Artist Keith Hamilton – in a New York Minute

Exploring the day in photos Keith Spiro capturing photos of Keith Hamilton

Keith Hamilton with one of his inanimate models that he uses to mix real and fantasy, photography and painting.

I had a chance meeting with Brooklyn New York artist, Keith Hamilton the other day. Got to see some of his all new work and was quite taken with the genre and large as life paintings and photography he creates.

My immediate impression was Jules Verne steampunk but upon closer inspection I was absolutely convinced that he was influenced by or a fan of Amanda Palmer and her Grand Theft Orchestra. My bad. While never having had the pleasure of seeing or listening to AFP, he did come rather close to the classic boudoir and turn of the prior century night club look with his own uniquely styled signature.

Something other than timeless nudes, painted faces and a blurred line between photography and painting, human and mannequin, give his work a special twist. I bet the New York Brownstone crowd would really dig the work. And yet, Hamilton has a bit of very classic training hidden somewhere behind him.  I’m not sure the Monhegan crowd would stretch this far beyond Maine Seascapes but the I could definitely see the New York Fifth Avenue designers and haute couture diggin’ him.

Collaboration for Good

In an email last month, from one of my favored non-profits, came an invitation to participate in an online auction. While I normally eschew such programs, I was intrigued by the fact that my favored organization collaborated with two, similar minded, local organizations with which I was familiar. In fact, the more I thought about what the three organizations had done, the more willing I became to support them.

Merrymeeting Conservation and Education Alliance

Merrymeeting Conservation and Education Alliance

Instead of three separate, competing auctions or fundraisers, tapping into the same businesses multiple times, these creative organizations used some very enlightened leadership and real time technology tools to improve their results and very much enhance their good reputations.

This auction was a unique collaboration of:

the Brunswick/Topsham Land Trust,
the Cathance River Education Alliance
and the Kennebec Estuary Land Trust.

BTLT, CREA, KELT, combined forces to create their first annual on line “bidding for good” campaign. I am particularly pleased with their approach. How nice to have just one solicitation for multiple organizations that I care about and allow me to distribute the money I would want to donate in an equitable and non-pressured way. By engaging me this way, they got me to be more generous than I would have been had I needed to stop to consider who else will be tapping on my pockets in the traditional end of year ‘giving’ upon which so many organizations depend. I liked the beneficiaries, they are well aligned with each other and they eliminated the need for me to balance the financial equation of who gets how much. For a couple of images from my day in photo shoot with Gary Fogg, check out The Forecaster story here.

For the auction, I got to focus on just what items I wanted to bring home for the family. No, I didn’t  “win” the item as the automated auction email implied, I chose to outbid others because I was empowered by those organizations I care about to focus on my desired results and in so doing, I better helped them achieve theirs.

Hat’s off to the planners, leaders and collaborators of this campaign because they have invoked three key concepts needed to excel in this real-time-web world:

 COLLABORATION – easier than trying to do it all alone – no-one-organization  can really do it all alone

 REAL TIME WEB –  bidding for good allows a streamlined and real time approach to raising funds for organizations that matter

 INBOUND MARKETING – SELF IDENTIFYING DONORS- yes it really works and you are less a nuisance this way. The right people with aligned interests will find you. Thank you for allowing me to have a say in all of this.

While this particular auction will be over by the time you see this blog post, you should take a look at how they put it together and gain some ideas for your own work with 501c3 organizations.  Take advantage of the real time technology tools that are all around us and recognize the revolution in social interactions and access that is occurring.

If you need help understanding the changes, send me an email. If you’re a solicitor, don’t bother to call or add me to your grinder/donor list. I don’t respond when you and your agencies make it all about you.

Welcome anew, Maine Alliance for Arts Education

In a world of tightening budgets, where advocacy is important, the Maine Alliance for Arts Education welcomed their new executive director, Peter Alexander.Maine Arts Education

Peter is right for the job as he is more than just a guitar playing, photography book publishing, business traveler who has done good things. He has a long list of accomplishments and a range of experience that will position him well for the task of keeping the arts central to the discussion of Maine’s educational focus.

To many in this country, the education process is broken. Still based on preparing students for factory jobs that no longer exist, our education process could use some creativity and outside the box thinking that incorporates the social media, real time web based world in which we find ourselves.

I presented at Jeff Pulver’s 140 conference in Boston and I’ve attended the #140 education conferences each year in New York, where Jeff and co-curator Chris Lehmann take a hard look at the state of education now and provided a platform for all stakeholders to explore and share successful programs that are changing the way we engage the energy and creativity of youth in their own learning process.

Art teachers can be among the most influential in extending the boundaries that students encounter. Music teaches teamwork, awareness of others and a basic rule of learning that practice, more than testing, is important and critical to successful outcomes.

In this time of budget cuts, maybe the political leadership needs to take a closer look at the skills that are imparted by Arts Education and incorporate more, not less, of it into the learning curriculum.

By contrast, just look at how many worthless, negative and defamatory ads, flyers, direct mail pieces are showing up in our mailboxes at election time. Didn’t your parents often tell you, “don’t tell me what other people are doing, show me what good things you have done.”  If we could take just a fraction of the  $$$ spent on negative political campaigning and redirect it toward teaching the skills needed for the real-time-web enhanced global marketplace, which very much includes jobs in the Creative Economy, we would see revolutionary change in education. Perhaps that is what is most feared by the old guard.

Here are a couple of additional  photos of the welcome reception for Peter held at Slates restaurant in Hallowell Maine, October 21, 2012.

Maine arts educationMaine Arts Educationarts, education in Maine