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Vote for me – Small Business Grant

Hi everyone,

I’ve been taking a break from blogging for a while. I am far more visual than I am wordy, so at times, I just focus on the images. There are some new ones I want to share with you, but first, I have something to tell you about. I recently applied for a small business grant.

FedEx is offering to award $25,000 to the small business with the most votes. With that kind of money, I could create some great new products for you guys. I have some ideas for my Women Behaving Badly series that would help women and girls everywhere learn more about their place in history. So many women have contributed to the building of this country and our way of life. We should know who they are.

To that end, I want to print posters, informative postcards, collectible card decks (like baseball cards with stats and all), basically beautiful educational tools. Ideally, some would be for sale while others will be distributed to school aged kids. I want to inspire our young people, especially our young girls to enter high power, high paying fields like STEM, politics, business… fields in which the feminine touch is in short supply.

I am asking for your help. Please vote for me so that I can make my plans a reality.

 

 

UPDATE: The ballots have been cast and unfortunately, I have not been chosen this time around. Thank you to everyone who took time to vote (and help me troubleshoot my buttons). I will let you all know about any future opportunities that arise.

 

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Battling Unconscious Biases with Art

I may have mentioned this before but I love listening to podcasts. My list seems to grow every month as more, interesting series come to my attention. I stared listening to Radio Lab a few years ago and it was like my gateway drug. Podcasts allow me to insert information into my brain while I am working and inspire me to apply new concepts to my art.

It was through podcasts that I learned of some of the women I painted or my Women Behaving Badly series. I heard their stories, learned of their deeds and asked myself, why have I never heard of these women before? So, I set myself to the task of using my art to teach others. I felt as though I had finally found my purpose.

Listening to Hidden Brian today, I heard an episode which added to my motivation. The topic of the episode was unconscious bias as it relates to women, particularly women in leadership roles. Women who have the “masculine” traits necessary to be seen as good leaders are often considered overbearing and unlikable. When women display the expected “feminine” traits of being caring and compassionate, they are assumed to be weak and incompetent. The podcast calls this the “double bind”. It is a damned if you do, damned if you don’t situation.

The end of the podcast suggests that if we are to get women out of this double bind situation, we need to change society’s perception of women. I have chosen to showcase women in history as my way of changing that perception. I highlight women leaders, inventors and healers of nations. Not only do they inspire me, our society needs to see them as contributors to who we are. We need to let go of our unconscious biases and see value in the feminine.

Check out this episode of Hidden Brain to learn more. And go to my Women Behaving Badly blog to learn more about the series.

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Teaching at Girls Inc.

New Year

Happy new year everybody! I know, it’s already been a month since the year started. I just been so busy working on projects, I’m only now finding time to gather my thoughts. I would love to show you what I’ve been working on but I want to make sure I respect the privacy of my clients.

Teaching at Girls Inc.

What I can share with you is something I’ve been waiting months to do. I have moved my Women Behaving Badly paintings to Girls Inc. of Denver, where they will hang until March 3rd. When I started this series I wanted to inspire young girls with the deeds of the women who have helped to shape our society. I wish I’d had these women as role models when I was young. Now the students of Girls Inc. can see these paintings every day and read about the lives of these amazing women.

Classes

In addition to showing my work in their halls, I’m also teaching three classes a week at Girls Inc. These classes are combination of history lesson and art lesson. I begin by walking through the halls with the girls, looking at the paintings and telling each woman story as I know it. Then we had back to the classroom to review and I find out which woman inspires each girl and why. I ask if there’s anyone else they find inspirational and take note of their responses.

The younger girls are given handouts of women they can research for their own paintings. The older girls get to do independent study of woman of their choosing . I asked him to tell me a story. By day 3, we take a break from academics to do art class. The first day is all about collage where I teach about technique as well as ways to think about color, shape and subject matter. The next day we do some acrylic painting with the same ideas in mind. These will be the key elements of their final project.

The last two classes are where we put it all together. Each girl is given an 18″ x 24″ wooden board to work on and is given the task of telling the story of the woman she is selected through image, word and color. I want them to work on wood so that they see it as a final piece, not just another throwaway school project. I wanted to feel special.

The Final Product

Over the course of eight weeks, I will have worked with second grade through fifth grade. The third-grade class is already finished and the fifth-graders are halfway through. At the end, we will hold an exhibition showing off the girls work to family and friends.

I am loving this opportunity to work with young girls and to hear from them what traits they admire most in the women they’re learning about. I love their openness, their enthusiasm and their spirit of exploration. I can’t wait to see what the next five weeks will bring.

Third grade collages
Third grade collages
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A Little Different – Burmese Food in Denver

Hey Everyone,

I have mentioned my wife Marin in a few of my posts now. I want to let you know a little about her and what she does.

My wife is brilliant. Just after graduating from college, she applied for and received the Fulbright Grant. If you don’t know about this, it is crazy hard to get, especially on the first try and especially for those who are not already Grad students. She used this grant to spend a year and a half in China researching their food culture. Did I mention she speaks fluent Mandarin? Did I mention she was brilliant?

When Marin came home, she started volunteering for this organization that works with refugees in Aurora. Through that organization, she met Zin Zin, a young Burmese women who is as passionate about cooking as Marin is about eating. They formed a partnership, teaching nutrition classes to other Burmese refugees who did not know what to do with the items at the food share. Not all vegetables are created equal.

Burmese Village

That partnership has turned into a deep friendship which has culminated in Marin’s efforts to help grant Zin Zin’s wish to open Denver’s first Burmese restaurant. Together, they are hosting a five course Burmese Dinner to raise funds for Zin Zin’s restaurant. Follow the link below to learn more and to get your seat at the table. I am one of the lucky few who gets to eat Zin Zin’s cooking regularly. As she builds her catering business and eventually gets her own space, you could be as lucky too.

Burmese Village, the fundraising dinner will be on

November 12th 6-9pm
at the Spring Institute
1373 Grant St

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New Venue for WBB – The Blair Caldwell Library

Good afternoon all! I am happy to report that Women Behaving Badly has found a new home (for the time being). Just yesterday, I took all the pieces over to the Blair Caldwell Library and hung them up in the third floor gallery.

Blair-Caldwell African American Research Library

This library is a fixture of the Five Points community. Not only does it have all the things one would expect to find in a library, it also has a conference room, a meeting room, a research section complete with original letters and documents, and a gallery. My work is on the third floor which houses the Western Legacies Museum and the Charles Cousins Gallery. (Hint: I’m in the gallery.) I have one new painting to showcase, so if you think you’ve already seen them, you haven’t.

Although my paintings are already hanging, I’m waiting until the 12th of November to do my opening. Mark your calendars and tell your friends!

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Career Panel with High Schoolers

Good Afternoon. I want to tell you real quick about a cool opportunity I have this afternoon. North High School’s after school program holds a weekly career panel in which they invite members of the community to talk to the kids about career paths they might not have considered before.

At 4 today, I get to go over there and talk to the students about what it’s like to be a professional artist. I am very excited about this, because there are a number of things I would have loved to know  when I was young enough to prepare myself. For example, I used to think I just had to be a good artist. In the past few years, I have learned a LOT about entrepreneurship. I WISH someone had told me about that when I was starting out.

I have had to learn about marketing, pricing my pieces, following up on leads, just to name a few things. Most of it has taken me out of my comfort zone and has been quite frustrating. I’m used to it now. Any student considering an art career, unless they are looking to break into a pre-existing industry, should know that being an artist means being an entrepreneur. It is hard work, but bit is also very rewarding.

I obviously have no photos of the event, so please enjoy my latest drawing for Inktober: Misty Knight.

Misty Knight
Misty Knight
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Goodbye Coffee at The Point

Good morning everyone! I hope you all had an amazing weekend. I know mine was relaxing. My wife had just returned from a father/daughter vacation in Mexico, so we spent the weekend catching up. It was glorious!

As the title of this post suggests, I will be taking my work down from Coffee at The Point today. As always, it has been a great run. I want to thank Ryan and Donovan Cobbins for providing such a great space. I want to also thank the staff of Coffee at The Point for always being friendly and helpful. They would rearrange the space for me for our discussion panels and consistently check in to make sure me and my guests were comfortable.

I also want to thank Judith Weaver for being a great friend and excellent curator. She is the one who first encouraged me to show my work at Coffee at The Point back in 2014 with my Synesthesia series. Judy urged me to push myself with both the quality and quantity of my paintings and to make sure that I had my marketing messages organized and ready to go. Every time I work with her, I improve.

At the end of this month, I am on to the next location: the Blair Caldwell Library. I would like to continue holding panel discussions, though at a much slower rate than this last round. Does anyone have any suggestions as to what topics I should cover? So far we’ve done Women in the Arts, Women in STEM, Women in Literature and Women in Politics. I am open to suggestions and looking for speakers.

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This is the Last Week at Coffee at The Point

Good morning everyone! This Wednesday night will be the final panel discussion at Coffee at The Point. It will not be the last one forever, just the last at this venue. This week also marks the last opportunity to view the Women Behaving Badly series at Coffee at The Point. The next artist’s work will be going up and I will be moving on. Look for me at the Blair Caldwell Library starting October 26th. This will, however be the very last week to view the Sojourner Truth painting. That piece was purchased this summer and will finally go home with its owner.

Wednesday’s panel discussion is about Women in the Arts. On deck, I have a visual artist, a comedian, and a spoken word artist. Each will tell you about herself, what she does and why she does it. Lelija Roy wants people who see her paintings to fall in love with nature. Debbie Scheer uses her comedy to talk about things we don’t like to talk about and makes us more comfortable in the process. Lady Speech is challenging, yet nurturing in her activism, using her poetry to talk about sexual freedom, women’s rights, and everything in between.

These panel discussions have been some of the best conversations I have had the privilege to participate in. I am the kind of person to download as much information into her brain as possible through books, documentaries and podcasts, but these talks are on a different level. I get to see the passion in each woman’s eyes as she talks about her vocation. I get to participate and be more than just an information sponge. And, best of all, I get to know more about old friends and make some new ones.

Bring yourself and bring your friends.

Coffee at The Point
710 26th Ave
6-8pm

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Women in Politics- Part 3

Good afternoon everyone! I would like to remind you that tonight is the Panel Discussion for Women in Politics. We have three guest speakers, two of whom I have written about already. Halisi Vinson and Angela Lawson represent the local policy perspective. The national perspective will come from my third guest: Polly Baca.

Senator Polly Baca served in both the Colorado House of Representatives (1975-1978) and the Colorado Senate (1979-1986). She was the first Latina in the U.S. to serve in both chambers of her state legislature. In addition, she was the first woman elected to chair the Democratic Caucus of the Colorado House (1977), the first minority woman and first Hispanic woman elected to the Colorado State Senate (1978-1986), the first Hispanic woman to be nominated by a major political party for the United States Congress (1980 Democratic Party Congressional nominee), and the first Hispanic woman to co-chair two National Democratic Conventions (1980 and 1984). She served as Vice Chair of the National Democratic Party for eight years, from 1981 to 1989.

Sen. Baca has worked for three Presidents of the United States. She was a Public Information Officer for a White House Agency during the Lyndon B. Johnson Administration, was the Rocky Mountain States Coordinator for President Jimmy Carter’s 1980 Presidential campaign, and was Special Assistant to President Bill Clinton for Consumer Affairs and Director of the United States Office of Consumer Affairs. During the 2012 Campaign, Sen. Baca served as a National Co-Chair of Catholics for Obama.

Recognition received by Sen. Baca includes being inducted into the Colorado Women’s Hall of Fame and the National Hispanic Hall of Fame, being listed in the World Who’s Who of Women, Who’s Who in American Politics, and Who’s Who in the West. Sen. Baca received a B.A. degree in political science from Colorado State University, an honorary Doctor of Humane Letters from the University of Northern Colorado and an honorary Doctor of Laws degree from Wartburg College, Waverly, Iowa. In April 2012, the Denver Post listed Sen. Baca as one of the 75 Most Influential Women of Colorado.

I feel so fortunate to have a woman who has accomplished so much, come and speak with us tonight. You seriously don’t want to miss this. Come out tonight to:

Coffee at The Point
710 26th Ave
6-8pm

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Women in Politics- Part 2

Good afternoon! Allow me to introduce the second of the speakers for tomorrow Women in Politics discussion panel, Halisi Vinson:

Halisi holds a Masters in Business Administration and also has over 20 years of corporate experience.

As a community advocate, she created a youth program that teaches teens entrepreneurship, video production and success skills. Additionally she volunteers as a mentor and tutor for a 25-year old community college-preparation program, dedicated to inspiring at risk youth to prepare not just for a bachelors degree, but for a masters. Recently, she was reappointed to Mayor Hancock’s Denver Days roll-out committee. She was elected as a delegate to the DNC (2012) and Secretary of the county Party (2013), she is a member of the Hampden Heights Civic Association board, an honorary member of the Hampden South Neighborhood Association, and a member of CBWPA.

Between her business and community work, she understands how to meet the needs of the business world without compromising the needs of the community and its residents. Her training has given her a unique skill set geared towards understanding the implications of decisions not only for her neighborhood but for the city as a whole.

She and the other panelists will be speaking on:

Friday September 30th at
Coffee at The Point,
from 6-8pm.

I look forward to hearing her perspective on the role of Black Women in the political process.

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Women in Politics – Part 1

Good evening good people. Women Behaving Badly Presents: Women in Politics is happening this Friday. I have an impressive lineup of ladies to talk to you about what makes our government run. Please allow me to introduce one of them to you.

Angela Lawson is proud to have lived most of her life in Colorado. A daughter of an Air Force
veteran, Angela lived abroad, and in a handful of other cities before her parents agreed to call
Colorado their home in the 1970s. Angela holds a Bachelor’s degree in Political Science from
the University of California at Berkeley, and three Master’s degrees, two of which are from the
University of Colorado at Denver, in the fields of Public Administration as well as Social
Science; her third Master’s degree is in Public Policy from Georgetown University, in
Washington, D.C.

Throughout her career, Angela has worked in various industries from technology, finance, and
law – all of which have given her valuable private sector experience. But it was her passion in
serving the citizenry that moved her away from the private sector to a career in public service.
She has worked at the Colorado Secretary of State’s office for ten years and on November 3,
2015, she was elected as Aurora’s newest City Council Member At-Large.

Angela enjoys volunteering, attending performing arts and live music events, traveling and
reading political biographies.

I am so excited to have Angela speak on Friday evening’s panel. I look forward to hearing her perspective on the changes in Aurora’s demographics and the refugee community. My wife works closely with refugees in Aurora, so I’m invested. Click on the events link below for more information.

Upcoming Events

  1. Women in Politics


    September 30 @ 6:00 pm8:00 pm

  2. Women in the Arts


    October 5 @ 6:00 pm8:00 pm

Products

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What High Schoolers do with an Open Mic

Good morning beautiful people! The weekend is over and it’s time to get back to work. But first, I want to tell you about Friday night. It was amazing!

The students of East High School’s Women’s Lit class all came down to Coffee at The Point for an open mic night. They had read Lynda Barry’s One Hundred Demons as a class assignment and created poetry, artwork and songs based on their personal demons.

From the freshmen to the seniors, I was impressed by their bravery in putting themselves out there and sharing their frustrations with a crowd of peers and strangers. Several students spoke of what it is like to be queer and not accepted by family. One student spoke of being of mixed race and how that affects him. He talked about how people expect him to behave on both sides. He spoke about his fears in what he sees on the media and how that same media portrayal makes others fear him.

One student broke down for us what it feels like to be gender non-binary, someone who doesn’t ascribe to either gender identity. They spoke of body dis morphia, that sense that your body doesn’t look the way you feel inside. They talked about how mirrors are a problem, because mirrors are a confirmation of that wrongness. I was intrigued. I have some friends who are trans gendered, but we have never spoken so frankly about these feelings.

One student talked about what it is like to be an immigrant. Her Nepali heritage is important to her. She told us about how some immigrant kids will change how they act just to fit in. They will even change what foods they serve their friends when they come over. This young woman has decided that it is better for everyone if she shares her culture instead of hiding it.

I am so thoroughly impressed by the younger generation. Their openness and honesty was astounding. I cannot wait to see the people they will become.