Imagine a place where master creators, designers, writers, innovators and artists of every kind gather to share their experiences and ideas, a place where new solutions are found by connecting the scientific and artistic reaches of our brightest minds. Imagine hosting diverse people of genius and insight in a common place of inspirational beauty. This is the bold idea a Philadelphia arts patron and I have been pursuing. Our vision is to transform the historic Elkins Estate in Philadelphia, a magnificent, Guilded-Age enclave of homes, gardens, and buildings designed by Horace Trumbauer, into an incubator of creativity---a nonprofit/for-profit model that focuses on fine arts, food, design, health, artisanship, and sustainability. Thanks to nearly 80 years of care and stewardship by the Dominican Sisters of St. Catherine de' Ricci, who purchased the property in 1932, the original architectural splendor of the estate and grounds remain astonishingly preserved and poised for a new era. Though the dream of The Elkins Institute is still evolving, I've been consulting on this exciting project for the past year and a half, helping to envision an artist community for the 21st century. The Elkins Institute would add quality of life not only to the Elkins Park community, but also cement Philadelphia’s reputation as a vital cultural resource.
Many employees today are stressed out and struggling to balance their workload and personal lives. (Who even has time to discuss work/life balance, much less execute it?) Artists have a lot to teach us about the importance of play, working within limitations, and protecting our creative energy from the eroding forces of technology, which is ever-present in the form of email, texts, and social media. Milk*, an ad agency in Norwalk, Connecticut, invited me to conduct two workshops with their staff. We discussed how embracing limitation can actually make you more creative in your work and personal life, and also how important play is, especially when we are stressed and under deadline pressure. Using some of today's most interesting contemporary artists, writers, and musicians as examples, we learned how to bring the lessons of the artistic life into the workplace.
Wondering what arts and culture events are making news? I'm the go-to girl for the fine folks at New Hampshire Public Radio's Word of Mouth. You can listen to my public radio appearances here... Click here to listen to my live radio debut back in January of 2012. Gwarlingo is "a beautiful, brilliantly executed blog of essays, art reviews, photographs, poetry and miscellany," says NHPR. Thanks guys! Click here to listen to me wax poetic about film director Wes Anderson and the Copenhagen Philharmonic Flash Mob, and discuss the controversial new Barnes Museum in Philadelphia. Click here to listen to my recommended summer arts highlights for 2013, including Chinese art, the Solid Sound Festival, & Ed Ruscha Click here to listen to me discuss pay (or lack thereof!) in the arts. What if other professions were paid like artists?