.  The setting changed (it wasn't always my front yard) and he characters changed (it wasn't always my Dad and my cousin), but the rest remained the same. It was me, mad at myself, because my expectations and my reality were at odds. I just could not slow down.  I could not enjoy the moment.  I think maybe that's why I like playing golf.  I find that the harder I try, the harder it is to to make contact with the darn ball, so it is really pointless to try harder. It would make for an incredibly miserable 3 hours and who has that kind of time.  So I just have to surrender and "embrace the suck,"


I think that's why I waited for as long as I did, I wanted to make sure that I was really into the game of golf first.  I went out and did a golf tournament and was terrible. I went to the driving range a few times.  I played 18 holes with a friend.  I was terrible. I don't think you could call what I was doing golf, but I loved it.  So I took the plunge and took a lesson.  As expected, I sucked.  The instructor worked with me on my swing and following through always reminding me to "not think too much."  (That's never as helpful as it sounds when its being told to you.)  I reminded myself to relax.  I thought about all the kids I coach in rookie baseball and how hard it is for those seven year olds to swing a bat for the first time and make contact with a little ball coming right at them.  It sure seems easy to me 34 years later.  I forget what it was like to be seven and seeing that ball headed right for me and freezing up.  I had a coach when I played little league baseball in Miami for the Latin All Starts named Coach Roberto.  He was the nicest guy. I was a terrible baseball player.  One day he saw me struggling with my hitting and took me aside and said "look, I am going to throw the ball and you just swing the bat.  That's it, don't worry if the pitch look good or bad, just swing that bat everytime the ball is headed your way." So I did and I tell you what, I hit the ball.  I hit the ball more than I ever had working with Coach Roberto.  My expectations and my reality were simpatico.

So, there was one thing my instructor said on Sunday that has stayed with me.  He said, "Listen,guys go out and say, hey, let's hit some golf balls, when actually what they should be saying is let's swing the clubs.  You need to think about swinging your golf club and that golf ball, well, it just happens to be in the way." I like that. The ball just happens to be on the tee when I am swinging my club.  It was liberating to think that way, for me anyway, and it gave me something to focus on during the lesson rather than continuing to notice that my ball was going very far when I was making contact.  I got through it.  My first step into being really bad and being alright with that and working at it still, hoping that one day, I get a little better, and enjoying the journey regardless of how long it takes for that day to arrive.  I have my next lesson this Sunday."

I hope you are still inspired!

Your contributions support art classes and workshops, internships, studios for artists and events for people of all ages at Pyramid.

Together, we do amazing things at Pyramid.

Its easy to join:
If all this penny stuff is too complicated and you just want to make a contribution, you can donate in any form of currency to Pyramid Atlantic by clicking here. I will add up your donation in pennies and include it in my campaign. I will take them to my friends at Eagle Bank

Join me this Saturday, June 23 from 6 pm to 9 pm for a Tiki Party and Artmaking Night at Pyramid Atlantic. We will have "Tiki Party" themed hands-on arts activities and fancy fruity cocktails for all. The cost is $10  which will help us reach our 1,000,000 penny goal.

Friday, June 15, 2012

Spread The Word, Pyramid's 2012 Book Arts Fair Is Here!


Calling All Artists!  The preeminent book arts event on the east coast wants you!

 Apply today to have your art at the  2012 Biennial Book Arts Fair presented by Pyramid Atlantic Arts Center.  A weekend for artists, scholars, collectors, and art lovers!

Deadline: July 30, 2012"

http://www.zapplication.org/public_fair_preview.php?fair_id=2137

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Inspiration For Week 19: 17 Days To Go

17 days to go and 300,000 (or $3,000) more pennies to raise.  It might seem a little daunting, but can you believe that we raised 700,000 pennies (or $7,000) to date.  In 18 weeks.  All from people like you who want to make arts education, artist studios and arts events possible for people of all ages and all abilities. We are a group of people who care a whole lot. 

So, if you haven't joined the penny campaign, now is the time to do it as we see the finish line from here. But wait, almost forgot about the inspiration:

"So, I don't believe that you change as you get older. I think that the older you get, the more you become the person that you have always been.  I think that is because there are fewer people to try to impress, fewer things to lie about and less time to pretend to be someone that you will never be. 

As I have gotten older, I have observed a few things about myself.  I am a fan of the underdog, the quiet kid, and the outsider.  I am bored by routine and predictability.  I believe in a healthy disrespect for authority.  I believe that things work out.  I admit I may not always like how they work out, but I believe that in the end, they always do.  I believe that showing up + sticking with it =success.  I believe that you have to embrace the suck.

I didn't always feel like this.  For the longest time, I believed that following the rules and being liked was the road to success regardless of how I really felt.  I dared not speak up and ask for more because someone might take from me the little that I had.  This all changed for me my last year in graduate school at New York University's Tisch School of the Arts.  I came in to my 2nd year critique in May of 1995 and was told by my professors what a horrible actor I was and how I would never work professionally. I left the room that day, devastated.  I had worked so hard my whole life for this and in one afternoon I was thrown for a personal and professional loop.  The next day I cried, screamed, and thought about dropping out.  I felt that I had lost my way and didn't know what I was going to do next, but a great thing happened to me that summer while I lost my way, I discovered myself.  I discovered that as devastating and disappointing this was, I was not going to let anyone tell me what I was and was not capable of and I still wanted to pursue a career as an actor. I still felt that I had something to offer and I realized that the road was just not going to be as easy as I had once imagined it.  So, that summer, I "embraced the suck."  I felt terrible, felt exposed, felt like a hack and a phony, but I was not going to let these feelings get in the way.  I found a great coach and worked everyday.  The next year was my best year ever in graduate school.  I made friends, found colleagues and supporters where I had once before only seen an adversaries. I took risks my last ,year and I failed, believe me, many times. They were my failures, though and I was able to own them and move on.  At the end of the 3rd year, all of the students at NYU do a showcase for agents in New York City.  I can tell you quite happily that I had about 35 agents interested in working with me after my showcase, but that's not the point. 

The point is don't give up.  As hard as things get sometimes, I think back to that summer and what would have happened if I had given up and quit.  I believe that I am on this earth to encourage the underdogs, the quiet kids and the outsider to not quit and find a place for themselves.  The point is that regardless of where we are today, at this moment, there has been a time in our life when we have felt like that person and it has nothing to do with the amount of money you make, where you live or what you do. We all know what its like to be and we all know what it took to overcome.  So "embrace the suck" and keep plugging along because it will all work out in the end and as the saying goes, "if doesn't work out, it's not the end."

I hope I inspired you to join my ever growing community of penny philanthropists.  Your contributions support art classes and workshops, internships, studios for artists and events for people of all ages at Pyramid. We are an amazing place. Its easy to join:

If all this penny stuff is too complicated and you just want to make a contribution, you can donate in any form of currency to Pyramid Atlantic by clicking here. I will add up your donation in pennies and include it in my campaign. I will take them to my friends at Eagle Bank

Join me this Saturday, June 16th from 2 pm to 6 pm for Artmaking & Cupcakes in Downtown Hyattsville at 5200 Baltimore Avenue. We will do paper making, screen printing, and bookmaking, along with cookie decorating, and other hands-on activities. The cost is $10  which will help us reach our 1,000,000 penny goal.

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Week 18 - What It Means To Me

We are at 670,000 pennies today (or $6,700.).  We have 3 weeks to go and 330,000 pennies to raise.  That's a good goal to have 3 weeks out.


Thanks for all your support.  Every time I see someone out on the street, they ask me how its going and encourage me to keep writing.  Thank you, thank you.  Here is your inspiration:
 
"What is Pyramid Atlantic? You know, when I got this job 4 and 1/2 years ago, one of the things  I wanted was for Pyramid to be a place that my dad or mom or brother could come to and feel uncomfortable. I did not want them to have that "is it alright if I'm here" feeling because they weren't artists.  My dad was a salesman and my mom worked as a receptionist at a Doctor's office. So, if they were to come in tomorrow, I would want them to come in and feel comfortable. One of the reasons I write these weekly inspirational emails, other than to raise money for Pyramid Atlantic Art Center, the 501c3 of which I am the Executive Director, is to help others feel comfortable. 

I think from these emails you might have an idea of the kind of place Pyramid Atlantic is  Well, I want share with you what Pyramid is to me.  I want to start with our mission statement, because we worked on it for about 2 years, so I need to use it.  At Pyramid Atlantic our mission to build communities that give life to papermaking, printmaking and artist books.  Nice mission statement, but you still might be saying "huh"?.  Let's start at the top, our mission is to build communities.  Not community, but communities.  That's important, because there is not one be all, end all community.  There are communities and one person may be a member of many different communities.  So we say communities because we want to build communities of artists who value this work and also young people, seniors, business people, etc.  I think you get the idea. Now why is building communities important, couldn't we just make art and call it a day.  Well, every human being, regardless of age, gender, socio economic status or profession wants to belong to something or someone.  Right after food, shelter and safety is belonging.  We all hunger for it and we look for it our whole lives until we find it, it is a key to being happy.  It's not just something that is necessary for artistic development, it is essential for human development. The next part is "that give life."  Why is that important?  Its important because life is about never ending possibility. Being alive gives you the opportunity to make decisions, change your mind, try something new, apologize, fail and try again.  Life = possibility and Pyramid Atlantic is a place that is full of possibilities.  Papermaking, printmaking and artist books.  Why these mediums?  Why not sculpture or painting or dance or music? In my opinion, these art froms are the most accessible.  If you walked in to Pyramid tomorrow and had never made a sheet of paper before, you could walk into the papermaking studio and make one 5 minutes later.  There is power in that accessibility.  These art forms are also the most democratic.  Most of the time when you make prints, you make multiples or editions.  Rather than having the art work be exclusive, (there is only one of these in the world) its inclusive and affordable.  Its about putting art into the hands of people and building love and appreciation.  Artist Books are magical.  The endless folds and hidden pockets.  The assembling by hand.  One minute, its just sheets of paper, book board, a needle and thread and the next minute you have a book in your hands.  A book you can take anywhere, share with anyone and fill with your hearts desire.  Who doesn't love magic.  It's powerful stuff. So that's Pyramid to me and that's why I'm here."

I hope I inspired you to join my ever growing community of penny philanthropists who help support art classes and workshops, internships, studios for artists and events for people of all ages at Pyramid. It is an amazing group of individuals.  It's fun and easy:


If all this penny stuff is too complicated and you just want to make a contribution, you can donate in any form of currency to Pyramid Atlantic by clicking here. I will add up your donation in pennies and include it in my campaign.

Join me on Friday, June 8 at Noon for lunch at Pyramid.  I am grilling burgers, veggie burgers and hotdogs.  Its a great way to end the work week. Bring a side dish and your pennies and I will take them to my friends at Eagle Bank.