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.

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