The Christian Cultural Center’s Cultural Arts Academy Charter School – a charter school of the arts- hosted a homecoming event at their Brooklyn location recently. What was so special about that event was an element that served to raise awareness of the importance of entrepreneurship for those who pursue the arts – especially for children at the primary school level.
The event coordinator, Mrs. Joy Spruill, a Fine Arts graduate herself, who gained first hand experience on how difficult it is for creative people to successfully follow their bliss through entrepreneurship, was right on target with this vision. “Far too many African Americans lack the knowledge or financial soundness to even consider this as an option. It is my intention to surround our students with familiar faces that have accomplished the challenge of owning their own business. It is my hope that through exposure that entrepreneurship will no longer seem so foreign to our scholars.” Mrs. Spruill said of the motivation behind this event.
Worthy of note and a great delight, is the fact that a kindergarten vendor participated as a seller of lemonade – which not surprisingly – sold out before long. “She exemplified one who demonstrated to her peers, that regardless of age, one can acquire an understanding and an interest at all different levels that can lead to a successful experience.” Mrs. Spruill added.
I was quite flattered when asked to participate as the featured vendor of an event that would serve to plant the seeds of entrepreneurship in the minds of our children. Kudos to Principal Laurie Midgette for working with Mrs. Spruill to bring this vision alive! It was a delight to be able to engage in meaningful conversations that were initiated by these young and curious minds. I was told that I had been selected as a featured artist/ entrepreneur, not only because of my “beautiful works of art” but because of my “willingness to give back to causes such as the arts, cancer, children, etc.”
“Character development is one of the main missions of our school. Thank you, Madona Cole Lacy for your example of good character.” -Joy Spruill-
It is fitting for me to end by saying it was indeed a pleasure to execute my duty as a “Good Villager” and join the church, school, home and community as a whole, to creatively empower our future leaders. The Cultural Arts Academy Charter School can count on me to collaborate with their creatively supportive spirit in the future. The warm embrace I received from Principal Midgette, Mrs. Spruill and her husband Ron Spruill, and others I encountered, will forever remain with me, and serve as a catalyst that adds to fueling the connection of the dots of my creativity!
I believe that much encouragement should be given to community-generated initiatives aimed at encouraging self-sufficiency that can be realized by practitioners of the arts. This is a start to acquainting our children with the many elements that make for successful entrepreneurship.
What innovative ways to embrace and steer young minds toward success have you entertained or implemented? Please share.
This lovely display by the Joy Spruill team of an almost life-like photo and bio was as humbling as it was amazing! My husband, James Lacy, and I extend our gratitude to everyone who made this a special experience for us.
As I take stock of all that I have learned about the rich history and culture of Black Americans, and Black pioneers around the world as a whole, during the month of February that has been officially designated for the observance of Black History, I cannot help but ask myself how that knowledge and the accompanying mindset can be translated into respect and regard for self and others. My hope is that a large number of us have made a worthwhile contribution to lifting up and keeping Black History alive by engaging in activities and participating in events that can only help people of the human race understand that there is indeed a common denominator inherent in all citizens of the world that is anything but common. For there is so much more to this “common” denominator. It is binding, it is healing, and possesses the ability to forgive and assuage fear and ignorance…and yes, it can quite easily yield the opposite result when it is not given the attention it needs to flourish.
In addition to my contribution to the Black History Month enrichment process, I was blessed with knowledge that I otherwise would not have received had it not been for those who made major contributions by sharing so many “Firsts” by Blacks that were virtually unknown to the masses before now. I was elated to see establishments make a move towards spotlighting people of African descent here on Long Island – a move whose time had come, in light of the unsettling racial climate in this country.
I invite fellow Americans and African Americans to join me in enjoying this sense of pride and desire to understand the rich legacy of people around us, in a manner that will stay with us way beyond the last day of February.
As America welcomes Women’s History Month; followed by Asian Pacific American Heritage, Older Americans Month and Jewish American Heritage Month in May; I want to take it upon myself to ask everyone who understands the need for these special observances, to plan on making some move toward gaining a little bit more knowledge of and appreciation for the spotlighted groups.I hope that those who do not understand will be open to a briefing from those who do. This, of course, is only a sampling of other significant upcoming observances of various ethnic and special interest groups that make up the diverse fabric of the American culture!
Let it be known that as I make this request, it would not surprise me in the least to learn that some would say, “Why should I care about this or that group?” My response to that question is as follows: If for no other reason that is remotely obvious to you, you should care because the bliss of ignorance must be superseded by the folly of wisdom if we expect to be treated with respect, empathy and even sympathy when it is our turn. We cannot allow the unwillingness to make wholesome connections to lead us down the path of ignorance.
Newsday Jan 24 2016 (‘Dynamic, multi-ethnic art’- page E6)
The tone has been set with Dr. Martin Luther King’s Birthday and Black History Month Cultural Enrichment activities leading the way to more opportunities for Americans to find that common thread that runs through the fabric of mankind. Let us not miss out on the power of cultural enrichment and social enlightenment that will subscribe to the greatness and security of our neighborhoods and country. What we do with this opportunity will augment the process through which we can make the world a more congenial place in which we can all proudly take on the responsibility of healthy engagement, and build a firmer foundation on which the next generation of the human race can stand. This mindset, by the way, is race, ethnic and gender neutral; and calls for those who are now referred to as “those people” to be equally engaged and appreciated by those who may not have given this a thought in the past.
In conclusion, I would like to offer executable tips on ways we can go about obtaining and maintaining a much-needed cultural enrichment, social enlightenment and racial harmony.
The following starter ideas can, in part, be attributed to my observations last month
- Don’t exclude yourself from discussions that are meant to uplift, empower and educate-in person, on LinkedIn, on Facebook or other social media portals-simply because you can’t see yourself relating to “those people”.“Those people” exist in all neighborhoods on all corners of the world, and could use some refreshing input laced with sensitivity and a desire to connect in a healthy way with them.
- Make it a point to converse with an associate or co-worker whose race, ethnicity or social group is being celebrated at the time. This would work well within group settings of professional and community organizations where, more often than not, people are brutally prejudged.
- If you have young children or teenagers in your life, hold a discussion with them to find out their opinion on, or knowledge of the culture or history of the highlighted group for that month. Don’t forget to share helpful resources with them. Encourage them to hold discussions with seniors in the community. This can be arranged with Senior Centers, Churches, Synagogues, Mosques etc.
- Go on a themed exploratory trip to the library, utilize google, see what Wikipedia has to say and visit museums, art galleries and other places that can assist you with a horizon-broadening experience. Write a poem on your impression, do a painting or come up with your own creative form of self-expression that would suggest growth.
- Remember that you can neither be held responsible for the atrocities your ancestors might have perpetrated on others nor be pigeonholed as the ultimate helpless victim of circumstance, if you don’t conduct yourself in ways that bring to life the negativity of past experiences or support the perpetuation of the selfless victim syndrome. We cannot wish away the mistakes of the past, but we can surely work toward improving the present climate that we have inherited by acknowledging the resulting pain, hurt and confusion; and formulating a language that will generate camaraderie and healing instead of stone-throwing, name-calling and worse!
- When in doubt, show LOVE, connect with EMPATHY and unleash KINDNESS. These three tools are versatile enough and come in color schemes that do not ever lose their luster without much effort on the part of mankind.
- Cast aside the built-in suspicion which invariably leads to defense mechanisms that keep your radar up in the company of people you are meeting for the first time. Be open to interacting with people from whom you may potentially learn something new.
- Be genuine in your interactions with others. People tend to switch off when they realize that they are dealing with the disingenuous.
West African Surface Design Workshop conducted in observance of Black History Month. Wear Your Art: An African-Inspired textile designing workshop.
You may have heard about Your Time For Creative Empowerment, Inc. and asked what they were all about. You have a chance to find out by attending their first major fundraising gala and wearable art presentation.
Your Time For Creative Empowerment, Inc., a New York State registered non-profit organization, will launch its 1st major fundraising gala, on Wednesday, October 30, 2013, at Leonard’s of Great Neck, 555 Northern Blvd., Great Neck, New York. As part of the activities of the evening, awards will be presented to: Professor Dale Flashner, of Adelphi University and originator of ‘Creative Cups’ * Madeline Quintyne, Commissioner of Human Services of the Town of Babylon * Rev. Patrick Daymond, Senior Pastor of Memorial Presbyterian Church and originator of the “Barbershop Rap Mentoring Program” * Don Ryan, Village of Hempstead Trustee who coaches basketball teams for Hempstead Dons, Inc. * Margarita Grasing, Executive Director of Hispanic Brotherhood of Rockville Centre with over 34 years of service to the Hispanic community of Long Island * Posthumously, Dr. Gary Rachlin, who at the time of death, was the Director of Medical Education and Family Practice Residency Program at North shore Plainview Hospital and Director of Advanced Family Medicine, Bethpage as well as an avid supporter of community initiatives for Long Island’s youth.
Other highlights include: showcasing the creative talent of Long Island’s youth, a wearable art presentation by Madona Cole Originals, cocktail hour live music by Jim Lacy and guests, raffles, door prizes.
As we enter 2013 with great expectations that everything we touch will turn into gold, and that all that we wish for will be manifested tenfold, we pray that we can muster the courage, strength and determination to position ourselves within the space of the brand new year to fully experience a Happy New Year.
Our wish for you is that you find a way to totally embrace the spirit of love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control in all that you see, you think, you feel and do.
“Thank you” is in order for those of you who utilized our services and products last year. We also thank members of the Long Island community, as well as Mr. Devon Harris, who donated much appreciated time and resources to support our community service initiatives. We thank you for your commitment to our youth and families. With heavy hearts, we must recognize our staunch supporter, the late Dr. Gary Rachlin of Advanced Family Medicine — a healer of body and spirit, whose legacy we know will forever dwell in the heart of everyone he served. ~ R.I.P ~
In 2013, we are looking forward to increasing our Madona Cole Originals Free Dignity Enhancement service and expanding our collection of hand-crafted head wear and accessories. Through this service, we pride ourselves with addressing the fashion needs of all women and girls, with a special focus on those who are hospitalized or experiencing hair-loss as a result of chemotherapy and alopecia.
We will continue to provide My Time Has Come solid art-related social and cultural enrichment workshops on a consultancy basis for libraries, schools and community organizations.
As we work towards providing Long Island youth and parents with tools for navigating the challenges of life in the 21st Century, we invite you to support the efforts of the newly established non-profit organization, Your Time For Creative Empowerment, Inc., in your own way.