Vision for the New Year – Organizational Goals and Big Dreams

Vision for the New Year – Organizational Goals and Big Dreams

Happy New Years friends!  We took a bit of a break to enjoy the holidays and to reflect and recharge. With the start of the New Year comes new energy and continued commitment to our mission and vision. We are happy to be back to work on SpeakArtLoud!

Looking Back

The idea for SpeakArtLoud sprang to life in a workshop in the fall of 2009 (this is also where Board members met one another), since then we have been working on creating SpeakArtLoud. We each are busy with jobs, family and other community activities, but slowly, over time, we have made great strides.

This past fall SpeakArtLoud attained non-profit status, this was a big hurdle and it means that we can now begin a new chapter in our development. We are looking forward to what comes next!

Goals are dreams with deadlines.
~Diana Scharf Hunt

Organizational Goals

As an organization we are very young and we know there is still much to learn and much to do, but we are so excited about the future!

This year we will begin by focusing on the following:

  • Expanding our Board – Look for an announcement soon (consider applying!)
  • Developing a Curriculum – We’ll seek funding and a curriculum writer (hello art therapists!)
  • Partnering with Others – Research and reaching out will keep us busy (connect with us!)

As we work on these goals we may also seek out advice and assistance. We may look for advisers and volunteers or ask questions from friends on Facebook and Twitter (we really appreciate those who already have so graciously helped us, thank you friends!).

I believe the most important single thing, beyond discipline & creativity is daring to dare.
~ Maya Angelou

Big Dreams

We believe having a vision, something big to work toward, is important in creating your future.

So, dreaming big and looking beyond 2012, SpeakArtLoud has a long-term goal of working at an international level. This is a big dream but we believe it is possible.

We know that art is everywhere and that equality for woman is a global concern.  By partnering with organizations locally, nationally and abroad we believe we can use the arts to empower women and improve communities around the world.

Together we can create a beautiful future!

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Put Your Art into Action

Put Your Art Into Action

SpeakArtLoud needs your help!

SpeakArtLoud is looking for images of original art that can help us to communicate the value of our work and portray the positive impact SpeakArtLoud will have on women and communities.

We are seeking two works of art – a “before” image and an “after” image – that visually express the change we can make in the world.

Do you…

Believe in our work

—– Feel inspired to help

——- Have creative energy

Then please read on!

The ChangeXChange

SpeakArtLoud is honored to be included on the ChangeXChange , a medium for micro-philanthropy, (check us out here – my cheeks are so rosy!).

The CXC site will soon be updated and “before” and “after” images will be used to help express the change SpeakArtLoud will make in the world.

For example:

  • A “before” image may be a picture of women in shelter or on the streets, something that visually depicts women’s limited voice and opportunity
  • An “after” image may be a smiling women holding up artwork or women gathered together, something that conveys the value of creativity and of raising women’s voice and supporting women’s vision

Community, Creativity & Support

Here is where you come in.

SpeakArtLoud is holding a contest.  We are asking you, our friends and supporters, to participate and submit electronic images of your original art – “before” and “after” images – that visually express the value of our work.


***** Before *****

***** After *****

No way to express feelings

Isolated and alone

Confused, frightened, worried

Stressed and unwell

Feeling hopeless

No one to talk to

Having your voice silenced

Women’s ideas absent in the community

Struggling communities

No control over the future

A creative outlet for expression

Connecting with other women

At ease, relaxed, feeling safe

Healing

Feeling hopeful

Sharing your ideas with others

Having your voice raised

Women’s ideas shared in the community

Stronger, healthier communities

Creating the future


 

SpeakArtLoud is about more than creating art, we are about raising women’s voices and sharing women’s ideas in the community and, by including women, ultimately making communities healthier and stronger.

We know that art is a powerful tool for individual healing and expression, as well as an effective way to bring people together and share information.  Art can transform our lives and communities. Help us communicate this with your art!

 

The Contest Details

Please send submissions to SallyatSpeakArtLouddotOrg with “Art into Action” in the subject line by Monday, January 24th, 2011.

  • submit either one image, a “before” or an “after”, or two images, both a “before” and an “after”
  • include a short statement about yourself, your art and why you are participating in our contest
  • images should be in a common digital format for web browsers (JPG, PNG, GIF ).
  • by submitting images you are giving SpeakArtLoud permission to use your art work on the ChangeXChange site and on SpeakArtLoud’s blog (we will credit you on our blog).

Submissions will be reviewed by the SpeakArtLoud Board of Directors and a winner will be selected by the Board.

The winning submissions will be included on the ChangeXChange website, helping us to communicate SpeakArtLoud’s value and supporting our fundraising efforts.

Our 3 Most Popular Posts in 2010

Our 3 Most Popular Posts in 2010

SpeakArtLoud has been on vacation, visiting with family and friends and enjoying time for reflection.  We will return in January.  In absence of our regular weekly posts please consider re-reading our three most popular posts from 2010.

Most Popular

25 Ways Art Impacts the Community

Art, in its many forms, is connected to the community. Art serves to enrich the physical, economic, social and cultural elements of a community.  Below is a list of 25 ways I believe art positively impacts community, along with a few pictures to inspire thought. As you read through this list please reflect on how these items may or may not be true and share your thoughts. Read More…

Second Most Popular

Five Reasons Why We Need Art

Art, in its many forms, exists in every community, every culture, and every country. Art has been created since time began, evidenced in cave paintings and rock art, and in today’s world we know that art can be a major economic force, yet we continue to question the worth of art. Read more…

Third Most Popular

What is Art Therapy?

SpeakArtLoud believes in the inherent healing power of the creative process.  We believe making art provides a way to explore and express ideas, thoughts and feelings and that art can help us to communicate and create new ideas.  Because of this we have chosen to use art therapy in our program. Read more….

Best Wishes for the New Year!
~ Sally

Exercising the Art We Know

Exercising the Art We Know

Let each [wo]man exercise the art [s]he knows. ~Aristophanes

It is indeed a unique opportunity to be involved with a project or organization in which you are assured of the liberty to exercise the art you know. And when said project or organization is using art as a medium, it fosters innovation and multiplies the opportunities for empowerment and change, both for individuals and communities.

SpeakArtLoud provides me with such an experience.

We all have an innate desire to be part of something — a group or a cause — with people with whom we share a connection and a passion. In his book, Tribes, Seth Godin makes the point that as we connect to one another, we grant our permission to form tribes of purpose and vision — of action! And that building and participating in tribes facilitates innovation and prevents us from being “stuck.”

Tribes are about faith — about belief in an idea and in a community. ~Seth Godin

The vision of SpeakArtLoud not only invites the opportunity for a tribe, it affirms my own vision of “collaging” my business marketing expertise with my creative abilities — the art I know. And being in “the tribe” of SpeakArtLoud has not only prevented me from being stuck — it has propelled me into a complete paradigm shift!

Once recognized, the quiet yet persistent voice of curiosity doesn’t go away. ~Seth Godin

My work with SpeakArtLoud has proven to be one of the victories leading to a personal revolution — an overthrow of any lingering fears of the unknown pertaining to the meshing of business with art. It has ushered in the practice of a new manifesto, freeing me to embrace random tangents of creativity within the context of collaged boundaries. It also ensures I remain authentic to my strengths and weaknesses, my expertise and learning experiences, as well as the goals in my heart as an artist and businesswoman.

The time and talent I have already invested with SpeakArtLoud has produced a renewed clarity of my own vision as well as inspiring new frames in my proverbial {and actual!} vision board. The synergy of working with SpeakArtLoud’s founder and director, Sally Peters, has provided me both inspiration and affirmation.

During the past few months, we both have experienced inspiring moments of discovery and personal growth — unexpectedly tagged onto project work and strategy sessions. The liberty of moving beyond the order of agendas and the context of deadlines and tasks revealed the ability to produce tangible results in the fluidity of artistic expression and gifts differing.

Teresa Robinson {aka @stargardener has donned various hats in her professional career as a business consultant and community advocate. Her business, Right Brain Planner , offers a creative and eclectic approach to clients, inspiring them as they compile, {collage} and journey in the direction of their dreams.

3 Tools to Move a Non-Profit from Concept to Creation

3 Tools to Move a Non-Profit from Concept to Creation

Creative ideas are often what drive arts-based non-profits but it takes more than creative ideas to develop an organization, secure funding and put programs into action.

Action & Vision

An organization needs to have leadership with both a vision for the future and management skills for the present. Funders are attracted to innovative ideas, however funders are also concerned with solid organizational practices. Granting agencies look for organizations to have not only an inspirational vision but also a method for actualizing that vision and putting creative projects into practice.

Building the Foundation

As the calendar year comes to a close I am spending time thinking about our foundation, looking at our small accomplishments, our future goals and determining what foundational elements SpeakArtLoud needs to have in place.

SpeakArtLoud has already completed many of the necessary legal documents (those pesky IRS forms are still being worked on) but there is still more organizational development work to do.  In the next quarter I plan to focus on 3 elements to help us move forward.

(1) Manifesto – When I began exploring the idea of starting a non-profit I drafted a manifesto . I did this as a way to clarify my guiding principles and the intent of my actions. I would like to revisit this earlier work and then spend some time talking with the Board about our organizations values.  I’m not sure if the manifesto will ever become an official organizational document but the dialogue will help us to solidify why and how we work.

(2) Annual Plan – An annual plan, which could also called a strategic plan, is really just a map for where the organization is going in the next year.  In the plan the Board will identify goals and then list specific steps along the way toward those goals.  We  will also use this plan as tool to keep us moving in the right direction.

(3) Editorial Calendar Setting up a schedule for publishing information is really helpful in planning for work and controlling publication across various media.  In our editorial calendar we will determine publication dates for our blog, and note when to share updates on Facebook and Twitter and we will identify topic to focus on each month.

Using these three tools is one more step forward in building a solid foundation and moving SpeakArtLoud forward.

Creating a Non-Profit

Creating a Non-Profit
The Importance of Building a Solid Foundation

During this time of year I tend to be reflective and as such thought I would share a bit of the background of SpeakArtLoud. We are a young organization so our history is brief, but by sharing this I hope to give readers an idea of what goes into starting a non-profit organization.

The Idea

It was just about this time, two years back, when I was thinking about starting SpeakArtLoud.

At the time I was unhappy in my day job.  On a whim I signed up to attend Local Agenda , a 12-week program designed to help people create positive and sustainable change by becoming social entrepreneurs, offered by Springboard Innovation. I did not go into this workshop planning to start a non-profit, I just knew I had more to offer the world and that I wanted to be around others who cared about doing good work in the community.

Once a week, sitting in an evening workshop, I learned about social entrepreneurship and connecting with others who had innovative ideas and were interested in meaningful work.  Slowly I started to put my ideas together and I began to entertain the idea of possibly starting a non-profit organization.

Stick-to-it-tive-ness

A lot of what goes into building a sustainable organization is not particularly exciting, but it is necessary.  While it is important to have a good idea and wonderful to want to give something back, starting an organization also takes a lot of what I would call “stick-to-it-tiveness”.

Sticking with this through all the steps that are tedious or not immediately rewarding – tax documents, program evaluation techniques and logging volunteer hours – is not especially fun but it is important.  It is this early planning and organizing that helps create a solid foundation.

Steps Along the Way

Now, two years after the initial spark of an idea, SpeakArtLoud is in development. It is slow going but looking back I realize how much this small, all-volunteer organization has been able to put into place. We have done a lot of work in building our foundation.

Here are a few of the steps and lessons from my journey:

Share Your Passion

  • Talk with others about what you care about, what you want to do, and what you have to offer.
  • A non-profit needs someone who can convey their passion and ideas to others.
  • I am learning how to better express myself, how to be bolder and share my passion, and the more I work on SpeakArtLoud the more passionate I am about our mission.

Build a Team

  • Connect with others who you feel comfortable with; Have honest conversations, share ideas and ask lots of questions.
  • A non-profit needs a board of at least 3 people, ask those who you can work with, who are dependable and willing to roll up their sleeves to serve on the board.
  • Our board members have different backgrounds and sometimes we disagree, but we appreciate our different perspectives and respect one anothers ideas.

Mission and Vision

  • Discuss what it is you are focusing on doing (your mission) and what the long-term goal is (vision).
  • A non-profit’s mission and vision will shape the work of the organization, so have lots and lots of conversations about this.
  • Our board has had long conversations about the word empower in our mission statement, we still revisit that topic from time to time.

Legal Documents

  • Complete required legal documents after you have your board in place and mission and vision finalized.
  • A non-profit needs to file legal documents with the state and federal government and will need to reference board members and mission statements in the documents.
  • I am learning more than I care to about legal requirements and have become practiced in keeping good records of our documents.

 

Organizational Development

  • Develop written documents to record how the organization will operate; Start by outlining the program, the evaluation plan, potential partners, the communication plan and the annual schedule for board meetings.
  • A non-profit needs written operational documents and plans in place (plus, if the board wins the lottery and moves to Tahiti someone else can step in and continue the good work we’ve started).
  • I am learning (as I go) what information needs to be documented and how to best create operational materials.

Ask for Help

  • Let others know when you need assistance; No one does this alone.
  • A non-profit needs to support from the community and from volunteers; Engaging others strengthens the organization.
  • I have learned how to ask for help (though it is still hard to do) and have been surprised to learn that people really do want to help; Asking for help has given me a chance to connect with some really amazing people!

 

For more information on  non-profit development:

SpringBoard Innovation

BoardSource

Idealist – Non-Profit FAQ’s

Take Five! 5 Reasons & Creative Ways to Take a Break

I Took a Break

For the month of July I took a break from SpeakArtLoud work. I limited my time on Twitter, held back on posts to Facebook, did not write blogs, delayed work on our program planning and even conducted our quarterly board meeting via email.

Taking a break is important.  I know that, I’m sure you know that, but taking a break is not always easy to do, at least for me.  

I like working, I like the feeling of accomplishing something, and I especially enjoy working on SpeakArtLoud.

However, taking a break is good for the mind, body and spirit.  Taking a break – whether that break is a vacation away, an evening off, or an extra 15 minutes over morning coffee – time away from your normal routine and responsibilities is invaluable.

5 Reasons to Take a Break – Taking a break is an important part of self care and can help to stimulate your creative energy. Here are five reasons why you should take a break.

  1. Be Happy Taking a break can help reduce stress and can give you a chance to do things you enjoy, perhaps things you do not always have time for.  Do not down play the importance of happiness, happy people live longer and are healthier.
  2. Increase ProductivityAfter taking a break you come back refreshed and able to offer more energy to your work. It is amazing what a week off or even just a long lunch can do. Time away allows us to both rest and be stimulated.
  3. Remember What You Love Sometimes time away can help you fall back in love with what you are doing. Absence makes the heart grow fonder, you know.  Or time away may be just what you need to help you reconnect with your true passion and inspire you to pursue a new path.  Either way, time away can help you remember what it is you truly care about giving your time and energy to.
  4. Get UnstuckTime off can help you generate new ideas. Doing the same thing or keeping a routine is comfortable but you can soon find yourself in a rut. Try taking a break, or just changing your routine, as this can help generate fresh ideas. 
  5. Balance – Finding balance is something I struggle with personally.  Its easy to get gung-ho about something you love but it is important to break and remember that family, friends, exercise and hobbies are important parts of our lives.  Take time to enjoy all of who you are.

5 Creative Ways to Take a Break – We do not always have the opportunity to take a vacation, or completely step away from our daily responsibilities.  Sometimes you need to be creative in how you take a break.  Here are 5 ways that you can easily take a break, no vacation time required.

  1. Get Crafty – No serious art skills are needed, just some paper, pencils, scissors, tape or similar supplies.  Keep it simple, just spend a few minutes being creative.  When I’m feeling stuck at the office I get creative with a bit of white-out, colored sharpies and out-of- date promotional magnets.
  2. Look at Vacation Photos – Pull out the photo album or open the electronic file with your last vacation pictures and look at the pictures.  Heck, you don’t even need to look at your pictures, go to Flickr, breeze through someone else pics and imagine your self away for a few minutes.
  3. Doodle – Just let your pen go! Don’t think too hard, don’t worry about drawing something specific – just follow the line.  This is a great way to take a mini-break.
  4. Take a Nap – It doesn’t need to be a long nap, a cat-nap will do, but catch a few extra minutes of shut eye and let your mind and body rest.  Sleep is healing!
  5. Flower Power – Take a walk and pick a handful of flowers from various spots along the way, folks usually don’t mind if you take only one or two cuttings from their garden.  Arrange the flowers with some added greenery and enjoy.  You get double points for this one because of the added value walking offers.

What I Learned From My Break

This break helped me to understand how important time off is and that I need to take time for myself.

Initially I felt guilty about taking time away from SpeakArtLoud. This is work I care about and I feel a sense of responsibility to those who support us.

With some time away, I soon recognized that I was stressed, I was tired and I needed this time off.  I did not realize that earlier, it was only with time away that recognized how I was feeling.

During my time off I came up with some new ideas for SpeakArtLoud. I have a clearer vision of the steps we need to take over the next year and I am excited about sharing my ideas with the board in September at our annual meeting. Without the time and room to think I do not believe I would have had the same insight.

Further Inspiration – If you are looking for further inspiration or ideas for taking a break here are some useful sites: