I have been a artist and painter for over 30 years. My work experience with color mixing gives me insights on real world situations which I never expected. If you paint, or know someone who paints, try this. Mix a medium value color (grey) on your palette. Now apply that color on to an area much lighter than it and a area much darker than it. What appears seems to be 2 different colors, even though we know we took it from the same spot on our palette. Your little dab of color is greatly effected by its surroundings.
True to life, we too are effected by what we surround ourselves with. Our Friends, community, working associations all can change how others perceive who we are. So how do we make our choices on who we "Hang" with? Does it follow our values? Does it help us to grow?
I spent a interesting day yesterday going to two groups. First group I spent time with was a workshop called "Spend Smart" designed to help people with their spending habits. Through this three week course I expressed That it is not as much my spending but my income that is holding me back. Most of the people in this class are of low economic means so some frivolous spending was defined as getting a belt for a lawn mower, or doing without a $.75 cup of coffee from the store. Now I am all for "if you don't have it don't spend it" and creating a budget to follow, but when you start documenting every cup of coffee and have to ask yourself if you really need to spend that $.75 I have to ask "How much money/time am I spending tracking the details compared to making more money?" For this reason I don't look to spend time with large groups of artists.... misery love company.
The second group I went to be with was the Ethan Allen Institute. A talk given by former Bear Stears executive Bruce Lisman titled "Finding skin: How to build a sustainable powerhouse economy in Vermont- without giving up our values" It was a wonderful talk full of optimism and balance... even though the room was overwhelmingly conservative and not currently known for economic optimism.
There were 2 main points I took from this... First Point is that we need to be able to track and have our local Government be transparent with how money is spent. We need this to fill our Vermont Frugality need and to be able to accurately give input on how we wish to see our tax dollars used. Made sense to me. Say I am in a conversation with a person then out of the blue I push that individual to the ground that person might not be too happy with me. Now If that person looks up and realizes that I just pushed them out of the way of imminent peril they now are quite happy with me. The only difference is the awareness as to what caused my action and that it was not only justified but in their best interest. If they look up and see that I overreacted they can say "you know, your heart was in the right place, but next time......" Its called feedback. If we can see that the social areas we spend tax dollars on actually helps and saves money-(are justified)- then it is easier as taxpayers to except spending those dollars.
Second point was we need to focus on prosperity. Mr Lisman made a case that the economy is booming but not in a way we have ever seen before. He referred it the 2008 market collapse as "Darwinian Event" that has change us forever which to me implies survival of the fittest. Not in a cut throat chaotic way but that "The innovative, adaptable, and creative thinkers are positioned to succeed and those trying to fit life into past turn key solutions are doomed for failure"
This is great news for the arts or at least us creative thinkers. In order to succeed though we need someone with a great business sense. We need to form "marriages of convenience". One partner is creative and has a way of seeing the possibilities and drawing out of the practical a sense of "We can do this". The practical partner has the ability to say you need to refine the process here because we are spending more than we gain, planting into the creative mind a added dimension of "cost vs results"
A farmer kept going into the hardware store buying hammers. When he started buying them by the gross the clerk asked "What are you doing with all those hammers?"
The farmer replied "I'm selling them for $5 each."
"But they cost you $8"
"I know, but it sure beats farming"
Creative but needed some direction....
Mr. Lisman in my opinion was on point because if we then direct our tax dollars and invest tax capital to bring a net gain then everyone who wants a job will have one. everyone who can support themselves will not need assistance. People with the ability to secure a household can then take extra and support their community. All by creating a value based, prosperity in our communities- i.e. Vermont" We can see the value the arts has to offer and help society realize that a vigorous Arts community is not frivolous but actually contributes to the prosperity.
I found myself thinking where was the Vermont Arts Council- wait I was there to represent the art community. Why do these people want to lash out at people getting assistance- wait I get assistance. I need to have conversations with them so they can put a face on the issue and get a better understanding that most of us do not want that assistance. All too often we give power away. Our government is "Huge" because we give them that power. The reality is, if we say this will work and we will do it with or without you, where does that leave them? Powerless......
My minister understands this and loves it. One year our church had just finished rebuilding itself after a fire destroyed the building. The momentum from this project gave people the confidence to take on a elderly housing project so that people who lived and raised families in town would not have to move out when they became older. That year our minister started his annual report "I am the Minister of the United Church of Lincoln, there goes my flock, I must hurry, for I am there leader"
Unfortunately as creative individuals we choose to "Hang" with like minded thinkers when we need to seek out the other side. The person who knows how to take a idea and make it work. As Business owners we choose to hang out with other business owners when we should be looking to "Hang" with the creative type to help us develop that new innovation.
So for me I can spend my time counting every little bean but instead I want to find a satisfying abundance so that I can better my community and only have to count the sacks of beans.