Cultivating Generosity

Cultivating Generosity: Trifecta

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Cultivating Generosity is an ongoing series of musings that we write in our effort to highlight people who nurture a generous culture that’s more conducive for the survival of the arts.

Life Itself

Today’s the last day to contribute to Life Itself, a feature documentary about the life of Roger Ebert. It’s directed by Steve James of Kartemquin Films and executive produced by Martin Scorsese. As I write this, they’re only $10,000 away from reaching their goal of $100,000. We gave at the sensible level of $25 to participate in an innovative reward level that lets us stream the film as it premiers at the Sundance Film Festival.

Receive a private link to view the film simultaneous to its world premiere at the Sundance Film Festival in 2014 including Q and A with filmmakers via live stream from the festival. Streaming powered by VHX. And that’s not all!! As Roger acknowledged “My Steak ‘n Shake fetish is not unique”. So you too will be able to enjoy the “crunch, crunch, crunch, crunch” of perfection when you receive the $5 gift card from Roger’s favorite restaurant, Steak ‘n Shake + all the Ebert Fan Club perks! – IndieGoGo

Along with those perks, they made me a member and assigned me one of Ebert’s reviews to enjoy and share with you.

Your film is FLASHDANCE.  Originally published 04/19/1983

 Here’s the link to the review on

Roger Ebert and Gene Siskel

People’s Yoga

People’s Yoga is another great campaign that’s just getting started by one of the members of Las Cafeteras, Leah Rose. More that just a yoga movement, aims to healthy choices available to people in the community by opening the first Yoga Studio to open in East Los Angeles. A portion of the $32,000 they’re raising will also go to offering scholarships to those that would like to practice yoga but can’t afford it. Their rewards are a yoga playlist, t-shirts, stickers and yoga lessons. Not easily accessible to mid-westerners but they’re also offering a live show by Las Cafeteras for a reasonable donation… check it out. We’ll be chipping in for the playlist, a thank you note and a sticker.

Ms. Blue-Siegler’s Class

Last but not least, Anne Blue-Siegler needs our help to continue running Art Club her 5th grade students at a Chicago Public School on the South Side of Chicago. No rewards here but a warm feeling in your heart for bringing art to those who need it most.

My kindergarten to 8th grade students are from a neighborhood on the South Side of Chicago. They are 99% African-American and mostly come from low income households. They are excelling academically at this Chicago Public School, where 82% of the students meet or exceed the standards on the state exam, ISAT. This is above the state average and way above the district average. The community is very supportive of the students and parents are active in their education. The arts are very important to this school. There is general music class, a pull-out violin and band program, and after-school drama club and chorus. A little over two years ago, we added visual art classes and Art Club after years without it. The program has been built from scratch since then. The students love art class and there is a long waiting list to get into Art Club. Their enthusiasm for art is contagious and makes me excited to teach them every day. – Ms. Blue-Siegler

Cultivating Generosity: Pay It Forward

Posted on Updated on

Cultivating Generosity is an ongoing series of musings that we write in our effort to highlight people that nurture a generous culture that’s more conducive for the survival of the arts.

Pay It Forward is an experimental fundraiser by Tempestt Hazel of Sixty Inches from Center and Andi Crist from Autotelic. They gathered 8 organizations to highlight in their effort raise $10,000 dollars for an inclusive studio community in Logan Square.

Tempestt Hazel, Sixty Inches from Center
Tempestt Hazel, Sixty Inches from Center

We’re honored to be one of the projectss that they’re elevating, along with Johalla Projects, Spudnik Press, Salon Series, Terrain, Revival Arts Collective, Peanut Gallery and Composite. We hope that you’ll join us for the Birthday Bash that they’re hosting at 7PM Saturday, Nov.23. Flats Studio, 1050 W. Wilson Ave.

You can also help the cause by donating online!

There’s been a lot of positive discussion about the arts floating around lately. Most recently, a Wall Street Journal article had an optimistic outlook for people with MFAs. This was mostly full of information that we already suspected; “artists tend to be happy with their choices and lives… arts graduates are resilient and resourceful… the profession they have chosen gives them autonomy.” However, being written on a platform that rarely presents the arts as a legitimate career choice, backed by data on jobs for fine artists and connected to economic research on happiness, means that this is something that could actually have legs outside of our own echo chamber.

Almost 83% worked the majority of their time in some arts occupation, such as art teaching or in a nonprofit arts organization…. Sixty percent of the fine-arts graduates in the survey work more than one job. – Daniel Grant

Another link that came across our feeds was about the contradictory nature of creative people. Matthew Shuler points out 9 contradictory traits from a book of interviews by Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi, of the Quality of Life Research Center. The blog post reminds artists that they aren’t alone in being both extroverted and introverted, humble and proud or smart and naive. These are all tightropes that artists walk on a regular basis.

Sometimes what appears to be a contradiction on the surface is actually a harmony in disguise… At first it might not make sense, but give me/us long enough, and it will. – Matthew Shuler

How this all relates to Pay It Forward is that Tempestt and Andi are in the thick of whatever change is happening around us.

Andi Crist - Autotelic
Andi Crist – Autotelic

They’re both surviving artist/curators that are working toward real, positive change through crowdfunding. Andi’s vision for Autotelic was born out of another book by Csikszentmihalyi. It was a bit of serendipity that lead me to his ideas right before the end of her fundraiser. She describes the idea behind the space below:

The concept behind Autotelic was to give artists the space and environment where they could feel free to make and share without feeling the pressure of needing to be “successful”. People are still welcome to join our space that don’t consider themselves fully committed “artists” and can be a part of a creative community that is both supportive and active. – Andi Crist