Tuesday, June 19, 2018

Woodstown Fourth Friday

This week I will participating in Woodstown's Fourth Friday event! There will be vendors, food trucks, and children's activities all along historic Main Street. I will be set up at the beautiful GW Pens Studio & Gallery. I'll have my archival prints, greeting cards, aluminum prints, magnets, drinking coasters, and so much more! All made by me, in my Salem County art studio. I hope to see you!

Tuesday, June 12, 2018

ArtBiz Lancaster Mastermind Workshop

Last week I had the opportunity to work with Alyson B. Stanfield during her Mastermind Workshop in Lancaster, PA. Alyson is the author of "I'd Rather Be In The Studio" and provides awesome webinars, podcasts, blog posts, and other relevant information to help artists build their business. If you are an artist and you haven't heard of Alyson, be sure to sign up for her newsletter to get acquainted!

On Thursday I left my house at 5AM to get ahead of the morning traffic and planned to arrive at the Perkins Restaurant in Avondale right as they opened. I pulled in at 6AM and had a delicious breakfast served by the sweetest waitress, Barbara. I was back on the road in no time and made it to the Marriott at Penn Square by 7:45AM. I was so excited to be meeting Alyson! Over the last four years, I have read her blog countless times, tuned into webinars, and participated in online classes. I was moments away from working with her about MY art business. How amazing!

The first day's morning session was jam packed full of "big picture" activities. We used our elevator speeches as our introductions to the group and shared our favorite accomplishment from this past year. Alyson provided us with a handout that would help us identify opportunities. We wrote down 3 top accomplishments within the last 5 months. We used the worksheet to identify how we could expand upon those accomplishments and identify what we need to do in order to achieve it, as well as recognize any obstacles that may hinder us along the way.

After a short break, we started a question burst exercise which was adapted from Hal Gregersen's "Better Brainstorming"in the March-April 2018 issue of Harvard Business Review. The presenter had one minute to describe a challenge that they are currently facing in their art business along with any emotions that the presenter is feeling. The group had 6 minutes to ask open ended questions in relation to the challenge. We could not offer solutions or suggestions. The presenter could not answer the questions and would record the questions for further review. After the question asking portion time was completed, the presenter had one minute to share which questions were most helpful or thought provoking. The presenter was also encouraged to share what emotions they were now feeling related to the challenge.

The question burst exercise is used to offer deeper divergent thinking and enable creative brainstorming. Alyson was extremely helpful in rephrasing questions so that the presenter had a more open ended question to consider. It was very hard to not ask yes or no questions! I found this exercise to be very helpful and would love to try it with some of my local art business owner friends.

We had a guest speaker come talk to our group: Loryn Spangler-Jones is a local Lancaster artist and owner of the LSJ Studios Gallery. She discussed her social media practice, different income streams, and community involvement. She was full of energy and shared lots of great ideas! We had an interesting discussion about pricing works of art and how to talk to customers who may think the prices are too high.

In the afternoon, we participated in an Artist Case Study. We were given the background and financial information about a factious artist and were to create solutions in regard to her artistic business. In our breakout group, we came up with a list full of ideas! As we were discussing her options with the entire group, we talked about how obvious some of her options were. Alyson encouraged us to use the same technique about ourselves at a later date and that we might discover similar, obvious solutions in our own business.

After Thursday's session Alyson and Mesa, her assistant, had a cocktail party for us. We had Rosé wine and decadent appetizers. Everyone was having a great time networking and enjoying each other's company. We decided to continue our evening at Tellus 360, a local bar with a rooftop area. It was a gorgeous night! After dinner I went for a swim in the hotel pool. It was very refreshing!

The next day we focused on specific goals for ourselves and started our session with a worksheet for Strategy Session Focus. We had to identify our top 3 goals for the next 6 months and the obstacles we might face while obtaining those goals. After we individually filled out our worksheets, we participated in a Mastermind Strategy Session where each presenter shared one goal and the group had 10 minutes to discuss ways in which they could achieve that goal. Alyson organized the groups by categories and I was in the sales group. We had four people in our group and we all gave and received so many awesome ideas!

Throughout the two days, there were also designated times where each artist would share their best business practice tip with the group. There were so many amazing tips about being productive, hiring help, open houses, social media, cataloging artwork, bookkeeping, scheduling, and so much more! I really enjoyed listening to the other artists discuss their most successful practices in their businesses.

Alyson was so attentive to our needs and skillfully led our group through self and group discoveries. Over the two days I learned so much, not just about my art business, but also about how to help other artists! I feel so honored to have participated in such game changing conversations with pivotal contemporary artists. So much trust was built while sharing our dreams, accomplishments, setbacks, and future plans. It was so emotional leaving such a POWERFUL group of artistic individuals. There wasn’t a dry eye in the room. Below are some pictures from the ArtBiz Lancaster Mastermind Workshop along with a list and links to the artists I worked with.

Group photo courtesy of Mesa

Me and Loryn Spangler-Jones

Me and Alyson B. Stanfield

Tellus 360

 Group at Tellus 360 Rooftop. Photo courtesy of Mesa

Some brainstorming and questions asked

Morning of Day 2

With Dora Ficher

With Lina Ferrara and Rachel Brask

With Mesa

With Mickey Baxter-Spade

Artists at the Lancaster Mastermind Workshop
Rachel Brask
Lina Ferrara
Jacqueline Perreault
Mary K. Bryson
Linda Hugues
Dora Ficher
Patty Hawkins
Jerry Cable
Mickey Baxter-Spade
Nancy Murty
Brooke Harker
Lynn Goldstein
Maryanne Buschini
Elise Nicely
Dot Procter
Thyra Moore

Tuesday, June 5, 2018

Calendar Donation Update

We're almost half way through this year and I wanted to provide an update on the 2018 Salem County Farmlands Calendar donation. In total, 125 calendars were sold and a donation of $700 was made to the Woodstown FFA! This included extra money customers donated towards the cause as well as an extra donation from myself. The calendar donation was used to offset the registration costs for the students who attended the NJ State FFA Convention on May 23-25th.

Deanna Miller, Woodstown FFA advisor and agriculture teacher stated: "At this convention the students particpated in various events including quiz bowl, prepared speaking, and creed speaking. Additionally we had jacket winners, scholarship recipients, and were rated as a superior chapter within the state among other recognitions and accolades."

Thank you to everyone who purchased a calendar and helped these students attend this year's state convention! It is so awesome to be able to help this young students in their agricultural education journey. I hope you are enjoying your calendar so far. If you have two minutes, please help me improve next year's calendar by answering my calendar survey. Click here to take the survey. 

Below are pictures from the Woodstown FFA's Facebook page from their convention experience.

Students headed to the New Jersey State FFA Convention

Nathan Sparks, Treasurer of the Year

Tuesday, May 29, 2018

Getting Back on Track

The last two weeks have been a complete blur. So much has transpired and I have experienced almost every emotion possible: shock, grief, disbelief, regret, sadness, nervousness, disappointment, raw, excitement, and most importantly, love. I wanted to take the time to reflect on the events and appreciate the journey.

I knew when May started that it would be a very busy month. I had been working feverishly to finish my painting in time for one of my biggest art shows of the year, Salem County Arts in Bloom. But, life had other plans. On May 10th, I received an early morning phone call from my mom informing me that my Grandmom had passed away. Even though she had cancer and was battling like a true champion, we were all still in complete shock. She had just one week left of her treatments and her doctors had expressed how wonderful she was doing just the day before.

The next few days I spent grieving her death and realizing just how unpredictable life can be. I realized I had to stop my efforts of finishing my painting and take the time to work through the emotions and be with my family. I also was organizing the photograph slideshow for her funeral mass. It was so much fun looking at pictures from throughout her life and remembering all the special moments we shared together. My absolute favorite was our weekly, four generation shopping trips to Aldi's. On Fridays my mom and Grandmom would met me and my kids at Aldi's. We would all do our weekly grocery shopping, together.

My brother was flying in from Indiana for the funeral which was held on May 15th. The night he flew in, my family came over and we finished organizing things for her funeral the next day. Since he would be flying out the next day right after the funeral, Brandon and I stayed up talking until midnight. We were both exhausted but it was so nice to be able to catch up on such a short trip home.

We had my Grandmom's mass at her church, The Church of the Incarnation, in Manuta. It was a beautiful send off of her. As I was kneeling in front of her casket saying my last goodbyes, my mom joined me. I wanted to remember everything about my Grandmom and at that moment I couldn't believe I'd never see her again. After the services, we had a delicious luncheon at the Telford Inn, and as a family, we went back to her house. We reminisced, watched old home movies, and took some group pictures.

My Grandmom was cremated and on Friday, May 18th (my Mom's birthday) we buried her with my Pop-Pop at the Gloucester County Veterans Cemetery. Afterwards, our family went to lunch at Gete's Diner. Later that afternoon I began setting up for the Arts in Bloom, which started the next day. I stayed up late and got up early and somehow I was able to get everything ready in time for the big show.

The next two days were filled with great conversations with loyal customers and new faces during the Arts in Bloom tour. Even though the weekend's weather was rainy and gloomy, I still had a great turn out for the event. You can read all about this year's Arts in Bloom by clicking here.

I was too tired to take my setup down, so on Monday, as a family, we spent the morning driving around town to pick up my direction signs and visit with some friends along the way. My husband invited them to come over and see my display. I decided to extend the invitation to anyone else that would be interested, via Facebook. That night, I was open from 4-8PM and had a great turn out of people who wanted to come but the weekend was just too busy. I was so glad that I kept the display up an extra day for others to enjoy and might do it again next year.

I spent the next two days disassembling my display and putting everything back where it belonged. I had just finished in time to get ready for my husband's cousin's wedding. We had a amazing rehearsal dinner at DiPaolo's Ristorante in Pennsgrove. The next day was the wedding which was held at Masso's Red Pine in Glassboro. It was a spectacular night celebrating the marriage of Bobby and Noelle! Everything was so beautiful! You can see pictures below.

The next day was spent prepping for a surprise birthday party for my mom! Before my Grandmom had passed away, we planned to do it Memorial Day weekend but with everything that had happened and other plans possibly being made, we weren't sure it was going to come to together. However, things fell into place and I spent the night making side dishes and decorating my house with my sister. On Sunday morning, I picked up mom's birthday cake from Terrigno's Bakery in Bridgeton, a special family tradition of ours. My mom was completely surprised! It was so nice showering her with love after a stressful and sad couple of weeks.

So now, here I am, looking to get back on track after a whirlwind two weeks. I wanted to write this blog post to appreciate everything that has happened, good and bad. To give myself perspective and share my experiences with you. I am so grateful for the family and friends who took the time to send a card, cook us dinner, or deliver a dessert during the wake of my Grandmom's passing. It is truly appreciated! I am looking forward to getting back into the studio and finishing my painting. Stay tuned for details about the big reveal.

Some of my favorite pictures of my Grandmom and I

My Grandmom, July 11, 1956

Me and Brandon

Me, my brother, Brandon, and my sister, Dana

My cousins

My Grandparent's Headstone

My Arts in Bloom Display

The Groom, Bobby, and my husband, Chester

Bobby, Noelle, Me, and Chester

Chester and I


Tuesday, May 22, 2018

Arts in Bloom Review

This past weekend was the 10th Annual Salem County Arts in Bloom Studio Tour. I am overwhelmed with the support that I received. This year was special celebrating the 10th year of Arts in Bloom with a 10 Year Retrospective Show. In the spring of 2008 I had changed my college major from Biology to Art and this year's tour commemorated that experience. See the video below for a walk through of the display.

I am super grateful to those who enjoyed my work and chose to purchase products to make them apart of their home. Every purchase truly means so much! “Curious 601” was sold to a lovely couple, Nancy & Ron Cataleno, from Moorestown. I thought it was so ironic that they were from the town where I used to teach! It was their first time on the tour and we had a great conversation about how they found out about Arts in Bloom. They were shopping at Matteo Family Kitchens & Flooring and happened to see the brochure. I was one of the stops they chose and I am so glad that they did!

“Curious 601” was used for the 2016 Arts in Bloom publications, the 2017 Pitman Gallery & Art Center's Pitman Art Stroll, as well as shown in various galleries throughout southern New Jersey. She has been admired by many people but I am SO HAPPY that she now resides with a fellow artist in a town that I hold dear to my heart.

I am so honored to document and preserve the beautiful country living in southern New Jersey through my original acrylic paintings and photography. The most rewarding aspect of being an artist is being able to witness customers recognize or make personal connections with the landscapes I depict. Thank you to everyone who took the time to come meet me and view my artwork. I had visitors from Arizona, Florida, New York, Pennsylvania, Delaware, and of course, New Jersey.

Below are pictures and video from this year's Salem County Arts in Bloom Studio Tour.

Nancy & Ron Cataleno

Tuesday, May 15, 2018

Update: Arts in Bloom Preview Event

Unfortunately, due to the passing of my Grandmother, I will not be doing a Friday night preview event. My heart is broken mourning the loss of my sweet Grandmom. I am so thankful for all the special moments we shared and glad my children were able to love and cherish her as much as I did.

I will be revealing my newest painting at a different time, stay tuned for an update.

Tuesday, May 8, 2018

Creative Capital Artist Professional Development Program

I am so excited to share that I have been selected to participate in the 2018 Artists Creative Capital Professional Development Program. It is a four month program designed to help New Jersey artists reach the next level in their careers through in person workshops, online classes, and group consultations.

I am so grateful to be selected for this amazing opportunity and honored to represent Salem County. I’m excited to learn new ways how my paintings and photography can serve as a platform to promote and advocate for the active agricultural community in southern New Jersey.

This past weekend I participated in the first event of the Creative Capital Artist Professional Development Program. We met at Stockton University's Kramer Hall in beautiful Hammonton, NJ. The session was for 30 selected southern New Jersey artists to help develop their artistic career. Our first portion was about Strategic Planning with Ela Trojan and James Scruggs, our instructors.

We first discuss elevator speeches, a technique used to have a brief introduction rehearsed to deliver to people interested in your artwork. It should be about 40-60 seconds and provide a brief background to your work as well as what you are currently working on. We took time to write our own and then practiced delivering them with a partner. We then worked on a specific meeting and negotiation role playing with one of the artists in the group who had an upcoming meeting.

After lunch, we then broke into smaller groups to discuss finances and time/business management. My first group talked about art business management. Some topics included: pricing, contracts, negotiating, and business types. When switched presenters and discussed finances in running an art business. Some topics we covered were: budgeting and different income streams.

We will continue to learn through webinars, online classes and a wrap up event in Trenton in September. This opportunity is made possible by the South Jersey Cultural Alliance, Geraldine R. Dodge Foundation, New Jersey State Council on the Arts, and Creative Capital.