Chats with Calliope- The Phoenix Arises

GO ART!, Seymour Place

JOE: Good morning Calliope.
CALLIOPE: Good morning Joe. What have you been up to?
JOE: Busy, busy, busy. Along with smaller projects. GO ART! is getting ready for the grand reopening of our building next Friday.
CALLIOPE: How grand is it?
JOE: The building was built for the Bank of Genesee in the early 1830′s to finance the Holland Land Purchase which I studied in grammar school. Later the Batavia Club bought it and used it for many years. A few years ago they donated it to GO ART!. We recently completed renovation of the historic building and are planting flowers in final preparation to formally share it with the public next week.
CALLIOPE: Sounds exciting.
JOE: It is for us. I rummaged around in the basement and found original dirt floors from the 1830′s, several artifacts from over the years and old programs from events we sponsored.
CALLIOPE: Anything mysterious?
JOE: Yes. the most mysterious finding is an old safe on rollers. No one has been able to open it despite various efforts. We don’t know how far back it dates or what it might contain.
CALLIOPE: It’s fun to speculate sometimes.
JOE: We think so. Talk to you again.

Ready for Summer

Tom Rivers- Farm Hands

Tom Rivers- Farm Hands

JOE: Good morning Calliope.
CALLIOPE: Good morning Joe. Tell me what you have been up t0o lately.JOE: This week I worked on three projects for GO ART!.
CALLIOPE: Tell me more.
JOE: Tom Rivers is coming to speak On Wednesday.
CALLIOPE: Details please.
JOE: Tom is a reporter at the Daily News who wrote a series on farm labor in Genesee and Orleans Counties. Then he compiled his series into a book, Farm Hands, which he is discussing on Wednesday.
CALLIOPE: How were you involved?
JOE: Mostly in the arrangements and publicity. I will also be on hand for the presentation.
CALLIOPE: Sounds interesting. What else is going on.
JOE: I’ll fill you in on the other projects next time we meet.

Sliding Otter News 5/22/2010

Joe and Pete as Dinosaurs

Joe and Pete as Dinosaurs

~Have the courage to say no. Have the courage to face the truth. Do the right thing because it is right. These are the magic to living our life with integrity~

W. Clement Stone

These days a variety of media bombard us with what we should buy, how we should act, what we should think and what we should believe. Our homogenized news is quite similar from one news outlet to the next with relatively few differing viewpoints represented.

Thinking for ourselves seems almost superfluous. All we have to do is follow the crowd and moo once in a while as all good herd members do. Several years ago on a trip to London I passed the famed Speaker’s Corner in Hyde Park. Here there is never a lack of viewpoints to consider. Maybe we should establish such corners in every community.

Politics, fashion, entertainment and religion group us into herds following one trend or another. We become more comfortable interacting with others once we know where they stand in these categories. I remember college gatherings when I talked until the wee hours with my colleagues. Most of us strove to hone our beliefs so we could finally decide who we were and what we stood for. Everyone sought ways to make better sense of life and what possibilities awaited us. While it can feel reassuring to follow the crowd, it also diminishes who we are as individuals and what we uniquely contribute to society.

Affirming our beliefs and life standards can at times make us unpopular with others, sometimes with people we want to accept us. So can refusing to compromise on what is most important to us. At such times we face the painful choice between acceptance by others and our integrity. Sometimes being true to ourselves means disappointing others. Such choices are never easy.

How can we maintain our integrity without further fracturing our relationships? First we must know and articulate the values we hold dear to ourselves and to those whom we care about. Next we must understand what is important to those with whom we associate. If our values match those of others, the rest is easy. If not, our challenge is to enjoy our areas of agreement and learn to respect each other’s differences.

Maintaining our sense of perspective is also important. As entrenched as we might become in our personal beliefs, we should remember that as long as we live, we have more to learn each day. While remaining true to our values, we should always remain open to reconsidering and adjusting how we apply our principles based on what we learn from our experiences.

Life Lab Lessons

  • State out loud or write down what is important to you.
  • How hard is it to share your values with others?
  • Take the same care in understanding others’ values.
  • Realize that your way may not be the only right one.
  • Share the respect you would like from others.

Busy at GO ART!

GO ART!, Seymour Center

JOE: Good morning Calliope.
CALLIOPE: Good morning Joe. It’s been quite a while since our last chat.
JOE: Sorry about that. I have been quite busy with GO ART!.
CALLIOPE: Doing what?
JOE: We have two manor events in the works. One is the dedication of our renovated building as GO ART!, Seymour Center.
CALLIOPE: I take it you have an old building.
JOE:It was built in the early 1830’s as the Bank of the Genesee which handled the transactions for the Holland Land Purchase, famous at least here in Western New York.
CALLIOPE: How did you get it?
JOE: The Batavia Club owned it for many years and gave it t0 us a few years ago for the Arts Council.
CALLIOPE: You said two projects.
JOE: The other is our Picnic in the Park for the Fourth of July. I am busy working on publicity materials for both events.
CALLIOPE: No wonder I haven’t heard from you.
JOE: I’ll try to post more often in the future.
CALLIOPE: Always a pleasure.
JOE: Back to today’s job of working on the bathroom. Keeps me grounded.

Sliding Otter News- Share Your Imagination

Joe and Carol at Mardi Gras World

Joe and Carol at Mardi Gras World

~Imagine all the people living life in peace.
You may say I’m a dreamer, but I’m not the only one.~

John Lennon

Recently I attended the Imagine RIT Innovation and Creativity Festival at the Rochester Institute of Technology. My son Peter, my grandson Joey and his friend Kevin went with me. Thirty thousand other people also showed up. So did two thousand RIT students and faculty, presenting several hundred exhibits, live performances and demonstrations.

On my first visit with Joey two years ago, I saw my first e-book reader, an early model which reminded me of and Etch-a-Sketch. Not much advantage over a book. Joey immediately took to the robots, one wheeling its way through the crowd and another busy assembling hot dogs with choice of catchup or mustard.

Before this visit I happened upon the RIT website describing the hundreds of attractions and where to find them. I had a plan for exhibits and activities I thought would be interesting to visit. However we found ourselves in the quad in line for free ice-cream and drawn to the two foot electric and gas race cars speeding around a makeshift track. Singers, dancers, drummers and art hummed in the quad background.

Without especially knowing where we were going, we wandered into one of the buildings. We encountered a blue room. Leaving their shoes behind, Joey and Kevin frolicked on blue cubes while backgrounds were added to make it appear on the monitor that they were swimming in the ocean or flying though the woods.

In another room, arrays of computer stations displayed computer games students had designed. The boys set to work immediately, exploring the new games under the tutelage of the students who had created them.

Down the hall a classroom awaited us. A storyboard filled one wall. I recognized it from my writing experience. Elementary cartoon graphics showed the layout for an animated film. Several students demonstrated how they progressed from the storyboard to a polished animated sequence.

As fascinating as I found all this, what happened next floored me. Eight year old Kevin and Joey asked sophisticated questions about the process at a level I had not imagined. They connected with these college students in a way which reminded me of the story of Jesus and the Temple elders.

The rest of the day was just as fascinating. The technology and imagination were spectacular. Even more impressive was the humility, sense of humor, and openness of every student and teacher we met. As if that was not enough, one student ambled through the crowd with his placard offering free hugs. I came home encouraged by the endless creativity of the RIT community and the infections enthusiasm they shared with the rest of us. Maybe there is still hope for the world.

Life lab Lessons

  • How often do you tap your creative resources?
  • Do your ideas sometimes surprise you?
  • Encourage others to share their creative ideas.
  • Merge your creativity with that of others in a spirit of cooperation.
  • Create ways to build a better sense of community.