Magnifying a Positive Attitude to Help You and Your Organization Survive/Thrive

"Art is Business"
Magnifying a Positive Attitude to Help You and Your Organization Survive/Thrive

Photo:©Lisa Gaines McDonald

Lisa Gaines

What is a ‘positive attitude’?
  1. Positive attitude is a state of mind that envisions and expects favorable results.
  2. It is the willingness to try doing new things.
  3. The belief that everything would turn all right.
  4. It is an attitude that helps you see the good in people.
  5. It is a mental attitude that sees your life's good and accomplishments rather than the negative and the failures.
  6. A positive attitude is a mindset that helps you see and recognize opportunities.
  7. Positive attitude means positive thinking.
  8. Optimism and maintaining a positive mindset.
  9. A mental attitude that focuses on the bright side of life.
  10. A mindset that uses the words “I can” and “it is possible.”
Are you a vulture or a butterfly?  

Black History Month: Gallery Guichard brings art from across the globe

Feb 6, 2023
CBS 2's Mugo Odigwe takes us to Chicago's famed Bronzeville neighborhood, where a husband and wife are taking their message of understanding and inclusion worldwide.
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Studio 300 Interview - Renee Baker- From the Archives

Reposted: Join Fountaindale Public Library Studio 300's Justin Clash

149 views  Dec 26, 2019
Join Fountaindale Public Library Studio 300's Justin Clash as he sits down with music industry professional and local resident Renee Baker for an in-depth conversation about her professional experiences in the music industry. This interview follows a series of programs held in 2019 at Fountaindale Public Library's Studio 300 as part of their annual music business month.

Renee is a composer and violinist and the founding director of the Chicago Modern Orchestra Project. She's earned critical acclaim for her symphonies, chamber ensembles, ballets, operas, and innovative film scores.
The Fountaindale Public Library District inspires the community through education, enrichment, and discovery.

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Black History / My History Curated by Fran Joy

"Art is Business"

OBSERVER 2022 Person of The Year: Shonna McDaniel's

"Art is Business" Sacramento Observer, reposted  by Alpha Bruton, Article by GENOA BARROW December 23, 2022

Shonna McDaniel's spent a lot of time lying down this year. The local artist slipped from a ladder while working on a community mural project and broke her foot.

As a person who is constantly on the go and doing something, usually for other people, being unable to move pained her as much as the injury itself; the initial injury turned into others, and she also developed life-threatening blood clots from being prone for an extended period.

McDaniels doesn't know how to sit still, yet it wasn't idle time when she was forced to. The artist's hands – and mind – were constantly working. Bedridden for five months, she discovered new ways to create and, while recuperating, organized art shows and youth art activities.

McDaniels' unapologetic work in showing the beauty of Black people and their contributions and her continued commitment to seeing Black artists have a seat at the table led to her selection by The OBSERVER as its 2022 Person of the Year.

Before her injury, McDaniels could be found running the Sojourner Truth African Heritage Museum in her beloved South Sacramento. She founded the museum in 1996 and has expanded it from a one-room space to a must-see cultural destination.
Local artist and museum founder Shonna McDaniel's has made a conscious effort to paint her people, educate the community and create opportunities for others to shine. Verbal Adam, OBSERVER
"We want to have information on great African kings and queens and individuals that they don't speak of when they talk about art history, that they are too afraid to speak of when they talk about our history," McDaniel says of the space.
Solo Exhibition Yolo Arts' Gallery 625, 2023

Visitors often encountered her going seemingly 100 mph, urging them to discover all the museum offers and pointing them to other activities throughout the building. She's still going full speed, only these days, it's in a wheelchair or a motorized scooter donated by a community supporter.

The museum is located inside the Florin Square complex. McDaniels' roots in the space date back 30 years to when she worked for Barbara Nord, the first Black woman to own a payee service in Sacramento. The building was known as the Business Incubator at the time. It's now home to several Black-owned small businesses and the African Market Place, which takes place every first and third Saturday. McDaniels also organizes Second Saturday activities to include Blacks in activities that expose people to art and culture as they do in other parts of the city.

"We need that for South Sacramento," she says. 

African Market Place leader Ra West hosted an art exhibit featuring McDaniel's during Second Saturday earlier this month. West says the spotlight was long overdue, as McDaniel's usually is uplifting other people's work.

Black Like Me
Where others see a blank canvas, McDaniels sees possibilities. When she sees voids, she seeks to fill them. When others push back against her desire to see people of color depicted in public spaces, she just paints them with bolder strokes.

She focuses much of her artistic energy on painting Black women in all their melanated glory. Former mentor Akinsanya Kambon says that's a skill in itself.

"You can't just make Black skin by using one color," says Kambon, who first taught McDaniels at the tender age of 4.

"Black skin has all the colors in it, and I see Shonna is doing that," he says. "You have to use reds and blues and greens, and purples, and yellows; all those colors come from the sun, and the sun reflects off the melanin in the skin.

"The first thing in being an artist is you've got to learn how to see. The average person doesn't know how to see those things, but when you study them, you learn how to see and paint them. But it's not easy. So when somebody does what Shonna's doing, you can see that they put in a lot of work studying those skin tones or skin colors."

McDaniels' work has been featured in the recurring "The Black Woman Is God" exhibit at the SOMA Arts Culture Center in San Francisco. Co-curator Karen Seneferu says that as an artist, McDaniels embodies what "The Black Woman Is God" is about.
The Black Woman is God: Reclaim, Reconfigure, Re-Remember 
Curated by Karen Seneferu and Melorra Green

"Shonna McDaniels is an unsung heroine," says a fellow artist. "Like the exhibit, Shonna's art celebrates Black women as essential to building a more just society. Shonna McDaniels creates spaces that are sustainable for the community's future.

“When she produces art, she expands the intersectionality of race, age and gender, dismantling stereotypes of Black women.”

McDaniels has taught art classes and conducted numerous workshops and exhibits. She has also been involved in such collaborations as the Visual Arts Development Project, Zica Creative Arts and Literary Guild, Kuumba Collective, and the Sacramento African American Nonprofit Coalition. She also advocates for Black inclusion in public art projects such as Wide Open Walls.

"Shonna is pure light and love in action," says Sandy Holman, founder of the Davis nonprofit The Culture C.O.-O.P.

Holman met McDaniel's at the African Market Place and says her life is better for it.

"She is fearless, committed, and talented beyond measure, but I love her most for what she does for our community and her zeal to give back," Holman says.

'Woke' Walls 
"Woke" is a reasonably contemporary term, but McDaniel's says she always has been that way. She participated in her first Kwanzaa at age 5 and attended an African-centered Saturday school where she learned Swahili and was immersed in the culture.

She credits her mother, Ollie Armstrong McDaniel's, who helps run the museum, for laying the foundation early.

"We had African masks, paintings, and images of Black people throughout the house," McDaniels says. "She was a part of the Black Panther movement. We would go to Oakland to participate in the marches and other activities, so she stimulated our minds."

McDaniels' father, William McDaniels, spent time behind bars and was changed by the experience. He passed on that knowledge to his children.

"When he got into prison, he started to cultivate his Black mind, and he started sharing that information with us as young people," she says. "He started writing letters to me as a young child and sharing information about historical Black leaders. I'm getting letters with all these powerful history lessons in them."

Her mother joined the Nation of Islam and exposed her children to its ideology and self-sufficiency message. Both have influenced her art and community-focused activism.

"I definitely was inspired by the fact that the Nation had an entire block of businesses in Oak Park," McDaniels says. "It was like a Black Wall Street. I had never seen anything like it before."

Today's kids need similar exposure, she says.

"My mom involved us in everything that she could possibly imagine that would cultivate our Black minds, and a lot of the parents are not doing that. That's one of the biggest mistakes happening today for our youth. Of course, we know they're not getting that information in school."

While educators were being damned nationally for teaching the realities of American history, McDaniels was educating local youth about their place in it through a docent program at the museum that gives them money for their pockets as well. While school districts across the country added classical Black titles to their lists of banned books, McDaniels was introducing youth to Black authors on the walls of her museum and supporting the local business, Escape Velocity's Boys in The Hood Book Club, a literacy program.

For McDaniels, who hosts a Black memorabilia fest and the annual Festival of Black Women's Hair, Body, Mental/Financial Health, Beauty, and Art, it nearly broke her heart to hear a local teen say she "didn't know anything about being Black until the George Floyd incident." Also troubling, she says, are upper-middle-class parents and celebrities with far-reaching platforms, who shy away from their Blackness and denounce the importance of young people knowing about their culture and their past.

"What our community does not understand is that our children are out here acting foolish and running amok, and it is because they don't have a knowledge of self," she says. "If they had a knowledge of self and loved self, that would allow them to love others in their space. If they knew that they come from greatness, they wouldn't be out here calling each other the n-word and the b-word; they would be on a whole other level of consciousness."

'This Work Is A Part Of My Soul'
During the pandemic, McDaniels and the Sojourner Truth Museum have minded the gaps for the community, hosting senior activities, providing weekly meals, and hosting youth pop-up events and art lessons, complete with supplies. Some events were covered by city COVID-19 money, but McDaniels continued the activities even after the funds stopped this year.

"This work is a part of my soul," McDaniels says. "It's my life's work, and I want parents to get it. I want our children to get it; I want them to succeed. I want them to love each other. It doesn't matter if the funding is not there. Like Malcolm said, 'By any means necessary.' So, if I have to come out of my own pocket, which I still do in the past and sometimes today. I've always had that mindset. I'll go without to make sure that my community has."

"I've seen her develop as one of the most accomplished artists in Sacramento, in terms of African Americans," he says.

Born Mark Teemer, Akinsanya Kambon is an American artist and art professor.

Kambon is also happy she has stayed true to her activist roots.

"We as artists have a responsibility to speak to our people's struggle in this country because that's why our ancestors gave us this talent. They gave it to us so we can carry on the fight. We have to intensify the struggle," Kambon says.

Supporters often caution McDaniels that she's "doing too much," but those words aren't in her vocabulary. She's already focused on 2023 and getting an early start on securing funding for her annual Banana Festival, a significant museum fundraiser.

"A lot of people tell me, 'You're going to kill yourself trying to save your people,' 'You're going to make yourself sick,' or 'You have made yourself sick,'" she says. "It's just embedded in me to continue to do this work, and hopefully, before I transition, some major change will be made."

THE OBSERVER proudly salutes Shonna McDaniel's as its 2022 Person of the Year.

AAAM & Artwork Archive: How Digital Tools Activate, Preserve, & Promote ...

Presentation by Artist Artlisia Bibbs on Popup Research Station CAFE

"Art is Business"

My Background
 Visual artist, Artlisia Bibbs, captures life's journey through bold, colorful expression.

Her Dadaism, Pop Art, and Figurative Art style involve creating "from the heart," letting her present moment of awareness form the process of creation.   

Artlisia is a native of Mississippi but has been proud to call our Nation's Capital, the metropolitan Washington DC area, home for the past 30 years. Surrounded by creative influences throughout her life, her mother, a crafter and artist, exposed her to the arts and creativity at a very young age.

Artlisia is a self-taught collage artist, painter, and sculptor who regularly creates privately commissioned color and theme-inspired works of art for clients like The Links, Inc.; Ingram Design Group; Michelle Bailey of Black Entertainment Television; John Houston of Whitney Houston Entertainment, and many others.

                                           My Inspiration

   Dadaism is my current inspiration. Dadaism is an art movement of the European avant-garde in the early 20th century, with early centers in Zürich, Switzerland, at the Cabaret Voltaire (c. 1916). Dada emerged on the New York art scene around 1915 and flourished in Paris during the 1920s. Dadaist activities lasted until the mid-1920s. 

Dadaism developed in reaction to World War I; the Dada movement consisted of artists who rejected modern capitalist society's logic, reason, and aestheticism, instead expressing nonsense, irrationality, and anti-bourgeois protest in their works. The art of the movement spanned visual, literary, and sound media, including collage, sound poetry, cut-up writing, and sculpture. In addition, dadaist artists expressed discontent toward violence, war, and nationalism and maintained political affinities with radical left-wing and far-left politics. 

Artists are the storytellers of their time. In this time of Post Trump, January 6th Commissions, and the overthrow of Roe vs. Wade, Dadaism inspired me to think outside the box in style and to keep a sense of humor during these very dark times in American history. I hope you enjoy each image as much as I enjoyed creating them. I laughed a lot. Enjoy...

August 29, 2022, |Art and Activism