Cardew Choir Collaborates with Orchestre dB in Concert at CSU East Bay, Thursday, March 6, 2014

On Thursday, March 6, 2014, I’ll be performing a program of music by contemporary composers with the notable San Francisco Bay Area vocal ensemble, the Cornelius Cardew Choir, in a unique collaboration with Orchestre dB, an instrumental ensemble of students from the Music Department at California State University East Bay, located at 25800 Carlos Bee Blvd., in Hayward, California.

The concert will take place in the Music Building Recital Hall, Room MB1055, at CSU East Bay, in Hayward. The event begins at 7:30 p.m. PST, admission is free, and it is open to the public. The distinctive round Music Building has a parking lot directly outside, and there is a diagram inside the main entrance that shows how to find the Recital Hall. The campus is a bit further than comfortable walking distance from BART, but there are shuttles from the Hayward BART station. If you drive, you can find the campus on Google Maps or Mapquest. You can park in Lot K (paid parking $2.00/hour).

Program and Composers:

Wind Horse, by Pauline Oliveros

Well I Like It, by Chris Luttrell

7 Hums 7 Times, by Tom Bickley

From Unknown Silences, by Pauline Oliveros

Ragtime, by Igor Stravinsky

Japan, by Karlheinz Stockhausen

The Cardew Choir and Orchestre dB will perform most of the pieces together, and a few of them separately. The entire program will be approximately 90 minutes long, with a brief intermission.

The Cardew Choir members who will be performing in this concert include:

Tom Bickley, Director
Nancy Beckman
David Samas
Cathryn Hrudicka
Dennis Aman
Jaime Robles
Dean Santomieri
Diane Caudillo
Laurie Polster

Orchestre dB will be conducted by Dr. Danielle Gaudry, who is Director of Bands at CSU East Bay (Hayward), and a professional percussionist.

Orchestre dB members include:

Flute:

Chuyi Guo

Clarinet:

Yi Zhu
Elizabeth Angell

Alto Saxophone:

Yinan Zhang

Trumpet:

Caesare Drachen
Simone Lee

Trombone:

Matthew Payne

Violin:

Nicholas Morales
Jin Wen
Hao Xia
Shuyi Xu

Viola:

Yujun Xie

Cello:

Ara Chang
Jia Xu

Guitar:

Xiuyuan Xu

Piano:

Machiko Sakasai

Percussion:

Thomas Dreiman

This wonderful collaboration between the Cardew Choir and Orchestre dB has been very rewarding, an example of artistic community outreach in action! A significant number of the students in Orchestre dB are attending CSU East Bay as part of a classical music exchange program in China, which collaborates with the Hayward campus Music Department. For most of these students, we understand it is their first experience performing this genre of improvisational music by western contemporary classical, i.e. “New Music” composers. Some of the pieces do not have traditional, notated scores; instead, they have a page of instructions in text, along with a graphic score.

For the Cardew Choir, this is our first collaboration with students and a music professor at a regional college or university (other than a few past performances that some of our members participated in at Mills College, in Oakland, California). We have all enjoyed working together, we’ve learned from each other, and look forward to future community and educational collaborations.

We hope to see you there, if you’re in the San Francisco Bay Area then, and can come to the CSU East Bay campus. Please come say hello during the intermission, or after the performance!

Keep an eye on this blog, subscribe, and request to be on the Creative Sage Arts mailing list …we’ll be updating it with more performance and multidisciplinary arts news soon.

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Shop Local, Support the Arts: Berkeley Artisans Holiday Open Studios Welcomes You & Your Family!

The Artists Invite You into Their Studios!

Over one hundred professional artists, craftspeople and galleries at studio buildings in Berkeley, California will open their doors to the public during the 23rd annual Berkeley Artisans Holiday Open Studios on Saturdays and Sundays, from 11:00-6:00 p.m., on November 30–December 1, December 7–8, December 14–15, and December 21–22, 2013. Some studios will be open on additional days, including December 23-24; please call them first to check.

All media of fine arts and crafts will be shown, including blown glass, functional and decorative ceramics, ornaments, Menorahs, lamps and unusual lighting fixtures, painted and custom furniture, garden art, floor cloths, one-of-a-kind clothing, textiles, dolls, leather bags, many styles of jewelry, sculpture, photography, paintings in different media, original prints and works on paper, mosaics, and work from recycled materials. All work is handcrafted, and many pieces are one-of-a-kind.

This self-guided tour presents a unique opportunity to meet the artists, to buy original and creative gifts, and to see working craft studios. The art walk gives participants a glimpse into the creative process, and the opportunity to sign up for classes and workshops. Many studios are in the same building, or are clustered within walking distance. Delightful, free foods and beverages are available at many of the studios.

This much anticipated, popular event is known for the high quality of the work shown. A free Map and Directory in list form are available, showing the locations of all participants. This event is FREE.

You can find Berkeley Artisans on Facebook.

You can get a Map and Directory online here. A list of participating studios is also available.

Or, stop by Artist Susan Brooks’ studio (or send her a self-addressed, stamped envelope), at:

The Sawtooth Building
2547 Eighth St. #24 A,
Berkeley, California 94710

All participants will have the directory at their studios.

Maps will be printed weekly in the East Bay Express during the event.
The maps will be at many bookstores, cafés and art supply stores.
For other directory distribution points, call (510) 845-2612 or email Berkeley Artisans.

If you’re from out-of-town, you may want to spend a weekend exploring Open Studios. For hotel accommodations, see Visit Berkeley.

Berkeley Artisans gratefully acknowledges sponsorship by the East Bay Express, and Oakland Magazine.

Wherever you live, support your local artists. Bring more art into your life!

If you’re in the San Francisco Bay Area, you can come visit my studio building…

Cathryn's Sawtooth Pictures 023

Cathryn's Sawtooth Pictures 022

Our Creative Sage™ studio/office building, the Kawneer Building (also known as the Sawtooth Building, due to the jagged sawtooth shape of its roof), located in West Berkeley, is a central point in the Open Studios events. There are a number of prominent artists of all genres working there, including visual/fine artists, writers, musicians, composers, filmmakers, sound designers, photographers, web designers, graphic artists, illustrators, theatre artists, dancers, ceramicists, woodworkers, jewelers, and more. There are also a number of interesting, arts-related small businesses and nonprofits headquartered in our historic Berkeley, California landmark.

Cathryn's Sawtooth Pictures 047

In fact, the entire neighborhood of West Berkeley, bordering on Emeryville, is an intriguing one, full of artist studios, cafes, unusual shops, tech and biotech companies, creative businesses, and the historic Fantasy Studios, part of what was formerly known as the Saul Zaentz Film Center, now Zaentz Media Center (photo above). It’s also a short drive from West Berkeley to Pixar and other Emeryville landmarks.

Cathryn's Sawtooth Pictures 072

You can see the entire set on Flickr.

If you plan to tour the Berkeley Artisans Holiday Open Studios and want to stop by and meet me (Cathryn Hrudicka) in person, please contact our office first to arrange a date and time, as we’re not usually there during the entire Open Studio hours. You can email us, preferably at least 24 hours in advance, or call and leave a message, at: 1-510-845-5510 (PDT), and we’ll get back to you to arrange a visit! You can also make prior arrangements to visit our building at a time other than the Open Studios events by contacting us at least 7-14 days in advance.

You’ll want to visit the studios of the outstanding artists and craftspeople in my building. In my section (the Dwight Way and 8th Street wing), talented artists work in all media of the fine arts; and in the past few years, we’ve had some especially outstanding women artists move into the nearby studios. I think you’ll find it a fascinating and festive place for a holiday season outing, and it’s perfect for the whole family — children are encouraged to visit with their parents.

We hope you’ll enjoy touring our historic Berkeley building, and the Berkeley Artisans Holiday Open Studios. Happy Holidays to all of you in our community, and thank you for your year-round support!

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Performing at Garden of Memory, Chapel of the Chimes, with Cardew Choir, on June 21, 2013

Laura Inserra 1
Photo by Michael Zelner, of Laura Inserra, June 21, 2011

New Music Bay Area and Lifemark Group Arts present
Garden of Memory 2013: a Walk-Through Concert
to Celebrate the Summer Solstice

Friday, June 21, 2013, from 5:00-9:00 p.m.

Chapel of the Chimes, 4499 Piedmont Ave., in Oakland.

Admission is $15 general, $10 students and seniors, $5 kids under 12 (kids under 5 are free). Tickets are available in advance from Brown Paper Tickets, or at the door (cash or check only at the door.) Buy tickets for Garden of Memory.

For more information, contact New Music Bay Area.

Participating Composers and Performers:

In addition to clicking on the links to the artists’ web sites (above) for more information, you can also read these Performers’ Notes about a few of them.

I have participated in the annual Garden of Memory event at the Chapel of the Chimes since its first year, in 1996, when Sarah Cahill founded this extraordinary, one-of-a-kind, site-specific concert. In the first few years, as a walking “audient,” I recorded audio, took photos and shot video of the who’s who of Bay Area musicians and other performers, and the audience members, a fascinating cross-section of Bay Area residents.

The historic landmark columbarium, designed by architect Julia Morgan, contains elegant, winding staircases and passageways on each level that lead one through a labyrinth of over 110 chambers, replete with beautiful, tropical indoor gardens, water fountains and pools, and the quiet inner rooms where the deceased rest peacefully in “urns” that look like bound books in bronze and other elements. The lovely stained glass windows and roof skylights bathe the building in a remarkable light, even more magical during the late afternoon golden through sunset hours (5:00-9:00 p.m.), when the Garden of Memory event occurs on the Summer Solstice (June 21st) each year.

In the early 2000s, I started performing there, usually with the Cornelius Cardew Choir. In 2005, one of the pieces we performed was a piece I had composed specifically for the location and occasion, with written text, entitled Wings of Silver Light. (I am currently writing an updated version of the piece, which now has jazz/gospel elements, much different and more complex than the original version.) In fact, many of the composers and performers have created works specifically for Garden of Memory. There are also a number of very creative electronic and computer-based musicians, as well as dancers, poets, theatre artists, and occasionally, a few video artists, who have performed or presented contemporary work at the event. Some musicians build their own instruments or use other technologies they have developed, including some that utilize ambient sounds from the flowing water fountains, ponds, or plants nearby.

What is especially wonderful, for a walk-through audience participant, is the cross-blend of delightful sounds you hear in the passageways, between musical performers in different, adjacent chambers; and your sense of discovery, as you “find” a performer hidden away in a remote warren-like corner of the building. Children love the event, and I am sure that the deceased members of the audience must appreciate being serenaded in their quiet slumber by the annual collection of musicians performing next to their spaces of internment. Indeed, there are a number of prominent musicians and other Bay Area citizens who are interred at Chapel of the Chimes. When you enter the building, you get a map at the ticket table, so that you can find your way around, and locate any performer friends you may know at the event.

For those who may not be able to walk for an hour of more at a time, or if you’re bringing small children, there are at least two concert spaces on the main floor, where a number of the musicians perform over the four-hour period. There are elevators in the building, so much of it is wheelchair accessible.

There are vendors near the Piedmont Avenue entrance that sell food and beverages, and there are water fountains in the building, but you may want to carry bottled water with you and wear comfortable shoes. The event has become very popular, and seating is limited in some of the smaller chambers of the building.

Although Garden of Memory is known as an interactive “New Music” event, you’ll actually find quite a diversity in musical styles among the performers, and sometimes, there have also been performing ensembles that have included dancers, text, video and other elements.

Following are a few selected photos from previous Garden of Memory events, followed by other information about the Cardew Choir’s performance this year (below the photos).

Stephen Kent and Beth Custer
Photo by Michael Zelner, June 21, 2011 – Beth Custer & Stephen Kent
Eli Wirtschafter and Dylan Mattingly
Photo by Michael Zelner, June 21, 2012 Eli Wirtschafter and Dylan Mattingly
Luciano Chessa
Photo by Michael Zelner, June 21, 2012 Luciano Chessa
Ellen Fullman and Theresa Wong
Photo by Michael Zelner, June 21, 2012 Ellen Fullman and Theresa Wong
Miya Masaoka and Larry Ochs
Photo by Michael Zelner, June 21, 2012 Miya Masaoka and Larry Ochs
Chapel of the Chimes 2008
Larnie Fox’s Timeharp, June 21, 2008. Photo by Cherri Lakey
Randy Porter 1
Randy Porter June 21, 2011. Photo by Michael Zelner

The members of the Cardew Choir who will perform include:

Tom Bickley
Nancy Beckman
Cathryn Hrudicka
David Samas
Jed Holtzman
Katherine Setar
Brad Fischer
Paul Woodring
David Cowen
Andrea Williams
Dennis Aman

Several of the Cardew Choir members are also performing in other ensembles for part of the evening. Check for updates at the Garden of Memory web site.

The audience is invited into our circle to sing composer Pauline Oliveros’s meditative piece, Heart Chant, which includes improvisation by audience and the Cardew Choir. Although we usually perform a repertoire of works at other performances, often composed by members of the choir, this piece has been performed at nearly every annual Garden of Memory Walk-Through Concert by popular demand, and is now a tradition at the event. The Heart Chant is followed by the sunset bell-ringing ceremony at approximately 8:30 p.m., when the entire chapel is filled with the echoes of song and bells drifting down all three floors, unforgettable in the rose and mauve sunset glow through skylights and stained glass windows.

There are several sets of photos on my Flickr account of past Garden of Memory events, including of last year’s Heart Chant. There is also a set of YouTube video clips of Heart Chant, beginning with this one.

In addition to the photos above, you can also view the Flickr photo pool for Garden of Memory 2012. A previous blog post about this event can be found here.

Media coverage of past Garden of Memory events has been archived on their web site.

Come join the Cardew Choir in singing the Heart Chant! Whether you sing or just listen, you’ll want to take photos, shoot video, or record some of the sounds you’ll hear in this magical environment.

Subscribe to this blog or ask to be added to the Creative Sage Arts e-letter list for news about other events, projects, books, and performances coming up in the next year, in which I’ll be participating. Please feel free to ask questions or comment below this post — and please come say hello afterward, if you attend this event. We look forward to seeing you there!

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Sawtooth Building Artists Featured in East Bay Open Studios, June, 2013

EAST BAY OPEN STUDIOS 2013

Saturday & Sunday, June 1 – 2 + 8 – 9, 11:00 a.m. – 6:00 p.m.

East Bay Open Studios offers an opportunity for arts fans of all ages to visit artists’ studios, glimpse the creative process, and purchase work directly from local artists. Many of the artists also offer refreshments, such as wine, artisan cheeses and other treats, in their studios. This year, over 400 hundred artists will participate, opening their studios to art adventurers across the East Bay.

Since 1979, this event remains the largest art event in the region and draws an annual audience over 60,000! Many of the artists’ studios are located within walking, biking or easy driving distance from each other. Most are also accessible by public transit, including from BART and AC Transit coming from San Francisco.

Plan Your Open Studios Tour:

  • Pick up a copy of the Directory of East Bay Arts, the event publication that profiles participating artists and includes maps, a 12 month East Bay Arts Calendar and Arts Index. Directories are available at Pro Arts and are distributed in the East Bay Express the first week in June. They are also available at most of the Open Studios locations.

  • Log on to the Online Gallery for all your East Bay Open Studios listings and maps. Each participating artist has a fully searchable personalized webpage with image gallery.

  • Self-guided tours can start in downtown Oakland at Pro Arts Gallery — East Bay Open Studios’ Headquarters — with a visit to the Preview Exhibition. On view April 30 through June 9, 2013, the Preview Exhibition features over 400 artworks installed salon-style; an awesome display that quickly reveals individual treasures.

“The fun thing about this event is that going here and there exposes things that are ordinarily invisible.”
— Leonardo Online

Cathryn's Sawtooth Pictures 023

Cathryn's Sawtooth Pictures 022

Our Creative Sage™ studio/office building, the Kawneer Building (also known as the Sawtooth Building, due to the jagged sawtooth shape of its roof), located in West Berkeley, is a central point in the East Bay Open Studios event. There are a number of prominent artists of all genres working there, including visual/fine artists, writers, musicians, composers, filmmakers, sound designers, photographers, web designers, graphic artists, illustrators, theatre artists, dancers, ceramicists, woodworkers, jewelers, and more. There are also a number of interesting, arts-related small businesses and nonprofits headquartered in our historic Berkeley, California landmark.

Cathryn's Sawtooth Pictures 047

In fact, the entire neighborhood of West Berkeley, bordering on Emeryville, is an intriguing one, full of artist studios, cafes, unusual shops, tech and biotech companies, creative businesses, and the historic Fantasy Studios, part of what was formerly known as the Saul Zaentz Film Center, now Zaentz Media Center (photo above). It’s also a short drive from West Berkeley to Pixar and other Emeryville landmarks.

Cathryn's Sawtooth Pictures 072

You can see the entire set on Flickr.

If you plan to tour the East Bay Open Studios and want to stop by and meet me (Cathryn Hrudicka) in person, please contact our office first to arrange a date and time, as we’re not usually there for the entire Open Studio hours. You can email us, preferably at least 24 hours in advance, or call and leave a message, at: 1-510-845-5510 (PDT), and we’ll get back to you to arrange a visit! You can also make prior arrangements to visit our building at a time other than East Bay Open Studios by contacting us at least 7-14 days in advance.

We hope you’ll enjoy touring our historic Berkeley building, and the East Bay Open Studios!

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Cardew Choir Celebrates its 12th Anniversary with a Series of Three Concerts in May, 2013

Cornelius Cardew Choir 12th Anniversary Concerts

As a long-time member of the Cornelius Cardew Choir, I am pleased to note that we’ll be celebrating our 12th Anniversary in May, 2013, with a series of three concerts, to be held on Wednesday, May 1st, Thursday, May 2nd, and Saturday, May 4th, in San Francisco and Berkeley, California.

Founded on May Day, 2001, the Cornelius Cardew Choir is a vocal performance ensemble based in the San Francisco Bay Area. The choir is an exciting intersection of community and experimental music brought together by singing. Occasionally, individual members also perform on other acoustic and electronic instruments, and some pieces have included additional pre-recorded sounds or digital samples. Elements of text, theatre and movement are often included in the performances.

Many of the Cardew Choir members are also composers or sound designers; and all feel free to make suggestions about the possibilities for performing a specific piece, or to try new approaches to singing and producing vocal sounds. The choir partially functions as a group composition seminar, in a collaborative environment. The choir was named in honor of Cornelius Cardew, English experimental composer/performer and political activist, who was killed in 1981. The ensemble draws inspiration from his Scratch Orchestra, composer Pauline Oliveros’ Deep Listening processes, and John Cage’s explorations of sound and life. We perform works by 20th and 21st Century composers, including works by our own members.

Curious about the musical compositions that we’ll perform in this upcoming series? Here’s a brief summary, but it’s all very experiential, so you’ll really need to be there to fully appreciate the context. Each individual performance is influenced by the environment of the specific venue:

Five-One, by choir co-founder Bob Marsh, is a remarkable work of sonic theater, employing humor, pathos, and action, using Five Elements: Sybil (seer), Ranter (psycho style street person), Carpenters, Clatter Chatterers (tea party with porcelain cups and saucers, Intone Nation (note singers). Three variations – The Sparseness (sound here and there), The Blastfulness (short-ish burst of sound, and the Thickness (continuous legato, depending on the Element). Conduction by Bob Marsh (dancer, mixicologist, puppeteer, and much more).

Knee Play 3, by Philip Glass, is a vivacious choral piece from Glass’s opera, Einstein on the Beach, using numbers and some solfeggio (do-re-mi) as the text. It’s great fun to sing, and to hear.

The Tuning Meditation, by Pauline Oliveros, is a deeply engaging vocal interaction that blossoms into elegant clouds of sound. Democracy manifest in beauty. It’s one of our favorite pieces to perform and is a Deep Listening Meditation by the oval figure in American Experimental Music.

Wildwood Cantata, by David Samas, provides a buffet of delicious wilderness sounds in song and poetry with interjections of indigenous woodland musics set to unusual invented instruments made from the natural elements. Together, performers and audience members listen through a journey from wind and silence through the dawn chorus of birds with solos from Gusty Winds May Exist (shakuhachi and recorder), down the river and into the heart of the trees, while Bob Marsh dances butoh in a Sonic Tree Suit. After a rainstorm, the wolves howl together, ending in the twilight choir of droning insects!

The three venues and dates where the 12th Anniversary concerts will be presented include:

Berkeley Arts
2133 University Avenue
Berkeley, California (a short walk from downtown Berkeley BART)
Wednesday, May 1, 2013
8:00 p.m.
Tickets: $10.00
For more information visit their web site.

Luggage Store Gallery
1007 Market St  San Francisco, California (near Powell Street BART)
Phone: (415) 255-5971
Thursday, May 2, 2013
8:00 p.m.
Tickets: $10.00

Please note: At this venue only, the Philip Glass work, Knee Play #3 will NOT be performed; instead, the choir will perform a whimsical piece that is an improvisational play on the English alphabet, by emeritus choir member and composer, Joseph Zitt, entitled That Alphabet Thing. The piece blurs the lines between text, phonetics, sound and music.

For more information, visit their web site. Go to the “Creative Music Series” page, which should be updated soon for May, 2013.

Center for New Music, San Francisco
55 Taylor Street, San Francisco, California (near Powell Street BART)
Saturday, May 4, 2013
8:00 p.m.
Tickets: $10.00

For more information, visit their web site.

We are excited and amazed to celebrate our 12th Anniversary, and I am personally especially excited about performing at the Center for New Music, a relatively new venue in San Francisco. Founded by Adam Fong and Brent Miller specifically for the performance of New Music genres, the Center also hosts workshops, a rehearsal/studio space, and even a co-working space at a convenient location near Market Street and the Powell Street BART station, in downtown San Francisco.

Tickets will be available at the door at all three performance spaces; advance tickets available where indicated on their web sites. Audience members are encouraged to be on time for all concerts. There will be a brief intermission at all three performances.

The Berkeley Arts space in downtown Berkeley, and Center for New Music in San Francisco are wheelchair accessible, and the performance venues are located on the ground floor. The Luggage Store Gallery in San Francisco is located on the second floor and has a stairway; please call the venue in advance for information about possible elevator access (phone number above, and at their web site).

The performers in all three concerts will be as follows (in no particular order):

Tom Bickley, co-founder and director
Bob Marsh, co-founder
Sarah Stiles
Katherine Setar
Dean Santomieri
David Samas
Ann O’Rourke
Kalonica McQuesten
Cathryn Hrudicka
Marianne Tomita McDonald
Brad Fischer
Tom Duff
Ben Clausen
Diane Caudillo
Betsey Biggs
Nancy Beckman
Dennis Aman

Subscribe to this blog or ask to be added to the Creative Sage Arts e-letter list for news about other events, projects, books, and performances coming up in the next year, in which I’ll be participating. Please feel free to ask questions or comment below this post — and please come say hello afterward, if you attend one of our performances. We look forward to seeing you there!

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Berkeley Artisans Holiday Open Studios on Weekends in November and December: A Free Self-Guided Tour of Workshops & Galleries

The Artists Invite You In!

Over one hundred professional artists, craftspeople and galleries at studio buildings in Berkeley, California, will open their doors to the public during the 22nd annual Berkeley Artisans Holiday Open Studios, Saturdays and Sundays, 11:00 a.m. – 6:00 p.m., November 24–25, December 1–2, 8–9, 15–16, (22–24 *✓), 2012, in Berkeley, California!

[Please note that the Creative Sage / Creative Sage Arts studio is located in a historically preserved, notable artists' studio building in West Berkeley, the Sawtooth (or Kawneer) Building — please call us ahead of time, at 1-510-845-5510 to schedule a visit to our studio, or email us at least a few days in advance of your visit, as we may be open different hours than the other scheduled events. You may want to view a Flickr set of photos of our studio building and others in the neighborhood. We'd love to see you!]

In the tour of artists’ studios, workshops and galleries, all manner of fine art and craft will be shown, including blown glass, functional & decorative ceramics, ornaments, Menorahs, lamps & lighting, painted & custom furniture, garden art, floor cloths, one-of-a-kind clothing, textiles, dolls, leather bags, many styles of jewelry, sculpture, photography, paintings, original prints & works on paper, musical instruments, mosaics, work from recycled materials, and artisan food products. All work is handcrafted, and many pieces are one-of-a-kind.

This self-guided tour presents a unique opportunity to meet the artists, to buy original & creative gifts, and to see working craft studios. The art walk gives viewers a glimpse into the creative process, and the opportunity to sign up for classes and workshops. Many studios are in the same building, or are clustered within walking distance.

This much anticipated, popular event is known for the high quality of the work shown. A free Map & Directory is available showing all participants. This event is FREE.

Places to get a directory:

  • Online: Go to the menu at the top of BerkeleyArtisans.com. Select the LIST and MAP pages, and print them out.
  • Send a Self-Addressed Stamped Envelope to
    Berkeley Artisans,
    2547 Eighth St. #24 A, Berkeley, CA 94710
  • Pick up a directory at the above address.
  • All participants will have the directory at their studios.
  • Maps will be printed weekly in the East Bay Express during the event.
  • The maps will be at many bookstores, cafés and art supply stores.
  • For other directory distribution points, call (510) 845-2612 or email berkeleyartisans@yahoo.com.

Maps will be printed in the free weekly newspaper, the East Bay Express, starting Wednesday, November 21st through the end of the event (distributed throughout Berkeley, Oakland, and The Bay Area at cafés, bookstores and newsstands).

* = Open extra days during the event & through the end of the year: call studio for more info.

✓= Open December 22–24. Call studio for hours/dates.

Spend a weekend exploring Open Studios. For hotel accommodations, see Visit Berkeley.

We gratefully acknowledge sponsorship by the East Bay Express, and Oakland Magazine.

 

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Performing at Garden of Memory 2012, Magical Walk-Through Concert at Julia Morgan’s Chapel of the Chimes, in Oakland, California

DSCN8700

(More photos by Cathryn Hrudicka or Richard Links are viewable here. The entire Flickr pool by different photographers can be found here.)

New Music Bay Area and Lifemark Group Arts present

Garden of Memory 2012: a Walk-Through Concert to Celebrate the Summer Solstice

Thursday, June 21, 2012, from 5:00-9:00 p.m., at

Chapel of the Chimes,

4499 Piedmont Avenue, in Oakland, California

Admission is $15 general, $10 students and seniors, $5 kids under 12
(kids under 5 are free).

Tickets are available from Brown Paper Tickets, or at the door.

There are elevators in the building, and it is wheelchair accessible.
If you are walking, there are many steps, so plan to travel light, especially if you are bringing young children. There are water coolers and drinking fountains in the building, but you may want to carry bottled water, as it can be warm at this time of the year.

Cameras, small video camcorders and recording devices are welcome, as long as they are not distracting to the performers, or blocking the view and passage of other audience participants. Please silence all beepers and mobile devices while you are attending the performance.

For more information, please contact New Music Bay Area.

SOS: Volunteers are needed to work at the event! If you are interested in volunteering, you can email Lucy, the Volunteer Manager, for more information. Volunteers will receive two free tickets for 1.5 hours of service!
***

I have participated in the annual Garden of Memory event at the Chapel of the Chimes since its first year, in 1996, when Sarah Cahill founded this extraordinary, one-of-a-kind, site-specific concert. In the first few years, as a walking “audient,” I recorded audio, took photos and shot video of the who’s who of Bay Area musicians and other performers, and the audience members, a fascinating cross-section of Bay Area residents. The historic landmark columbarium, designed by architect Julia Morgan, contains elegant, winding staircases and passageways on each level that lead one through a labyrinth of over 110 chambers, replete with beautiful, tropical indoor gardens, water fountains and pools, and the quiet inner rooms where the deceased rest peacefully in “urns” that look like bound books in bronze and other elements. The lovely stained glass windows and roof skylights bathe the building in a remarkable light, even more magical during the late afternoon golden through sunset hours (5:00-9:00 p.m.), when the Garden of Memory event occurs on the Summer Solstice (June 21st) each year.

Finally, in the early 2000s, I started performing there, usually with the Cornelius Cardew Choir. In 2005, one of the pieces we performed was a piece I had composed specifically for the location and occasion, with written text, entitled “Wings of Silver Light.” (I am currently writing an updated version of the piece, which now has jazz/gospel elements, much different and more complex than the original version.) In fact, many of the composers and performers have created works specifically for Garden of Memory, in the Cardew Choir, and in other vocal or instrumental ensembles. There are also a number of very creative electronic and computer-based musicians, as well as dancers, poets, theatre artists, and occasionally, a few video artists, who have performed or presented contemporary work at the event. Some musicians build their own instruments or use other technologies they have developed, including some that utilize ambient sounds from the flowing water fountains, ponds, or plants nearby.

It is truly a fascinating event! What is especially delightful, as a walk-through audience participant, is the cross-blend of delightful sounds you hear in the passageways, between musical performers in different, adjacent chambers; and your sense of discovery, as you “find” a performer hidden away in a remote warren-like corner of the building. Children love the event, and I am sure that the deceased members of the audience must appreciate being serenaded in their quiet slumber by the annual collection of musicians performing next to their spaces of internment. Indeed, there are a number of prominent musicians and other Bay Area citizens who are interred at Chapel of the Chimes. When you enter the building, you get a map at the ticket table, so that you can find your way around, and locate any performer friends you may know at the event.

For those who may not be able to walk for an hour of more at a time, there are at least two concert spaces on the main floor, where you can listen to some of the musicians perform in each room, over the period of four hours, total. You can come and go as you please, and arrive any time during the four hours — but if you intend to walk through the building or take the elevator, I would strongly suggest you allow yourself at least two hours, as it’s a large building, and it tends to be crowded in some areas.

One of the pieces the Cardew Choir will perform — an improvised piece in which the audience members are invited to join in and sing with us — is composer Pauline Oliveros’ piece, “Heart Chant.” Every year, it is one of the most popular audience participation and co-creation events there, so we keep doing it by audience request. Audience participants have commented that participating in “Heart Chant” has been a very healing, calming, and mezmerizing experience. If you come and want to join us, or simply listen, just ask someone at the door to point out on the building map where the Cardew Choir will be performing. Often, we are located in a garden room on the top floor, where the marvelous sound can trickle downward through the corridor below, and we participate in the Sunset Bell-Ringing Ceremony shortly after 8:30 p.m. We will probably perform “Heart Chant” during each 45-minute set (with 15 minute breaks each hour), so if you miss it the first set, you’ll have three more opportunities!

Although Garden of Memory is known as an interactive “New Music” event, you’ll actually find quite a diversity in musical styles among the performers. I invite you to check out the list below, and the linked web sites and articles, to learn more about the variety of musical and other performances that you’ll experience. There are a few performing ensembles, in addition to the Cardew Choir, that encourage optional audience participation.

Here is a list of the featured Composers and Performers at the event:

Articles and Blog Posts about Past Garden of Memory Events:

Photos and Videos:

More Information Links:

. New Music Bay Area
. Chapel of the Chimes
. Directions
. Maps
. Press Release

Please come say hello, if you’re able to join us at Garden of Memory 2012! We would love to create music with you, whether you just listen or join us in singing “Heart Chant.”

Readers, please note: The Creative Sage Arts Blog™ will be on vacation until Fall, 2012, as I am busy working on some new business and arts projects during the summer, and will be writing a new novel. Stay tuned for more creative news!

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Pro Arts East Bay Open Studios, June 2-3 & 9-10, Featuring Work by Over 400 Artists


via proartsgallery.org

Event Schedule, May 1 – June 10, 2012:

Preview Exhibition Open to the Public — FREE

Pro Arts Annual Preview Party

May 4, 5 – 7pm
Tickets: Artists $30 | General $55 | Sponsor $100 (Includes 2 tickets)

Experience the buzz of great food and great art in Downtown Oakland! A formal and festive reception with great food, DJ by Somar Bar, and Opera in the Gallery by Bay Area Classical Harmonies and amazing art. Contact the gallery for tickets for our annual Spring Benefit For more information, please call: 1-510.763.4361.

Artists’ Reception

7 – 9pm | FREE — First Friday –

East Bay Open Studios Weekend I

Saturday-Sunday, June 2 & 3, 11 – 6pm

East Bay Open Studios Weekend II

Saturday-Sunday, June 9 & 10, 11 – 6pm

For a link to a map and guide to the artists’ studios, and other information, please visit http://www.proartsgallery.org/ebos/event.php

Our Creative Sage™ studio/office building, the Kawneer Building (also known as the Sawtooth Building, due to the jagged sawtooth shape of its roof), located in West Berkeley, is a central point in the East Bay Open Studios event. There are a number of prominent artists of all genres working there, including visual/fine artists, writers, musicians, composers, filmmakers, sound designers, photographers, web designers, graphic artists, illustrators, theatre artists, dancers, ceramicists, woodworkers, jewelers, and more. There are also a number of interesting, arts-related small businesses and nonprofits headquartered in our historic Berkeley, California landmark.

In fact, the entire neighborhood of West Berkeley, bordering on Emeryville, is an intriguing one, full of artist studios, cafes, unusual shops, tech and biotech companies, creative businesses, and the historic Fantasy Studios, part of what was formerly known as the Saul Zaentz Film Center, now Zaentz Media Center. It’s also a short drive from West Berkeley to Pixar and other Emeryville landmarks.

You can see the entire set on Flickr. We’ll be adding new photos in the future, so keep checking for updates.

If you plan to tour the East Bay Open Studios and want to stop by and meet me (Cathryn Hrudicka) in person, please contact our office first to arrange a date and time, as we’re not usually there for the entire Open Studio hours. You can email us at least a few days in advance, or call and leave a message, at: 1-510-845-5510 (PDT), and we’ll get back to you to arrange a visit! You can also make prior arrangements to visit our building at a time other than East Bay Open Studios by contacting us at least 7-30 days in advance.

We hope you’ll enjoy touring our historic Berkeley building, and the East Bay Open Studios!

This post originally appeared on the Creative Sage Postimaginarium (Posterous).

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Performing with Amy X Neuburg, Moe! Staiano + 35 Vocalists & Musicians at BAMPFA, 4/13/12


Amy X Neuburg

Berkeley Art Museum / Pacific Film Archive (BAMPFA)
L@te Friday Nights @ BAM / PFA

(on the University of California, Berkeley campus — map.)

Music Series programmed by Sarah Cahill

Regular readers of the Creative Sage Arts blog will recall from my previous post that I performed with composer/pianist Edmund Campion and the Cornelius Cardew Choir last month at the Berkeley Art Museum / Pacific Film Archive [BAMPFA], to a very enthusiastic, full house.

This week, I am delighted to be performing there again in the following program, with 35 other San Francisco Bay Area musicians and vocalists, including 4 electric guitarists of note (but don’t worry, it won’t be too loud):


Amy X Neuburg

L@te Friday Nights Presents Amy X Neuburg

April 13, 2012; 7:30 p.m.; Gallery B

L@TE Friday Nights
BAM/PFA Galleries are open until 9 p.m. Doors open at 5 p.m. and a DJ precedes the program at 6:30 p.m.

RSVP on Facebook

You can buy tickets in advance at the BAMPFA web site. A limited number of tickets may be available at the door.

On Friday, April 13th, the Bay Area’s own brilliant and groundbreaking Amy X Neuburg expands her patented “avant-cabaret” sound to take on the acoustics of the atrium gallery with works for a large ensemble. Neuburg, who has “scoped out her own territory in the gulf between pop and classical” (Village Voice), is joined by wild percussionist Moe! Staiano, four electric guitarists, and a special chorus for an evening of wordless and nearly wordless songs. You can find out more about Amy X Neuburg at her web site.

In this special concert, Amy departs from her more text-oriented works to explore space and time, taking advantage of the reverberant acoustics and multiple tiers of the Berkeley Art Museum.

The concert will include:

– A site-specific work for 32 voices and 4 electric guitars
– New electronic sound pieces in quad
– Spatially enhanced re-workings of several “classic” voice/electronics songs

Additionally, special guest composer/percussionist Moe! Staiano will conduct and perform in an additional new piece for chorus and percussion. For more information about Moe! Stainano and his Moe!kestra, visit his web site.


Moe! Staiano conducting his Moe!kestra

Musicians and vocalists who will perform on Friday, April 13th, include:

Vocalists (in addition to Amy X Neuburg):

Lorna Baird
Jodie Balter
Emily Bender
Carl Boe
Chris Broderick
Antonio Celaya
Teresa Marie Connors
Lark Coryell
Brad deGraf
Dale Engle
Joyce S. Goodlatte
Marianne Hockenberry
Cathryn Hrudicka
Alexis Lane Jensen
Gretchen Jude
Denise Kidder
Sarah Lockhart
Bernadette Lopes
Jacob McCann
Polly Moller
Lindsay Mugglestone
Tom Mugglestone
Djuna Odegard
Anne O’Rourke
Alan Phillips
Laurie Polster
Amy Righter
Brian Rosen
Deann Schaer
Debbie Sommer
Bob Waks

Guitarists:

Hillary Fielding
Scot Gresham-Lancaster
Aric Rubin
Dean Santomieri

Here are just a few press comments about Amy X Neuburg:

“A wonderful composer-performer… Her songs channel the rhythms of urban life through the seriocomic sensibility of a born entertainer… Neuburg’s musical inventiveness proves a delight throughout… The most striking song is the closer (“Shrapnel”), in which Neuburg layers her own singing voice into a rich chorale touching eloquently on loss and regret. It’s a funny, devastating little miracle.”
— Joshua Kosman, San Francisco Chronicle (about her show, The Secret Language of Subways, at Project Artaud Theater).

“Amy X Neuburg is a star — a brilliant one… A classically trained vocalist, a composer, an electronic musician, a poet, and an entertainer… Satirical, profound, humorous, and sexy… Experimental but always under total control… Uses the looper in the most skillful and artistic manner I’ve yet seen… She should be playing for huge houses. She deserves to be at Carnegie Hall. The kids should see and hear her on MTV.”
— Electro-Music.com

“She loops her voice and sings over her alter egos until she’s a whole chorus, an opera, a circus act… Far more musical than Laurie Anderson and a hell of a lot cheerier than Diamanda Galas, Neuburg has scoped out her own territory in the gulf between pop and classical.”
— Kyle Gann, Village Voice

“Neuburg`s talents as songwriter, singer, arranger, studio technician, and keyboardist distinguish this remarkable release … If the world was fair, ‘Songs’ would win this Bay Area performance artist acclaim as America`s answer to Kate Bush. No, even that isn’t fair: Neuburg is a major player in her own right, a unique voice in the true sense of the word.”
— Keyboard

We hope to see some of you at what will surely be an intriguing, dynamic and really fun performance! Please come and say hello afterward!

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Performing in Vocal Ensemble with Composer/Artist Edmund Campion, Berkeley Art Museum, March 9th

Berkeley Art Museum / Pacific Film Archive (BAMPFA) presents
L@te Friday Nights @ BAM / PFA
(on the University of California, Berkeley campus—map.)

Series programmed by Sarah Cahill

Edmund Campion

All of us who are lucky enough to be artists living and working in the San Francisco Bay Area appreciate the exciting and constant cross-pollination of creative influences and culture here. I am fortunate to have performed with a number of vocal, instrumental, theatre and dance ensembles over the years, most of which have been multidisciplinary, interdisciplinary and site-specific in their approaches to their work.

As regular readers of this blog will know, I often perform with the Cornelius Cardew Choir, an experimental, multidisciplinary vocal ensemble that performs both original pieces by members of the group, and contemporary works by 20th and 21st Century composers, such as our namesake, Cornelius Cardew, and Pauline Oliveros, Edmund Campion, and others. Most of us also play acoustic instruments or create electronic music. Some of us (including me) have a background in sound design or sound art, as well as being composers and improvisers. Some of us also perform other genres of music in different ensembles.

On Friday evening, March 09, 2012, a pioneer of computer-enhanced performance practice, Edmund Campion, will transform Gallery B of the Berkeley Art Museum/Pacific Film Archive with sound and visuals, including video projection, members of the vocal ensemble, the Cardew Choir, spread throughout the building, and his own brand of dynamic, buoyant electronic music. The piece we’ll be performing is called Ellipsis. You can go to the CNMAT (UC Berkeley’s Center for New Music and Audio Technologies) site for a preview of what you’ll hear at the performance. The Cardew Choir will be directed by Tom Bickley.

Designer Raveevarn Choksombatchai, artist and 3-D animator Claudia Hart, and members of the Cornelius Cardew Choir will collaborate with Edmund Campion, who is a co-director of UC Berkeley’s Center for New Music and Audio Technologies (CNMAT). More information about Mr. Campion and his work can be found at his web site.

Friday night programs typically begin at 7:30 p.m. in Gallery B; doors open at 5 p.m., with DJs in the lobby, or in Gallery B at 6:30 p.m.

Tickets: Free for BAM/PFA members and UC Berkeley students, faculty, and staff; only $7 General Admission. You can buy advance tickets here. A limited number of tickets will also be available at the door.

Event Contact:
510-642-0808

More information is available here.

COMING UP April 13, 2012:

I’ll be performing with other members of the Cardew Choir in an event headlined by the Bay Area’s own brilliant and groundbreaking composer/vocalist/performer, Amy X Neuburg, at the Berkeley Art Museum/Pacific Film Archive — watch for another blog post here on this blog. Meanwhile, you can get a preview of that event and buy advance tickets here. A limited number of tickets will also be available at the door.

We hope to see some of you at either or both of these Friday night events, and please come and say hello after the performances!

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A Guide to Open Innovation and Crowd Sourcing: Advice from Leading Experts (Kogan Page, 2011) Makes the Amazon UK Best Seller List!

Part of our company’s 30th Anniversary Year Series. (You can start by reading Part 1 here.)

In the video clip above, Paul Sloane, Editor of the recently published book, A Guide to Open Innovation and Crowd Sourcing: Advice from Leading Experts — with a foreword by Henry Chesbrough — describes the book in this video clip on YouTube, and tells you why you or your organization would find value in it.

I’m honored to be a contributing author to this book, along with some of my innovation colleagues from #Innochat (a Twitter Innovation chat and web site). I co-wrote the chapter, “Building the Culture for Open Innovation and Crowd Sourcing,” with Gwen Ishmael and Boris Pluskowski — more information about all of the co-authors and the contents of this book is available on Google Books. Here are some reviews of the book.

I was very happy to note that A Guide to Open Innovation and Crowd Sourcing: Advice from Leading Experts had made the Best Seller List in the category of “Change Management” in Business Books at Amazon.UK on January 30th, 2012. On that day, I noted that the book had placed in the top 20, but it can go up and down on a daily (or even hourly) basis, so you may find it at a different number, or even in a different business category, when this blog post is published—ah, such is the life cycle of a business book.

On behalf of all the other authors, and the editor, Paul Sloane, I am very grateful to all of you who have purchased or reviewed the book. You may also be interested in two other business books to which I had previously contributed, which are mentioned in previous posts on this blog. In the notable Age of Conversation trilogy, edited by Drew McLellan and Gavin Heaton, I was one of the contributing authors to Age of Conversation 2: Why Don’t They Get It? (published in 2008); and Age of Conversation 3: It’s Time to Get Busy! (published in 2010). You can read excerpt from my chapters for Age of Conversation 2, entitled: “Creativity Comes from Conversation—What’s Innovation Got to Do with It?” here, and an excerpt of my chapter from Age of Conversation 3, entitled: “Shake Up and Stir” here. You’ll note that in both of these books, I wrote about social media and the conversational Web in terms of innovation and hiring people who are the best qualified to work in open, innovative, collaborative and conversational environments.

I may write more about creating a culture for open innovation and crowd sourcing on this blog soon, as I did in my chapter of A Guide to Open Innovation and Crowd Sourcing: Advice from Leading Experts (2011), along with my chapter co-authors, Gwen Ishmael and Boris Pluskowski. That is, in fact, the direction in which more of my consulting, coaching and training work is moving—helping organizations make difficult, but essential transitions, so that they can innovate, collaborate, and become more conversant using social media both within, and to reach beyond, their own walls and boundaries.

What would you like to know about Open Innovation and Crowd Sourcing? What would you like to read about here, related to those topics?

Your questions and comments are always welcome (below)! You may also want to check out the linked What’s Innovation Got to Do with It? blog, as I’ll be writing more about these timely topics there; and at the linked PR, Social Media and Marketing Mentor blog. Your collaboration as a reader or commenter is much appreciated!

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Rotating Creative Crops

Please note: Since this is a very popular post that is relevant to creative process and managing your time and direction when you’re working on creative projects, I keep re-posting it each year so that new Creative Sage Arts readers can check it out. It was originally published on November 10, 2008.

Several years ago, I read an interview with artist/songwriter/performer Joni Mitchell, where she talked about “rotating creative crops.” In that context, she was speaking about the different eras in her artistic life, where she had focused more on her painting or music and songwriting, and how allotting her creative time that way had helped her process. Since then, I have spoken or written about rotating creative crops a bit differently, in the context of a single day, a week, a month, or a year, in terms of my own creative work. I have applied this principle to both my artistic and business pursuits, with interesting results. I now also use some of these ideas when I do creativity coaching with individuals or groups.

Earlier in my career, I worked with adults in a mental health agency, as an activities program director and arts therapist. I also worked in a group home with teenagers who had been runaways, or who had run into trouble with the law. In both situations, I was given the opportunity to design programs that involved rotating artistic modalities with the clients (I prefer to call them “clients,” rather than “patients”). I discovered that the order in which I had them rotate through different art forms affected the results we obtained and had an impact on the success of the therapy. For instance, I found that when I started with music or movement, the clients seemed to enjoy themselves and open up more, producing a different quality of writing when I later facilitated them in poetry or story writing processes. When I started out with writing, the clients’ work was (as a whole) not as insightful or deep, more stilted, and some clients were unable to write at all. I also found that taking them from music and movement to visual media, such as painting or collage-making, and then writing also produced more insightful results and a greater ability on some clients’ part to be playful with others as part of a group.

Although the results varied to a degree by individual and psychiatric diagnosis, as well as other factors, I found that these results were fairly consistent, and I began to keep a detailed log of the procedures, artistic modality rotation and results so I could observe patterns and correlations. Even though I was working with adult psychiatric clients or troubled teenagers, in these two separate contexts, I wondered if similar findings would apply to high-functioning adults who were not psychiatric clients, in a corporate creativity or business innovation training context. The answer was basically yes, although the processes and exercises were much different. Helping people to loosen up first through the use of music (listening, singing or playing instruments), movement or dancing enabled them to open up with each other more effectively later on, when we were doing teamwork or group exercises involving creative and strategic thinking, writing, storytelling and other methods to enhance innovative thinking. I have also used visual media and dramatic improvisation in business innovation programs, customized to the specific group or individuals involved. My business creativity and innovation training, consulting and coaching includes many other dynamic methodologies as well.

In my own work as an artist, I have applied the principle of “rotating creative crops” and have found that it significantly enhances my work in each artistic medium. It also helps me think and work more effectively in my business. For instance, on some work days, when my schedule permits, I begin the day with a walk outdoors or listening to music that resonates with my mood. Then, I might play music for an hour or two at a time. If I don’t have an hour that day, I’ll play or sing for fifteen minutes. I find that my mind is much more awake, and my creative thinking has been stimulated. It also enables me to feel less anxious and overwhelmed by the demands of my business.

Periodically through the work day, I will alternate 1-2 hours of playing music or singing, creative writing, or a visual medium with 1-3 hour time slots of work for my business. I also try to rotate that work as much as possible, designating specific times to check email, interact on social networks. return or make phone calls, do marketing outreach tasks, and work on client projects. Often I do have to accommodate the needs and schedules of my clients, but that’s fine—I simply adjust the “crop rotation” to a different time line. For instance, on days when I must do client phone conferences or call media people in a different time zone, I do that first, and take a walk, gardening, or music break later in the day. I find that this rotation of activities literally stimulates different parts of my brain, enhances both my strategic and creative thinking, and keeps my attention more focused. It also enables me to enjoy each day and retain a positive outlook.

On days or weeks when I have many business deadlines, it is harder to spend 1-2 hours at a time playing music during each day. Rather than completely skipping the music, I came to realize I can still do it, but for 15-30 minutes at a time, rather than two hours. That enables me to continue doing something I love, and yet still meet my deadlines.

Often we think we have “no time” to pursue our artistic or other beloved interests during a busy work day, but that’s because we think of it as an “either—or”; either I do my art or do my job. I’m here to tell you from practical experience that we can do both, if we think more flexibly and creatively about how we do it. We can write that novel, paint that painting or compose that music and hold a job or run a demanding business if we find some time-saving tricks and don’t think about it as an “either—or,” but instead, think about rotating creative crops throughout the day, or over a week or month. Some people are weekend composers, novelists, painters or actors, while devoting their week days to their job or business. It’s a matter of experimenting and finding a method that works for you.

I also rotate creative crops throughout the course of a year, sometimes by season, quarter or bimonthly, depending on what kinds of artistic projects I’m working on. If you’re a multidisciplinary or interdisciplinary artist, you have probably developed a system that works for you, so that you can spend time developing in each of the art forms that you love. For instance, often in October through December, I write a new novel, timed with National Novel Writing Month, in which I have participated for [updated] nine years, from 2001-2008, and in 2011.

Although I perform at different times during the year, I often designate winter through spring as being a time when I kick off new musical compositions, or I take on a music or sound design project that has an endpoint or a deadline. At certain times of the year, I work on revising my novels, writing articles, or recording my new music compositions. It’s not always cut-and-dried by season, but I do make an annual calendar where I map out my priority artistic projects and assign each project or art form a color (on my computer, or with magic markers, if I’m making a large paper wall calendar). I find that prioritizing and organizing my creative projects this way enables me to stay focused on specific goals and feel that I’m accomplishing even small steps on the way to a larger goal.

Thinking strategically and creatively about my artistic projects has helped me think and act more strategically and creatively in my business as well. I find that I need to remain flexible and keep experimenting and shifting my methods as needed, depending on opportunities that I foresee, new projects that come my way, and to coordinate with the schedules of people I’m collaborating with. I often get new ideas, so I’ve needed to find ways of sorting through them and prioritizing which ones to work on first, which is a subject for another blog post. However, I’m convinced that my methods of rotating creative crops have enabled me to work more efficiently and with more joy, and I know I think better when I honor my own system of creative work.

What methods have you found that help you think or work creatively? How have you managed to integrate your life as an artist with another job or business? I’m eager to hear how other people work, so feel free to leave a relevant comment about your experiences.

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Using The Fifteen Minute Challenge™ When You Feel Overwhelmed by a Challenging Project

Please note: Since this is a very popular post that is relevant to meeting goals and managing your time when you’re working on creative projects, I keep re-posting it in January of each year so that new Creative Sage Arts readers can check it out. It was originally published on November 15, 2008.

Sometimes we all feel daunted by an overwhelming challenge, whether it’s getting stuck in the middle of writing a novel, or rolling out a new service or product for a business. To tackle big projects in any area, a technique I’ve found to be highly effective is “The Fifteen Minute Challenge™.” I’ve often used it with my Creativity Coaching clients who are tackling a substantial creative project, or with Business Innovation clients who are coping with an overwhelming task list or trying to figure out where to start with developing a new product, service, or innovation management process.

You may have noticed I’m even applying this idea to music, currently composing a series of 15 Minute Challenge Pieces™, which involves quickly improvising a 15-minute musical sequence, or Comprovisation, and recording it, on any instrument, for voice, or for a sound art work, using combinations of “found sounds.” This variety of speed composing enables me to get a musical idea or theme down quickly, and then later, I can hone it further, which may include expanding, arranging or orchestrating it. Of course, I often find that once I’ve gotten through the initial 15 ice-breaking minutes, I’ll then continue to go on composing, for 30, 60 or 120 minutes—but that initial 15 minutes to get over the hump of my fear and resistance is the most important and valuable use of my time.

As many of you know, I have participated for eight years in National Novel Writing Month, or NaNoWriMo. I’m especially finding The Fifteen Minute Challenge™ technique to be helpful when I am feeling overwhelmed by a section of a writing project, like my eighth NaNoWriMo novel. It’s a great technique to overcome any kind of writer’s block or indecision about where to go next with the story or characters. It is much easier to think about simply writing as fast as possible for 15 minutes and not worrying about anything else but getting words down on a page. I repeat this technique for several 15-minute time periods, sometimes assigning each one to a specific character, chapter or just a page of the novel.

Often, I use The Fifteen Minute Challenge™ in tandem with another favorite technique, Rotating Creative Crops™. You may want to go and read my post on that process, and then apply both techniques in your own way, to any type of challenging project you’re working on.

By the way, I love to get feedback from people who try any of my techniques or creative processes, and I love to hear about whatever techniques you use! Please feel free to comment after this post and let me know how you’ve applied The Fifteen Minute Challenge™, and how it’s working for you. Thanks!

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