Jan
12
2011

A Tale of Two Vacuums by M Theresa Brown

When I realized that the well dressed, polite man standing outside our front door was selling vacuum cleaners, I inwardly sighed. But I decided, "What the heck, why not?" He would never talk us into buying something as unnecessary or as expensive as one of those door to door vacuum cleaners. But I respect people trying to make a living and cold calling has to be among the hardest in terms of challenges, so we opened the door to him.

OK. We were impressed. The salesman was a professional wizard at his demonstration, his presentation and marketing skills. Compared to our aged model vacuum, his vacuum cleaner did everything but sing and dance. To this day we are not sure what happened....maybe it was the ease in which the dog hair disappeared. Maybe it the expected mass execution of all those millions of " invisible to the naked eye" dust mites...whatever it was that tilted the decision in his favor, two hours later, we owned a $1200.00 vacuum cleaner. As he drove away he said to us, "You should think about doing some art workshops as I know someone who organizes them."

A decade passed. We continued our art careers, marketing ourselves and our art at a number of venues-the art shows all over the nation, the specialty shows, magazines, in public, on the Internet.....and added a few workshops and private lessons to the mix.

The vacuum cleaner sat enshrined in the closet and was pulled out when necessary. We had learned a subtle but valuable lesson. No matter how much you may have paid for the most expensive vacuum cleaner in the world, in order for it to be effective, someone still has to push it.

Several years ago, we decided to follow up the salesman's suggestion. We contacted the person he had mentioned, and that person also directed us to another arena of marketing. Sure enough, within a few years, that long ago tip opened up a new, profitable stream of income for two artist entrepreneurs.

Our "Tale of Two Vacuums" is pretty typical of every artist's art marketing journey. Chance meetings, when acted upon, can open up an opportunity a month, a year, a decade later and the artist simply has to be ready and willing to pursue it. The key for any artist in business, is to be aware of when it is time to pursue a new or additional avenue of income.
For a time, we referred to our vacuum cleaner as one of our most expensive impulse buys. But before long, we were referring to it as one of our better investments! 
And yes, we still have it.

Need help? A big jump star? Join us all day Sunday, January 16 from 12:00-6:00 for an in depth step by step layout and implementation of your plan! Our popular art marketing, audio CD, Art For Sale, is included in the seminar! 

 

www.ArtCareerExperts.com

 

Dec
13
2010

Spotlight on Artist ANN FLAHERTY by M Theresa Brown

When a participant in one of our art marketing seminars came up to me afterwards and began to chat about some of the aspects of things we had discussed, little did I realize what an amazing person I was talking with!
Sometimes touching the lives of thousands starts with a simple concept: Finding a need and fulfilling it. 7 years ago, Fiber artist and quilter, Ann Flaherty, from Fayetteville, NC,  is an artist who did just that. Not only did she use her artistic abilities to solve an immediate challenge in her own family with a lonely grandchild who missed his Iraq deployed daddy, she took on the challenge of making sure that ALL lonely children of militarily deployed families had the comfort of soft, snuggly quilts with photo images of their loved ones on the surface!

Ann did not share this story with me until later, through our emails, and I confess to wiping away tears. Her story has so touched my heart that I offered to share it with our many readers.  The story speaks for itself.  

So, in Ann's words:

Operation Kid Comfort

operationkidcomfort.blogspot.com

Comfort. Create. Unite. Operation Kid Comfort creates comfort quilts and pillows for children of deployed service men and women, and offers an opportunity for America to unite in support of military families. Please take a few moments to scroll on down, look at our pictures, and read about our success.

OpKid Beginnings 2005

So many people ask me where Operation Kid Comfort came from, and the simple answer is:
“from love, compassion and patriotism.”

My son-in-law, Mike, was deployed to Iraq at the onset of the war. His son, eighteen-month-old Christian, had no understanding why his Daddy was not coming home from work each evening. Christian had tantrums, became withdrawn, and hoarded photos of Mike in his room. My heart broke, seeing how much my little grandson missed his beloved Daddy.

As a quilt artist, I’ve used photography in my quilts, and made Christian a quilt so he could hold his Daddy close. It worked…and he dragged that quilt everywhere. Christian loved showing the images of him and Daddy at the beach, playing on the floor, at the park, and with Mommy too.

Christian’s little friend, Mikey, also needed a quilt. Mikey’s Dad was serving with my son-in-law, and his mother was in Afghanistan. It worked for Mikey too. His grandmother wrote:


"Thank you so much for making a quilt for our grandson Michael. When his father left for Iraq, Michael was lost, but one month later his Mom left for Afghanistan - he was devastated...One night, I heard him talking upstairs in his bed. I listened at the door to a conversation between this precious 2 1/2 year old and his Mommy's and Daddy's pictures on the quilt...I know having this wonderful quilt has eased the separation and will make the reunion of this family so much better."

I made one for another child…and another…and a few kids later, the reality of how important these photo-transfer quilts are to the children of deployed soldiers, and to the parents who now felt relief that they would not be forgotten by their little ones at home. Many children could benefit from a photo-transfer quilt, but I could not do this alone.

The Armed Services YMCA (ASYMCA) of Fort Bragg/Pope AFB loved the idea and welcomed the opportunity to help me found Operation Kid Comfort. The ASYMCA staff, Lynne Grates, Peggy Mikol, Deborah Graybeal, Deborah Hall and Melanie Spangler have all worked so hard to make Operation Kid Comfort a reality, while maintaining the many other programs that the 'Y' offers to the Fort Bragg and Pope AFB community.

As a non-profit with more than 150 years experience assisting America’s military and their families, I knew the ASYMCA as an organization that could see my plan to Comfort! Create! and Unite! to the end. Our mission: to provide FREE photo-transfer quilts and pillows to children of America's deployed service men and women, and to offer an opportunity for America to unite in support of military families.

A chance meeting with Dr. Kathleen Gruben at a weekend car rally, led me to her Georgia Southern advertising students. During the Fall 2003 semester, Georgia Southern University’s advertising class took on Operation Kid Comfort as their project. These remarkable young minds created marketing strategies and advertising campaigns; they developed plans for fundraising, and did all of this according to geographic region. Bases across the country now have a guide for establishing Operation Kid Comfort specific to their region. So much of our marketing process is derived from their exceptional talents.

The support Operation Kid Comfort has received has been nothing short of phenominal. In Fall, 2003, Karey Bresenhan, Quilts, Inc. President, the International Quilt Market and all its vendors pitched in and contributed more than $16,000 of fabric, batting, thread, and quilting necessities to get us started.

Local cleaners and laundries washed and pressed all the fabric.

Home Depot of Fayetteville, NC donated cabinets to store it in.

Anthony Battista of HP's Army Print Division found two printer/scanners for us. Anthony continues to support us with regular donations of ink to keep those photos printed.

Through the compassion and patriotism of so many other contributors and volunteers, and under the direction of the Armed Services YMCA, Operation Kid Comfort was formed.

In May, 2004, Operation Kid Comfort was awarded the Raytheon's Best New Program of the Year at a congressional luncheon on Capital Hill. Also that month, CNN American Morning highlighted the success of Operation Kid Comfort in their weekly Extra Effort Series.

Since then, Operation Kid Comfort has been the subject of many news and magazine articles: locally, nationally, and even internationally, from the Fayetteville Observer to the Army Times to Quilter's Newsletter Magazine. We have enjoyed the attention of publications and programming from all corners of America.

Just since January, 2005, more than eighty volunteers have donated more than 2,000 hours to make Operation Kid Comfort quilts and pillows. As of June, 2005 we had served more than 850 children through the Armed Services YMCA of Fort Bragg/Pope AFB, and expect that number to multiply by years end.

It was January 2002 when I made that first quilt for my grandson Christian. Now his Daddy prepares to leave again, and I will make a quilt for his little brother, Joshua, who will be eighteen months old when they are separated. I don't relish the need of another quilt for another grandson, but I am glad to know all of us at Operation Kid Comfort (volunteers, ASYMCA staff, and contributors) are choosing to Make A Difference for so many military families.

I'll make Joshua's quilt on October 22nd, Make A Difference Day 2005 and Operation Kid Comfort's second anniversary. On that day we will celebrate our success with our second annual Operation Kid Comfort Quilt-A-Thon (a great idea from our Georgia Southern students that proved so successful last year). We'll spend the day printing, and cutting, and sewing, and quilting and most of all...HAVING FUN as we celebrate this very important anniversary while MAKING A DIFFERENCE for the Fort Bragg community. Think about joining us...last year's event proved enjoyable, memorable and productive.

This is just one story…and there are many other OpKid stories to tell. If you have an OpKid story to share, whether it be how your child received his or her quilt, or a touching moment in an OpKid workshop, or just a funny anecdote that relates to your Operation Kid Comfort experience, please use the comment link here (the little envelope icon). And of course, we always welcome your words of support. We all look forward to hearing from you and reading about your instances of  "love, compassion and patriotism".

And please don't hesitate to contact us via email at operationkidcomfort@gmail.com.

We look forward to hearing from you.

Ann Flaherty

ASYMCA Volunteer and Proud Military Mom
___________________________________

Operation Kid Comfort is now operating at military installations across America from Fort Drum, NY to San Diego Naval Base, in Alaska, Hawaii and overseas. On September 11th, President Obama visited our Washington, D.C. group as part of the National Day of Service. Please include a link to donate at www.braggasymca.org 

 

Provided by M Theresa Brown of Art Career Experts

 

 

Dec
10
2010

The Value of Workshops by M Theresa Brown

Years ago, when you wanted to know something about how to create art, your choices were limited. Either you read a book or went to college. There was no YouTube, DVDs and if you had TV (seriously-as recent as 40 years ago, many people did not!) you may catch a show with the earliest of the TV artists, Jon Gnagy! In fact, even  a store that sold JUST art supplies was pretty rare.  Summer painting workshops  have been around for a century or more but unless one had access to that location or circle of artists, there was little available for the average artist. You simply did the best you could with what you had or you gave up and pursued something else!

Unless one was trained as an illustrator as many fine  artists through history were, the very basics of techniques (the old" how to do it" stuff) was usually missing in the art programs.  Theory and experimental techniques abound, but the average person who simply wants to learn to paint is often at a disadvantage.

But nowaday, so much has changed. There are art materials availabe for kids that many of us would have died for.  There are thousands of how to DVDs and books with amazing illustrations.  There are online art supply stores that have art tools available that once, only those in the loop knew about or could afford....but despite ALL of the available tools and equipment and online lessons, the very best way to learn is to DO it! It does you no good to collect all those art supplies and DVDs and not use them.

And that is where workshops come into play. Even the simplest of art workshops empower the participants with knowledge and skills they did not have before entering! More importantly, a workshop "makes you do it!" Very few people are self motivated enough to stick with a frustrating hobby until they learn it. But art workshops let you sample everything from techniques to mediums to styles to subject matter. And the participant is encouraged by both the instructor as well as the other artists.  It does not take long to complete a beautiful project with guidance!

Although my primary income is in the sales of my art and I derive much pleasure from happy clients and their reactions to the artwork,  more recently I've discovered the same thing in workshop participants.  The marketing workshops are more of an ephiphany for the artists who want to know how to sell their art wheras the technique driven mini-workshops are an ephiphany to the artist to whom a whole new world has just opened!

Maybe it's the feeling of “I did it myself” that makes their day!  Maybe it's the discovery of a talent they thought did not exist.  Even accomplished artists who step outside of their comfort zone into another realm of art, derive enjoyment from participating in a workshop.

Whether you teach an occasional art class, lesson or regular classes, realize that you have just given the gift of discovery to whoever you are teaching!  And especially with adult classes, you have opened up a future for many of them. A future of an endless opportunity to discover art in a thousand or more ways! And that surely beats sitting in front of the TV or computer!

So join a class, teach a class……when you have students who have paid to be there (including you) you have their full attention, enthusiasm and  gratitude and  doesn’t that make YOU feel good?!

 

Art Career Experts

 

 

Great Deals

Back To Class online: up to 85% off with online exclusive sales

Products To Consider

FREE Video Art Lessons

Learning Art The Easy and Simple Way with Jerry's Artarama FREE Video Art Lessons

 

Facebook Fans

Recent Comments

Comment RSS