MINI-MASTERS OF ART
So what can you do in an hour? Can you create a master work of art? I know I can’t, but I do know of some young artists that can. This past week, I was fortunate enough to witness creativity in motion and the fundamentals of art education in action during a Young Rembrandts after school drawing class. Thirty attentive and eager elementary-aged children, with the guidance of a teacher, were armed with only a piece of paper, pencil, sharpie and a few markers created masterpieces worthy to be on display in a museum or framed on their parents walls.
I was amazed to see the kids interested and engaged in the process, but the most beautiful aspect of the experience for me had to be the “piece d’ resistance,” the imaginative yet sophisticated renderings.
Founded in 1988 in Illinois, Young Rembrandts has become a recognized leader in art education whose premise is based on the correlation between involvement in the arts and achievement in the classroom. Young Rembrandts partners with pre-schools, day care centers, elementary schools and community recreation centers throughout the nation. Currently there are eight Young Rembrandts locations throughout the Chicagoland area offering one-hour drawing classes on a weekly basis at host sites for children ages 3 ½ to 5, and 6 to 12 years old.
I received an email from a former colleague this morning about the new Zap Blog. He was particularly excited about my last Obama post because he had just thrown his hat into the political ring for the first time. He is running for Park District Board.
While the national media focuses on Iowa, New Hampshire, South Carolina and the 2008 Presidential Election, here in Illinois it’s Municipal Election time.
Speaker of the House Tip O’Neill often noted, “All politics is local.” He was explaining how the problems and concerns of towns and cities around the country dictated how their representatives and senators voted in Washington.
This Spring, local politics takes center stage as voters choose candidates to represent them at the city and community levels.
These races for public office usually do not depend on huge campaign budgets, highly publicized debates or prime time television ads. Instead, they are about knocking on doors, talking to your neighbors and caring about your community.
Let’s be honest serving on a village board is a thankless job. But it also represents public service at its purest.
So remember by supporting a candidate for local office, you are choosing the individual who might ensure your garbage is picked up on time or the pothole down the street is fixed. Potholes and garbage, I can’t think of a more vivid portrayal of democracy in action.
GET YOUR MOTOR RUNNING
Automobile enthusiasts from around the country have gathered in Chicago this week for the 2007 Chicago Auto Show. Though the hottest designs and latest innovations on wheels will be rolling out of McCormick Place this Sunday, Chicagoans can continue to get their fix for the fast lane at the Arthur Ross exhibit at the Pritzker Military Library. We’ve learned that the library offers a glimpse at our culture greater than most would expect from a military library.
Arthur Ross, a Chicago native, developed his talent for the art of planes, trains, automobiles and the figure as a student of the Chicago Institute for the Arts. Later, as a Creative Designer at General Motors’ Camouflage and War Section during World War II, he perfected his technical skills illustrating military instruction manuals and designing military equipment, camouflage and small arms. Ross eventually became the Chief Designer of both Cadillac and Oldsmobile lines.
Ross’ exhibit, The Art of Arthur Ross, will be on display at the Pritzker Military Library through March 1st. The multi-media exhibition features 11 original military-themed works and a compilation of 100 works dating from 1931 through 1964. The display highlights Ross’ modern stylistic representations of the glamour of automobiles and transportation in the 1940s.
The Art of Arthur Ross is a modern way for automobile enthusiasts to get a taste of the historic automobile designs that influenced a culture. “The images could easily fit right in with iconography commonly associated with Southern California car clubs today,” describes Martina Sheehan of Time Out Chicago. The exhibit is another unique collection the Pritzker Military Library has brought to its members and the general public.
History is not only found in dry textbooks. The Pritzker Military Library shows us that history is available all around us in many forms. Check out The Art of Arthur Ross before the collection hits the road!
I KNEW HIM WHEN…
What a meteoric rise the freshman Senator from Illinois has enjoyed. My political affiliation aside, I have to admit as Senator Barack Obama announced that he would indeed seek the Presidency of the United States, I had goosebumps. It wasn’t the 17,000 strong chanting “Oh-Bama! Oh-Bama!” in the frigid Springfield air. Nor was it that Obama chose to launch his presidential campaign Saturday in Springfield, the city most closely tied to Abraham Lincoln’s legacy. It wasn’t that he spoke at Illinois’ Old State Capitol, where Lincoln served as a legislator and gave his famous “A House Divided” speech. Having graduated from Gettysburg College, I am partial to famous Lincoln speeches.
Then what exactly gave me goosebumps?
Four short years ago, a little known State Senator from the South Side of Chicago bummed some Citrus Altoids from me. Now maybe someday, I can tell my kids that the first African-American President hit their father up for some candy.
The first time I met Barack Obama was October 2003. At the time, he was running for U.S. Senate and Obama was in fourth place in the polls. A long shot to win even the Democratic nomination for the seat being vacated by Senator Peter Fitzgerald, Obama trailed a millionaire businessman, the Illinois State Comptroller and the Cook County Treasurer. Eleven candidates (Five Republican and Six Democrats) participated in the first debate hosted by Fox News and the NAACP. And even though Obama was in fourth place in the polls, I am on record as saying only two candidates of the eleven were Senatorial. Obama was one and my candidate was the other. As candidates headed towards the post debate press briefing, Obama and I shared our Altoids moment.
Watching Obama make his announcement, I thought “what an amazing country”. It’s not that he’s come so far in such a short period of time. It is not that, as he put it in 2004, “the hope of a skinny kid with a funny name who believes that America has a place for him, too.” We’re taught an early age that we can accomplish anything when we put our minds and hearts to it. But the beauty of this country is that a 38-year old can believe and accomplish the same thing. In 2000, Obama ran for Congress and received only 31% of the vote. Now just seven years later, 17,000 strong chanted “Oh-Bama!” as he began a possible journey to the White House. What a story. Only in America is this meteoric rise possible. Goosebumps.
Now, whatever happens during the course of this election, I can always say back before the world knew him, we shared Altoids.
DRESSING MY BEAU LIKE A ROCKSTAR ON VALENTINES DAY
TK MEN held its “Champagne & Strawberries” event offering 15% off all merchandise this past Thursday night for fashion-forward females to help style their men for Valentine’s Day, so I felt it was my duty to partake in the sipping, strawberries and of course shopping!
I browsed the store with the help of Lindsay McKay, a former celebrity stylist and storeowner, and decided on purchasing a few shirts for my boyfriend (SIDE NOTE: I think I deserve an award for Valentine’s Day as the best girlfriend outfitter alive).
One shirt in particular I am super excited about giving him as his V-Day gift. Just this week TK MEN debuted a new line out of Los Angeles called CASHLORDS, the store will be the only retailer outside of NYC and LA carrying this line.
The shirts are beautiful, simplistic and have a minimalist Hollywood Hills feel to them. The collection is beyond versatile; the shirts can be worn under a blazer, layered with a sweater, or simply alone. The most unique detail of all is the Japanese silk signature on the back. I was “told” the shirts are currently all the rage in LA being worn by trend setting celebrities such as Don Cheadle, Lindsay Lohan, Nicole Richie, the Hilton Sisters, Tommy Lee and Jessica Alba just to name a few (they have a women’s line also).
Anyways, I thought I’d provide my insiders-tip on the next big trend from TK MEN hitting the Windy City.
It’s the start of a new year and everyone is trying to keep their New Year’s
resolutions, everyone including late-night Chicago hot-spot, The RiNo Lounge.
One of RiNo’s goals for 2007 is to give back to the global community and they started by hosting a party on Friday, January 26 with proceeds going to the Global Fund, one of the most recognized aid programs in the world thanks to Bono’s Product Red Campaign.
The party was a major success with over $5,000 donated and even an appearance by one of
Hollywood’s celebrity DJs, StoneRokk. Somehow paying for those last two drinks at the bar seems a lot more fulfilling when you know its going to a good cause. Stay tuned for more ways to contribute as RiNo will be hosting more events like this throughout the year.