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Wednesday, April 16, 2014

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Gladden My Heart


Honestly, I'm trying very hard to be optimistic about Easter, but my plans right now include sitting outside, away from my family, with a bottle of wine.

I've been living back at my parents' house for about three weeks now and my sister has been here at least twice but we have not said hello. The first time she was here I was having a mental breakdown (I have since adjusted). The second time was today and I was in the kitchen, but couldn't turn around and get out. This is a problem when you're in a wheelchair, the refrigerator door is open and the kitchen is smaller than an average bedroom. Needless to say, I am wary about my sister's behavior and having to spend an afternoon with her – especially since the last time I saw her was for her birthday in January and she started bringing up stuff that happened in our childhood, trying to make me seem like some kind of villain.

There is, however, going to be pork barbecue and my mom's potato salad. We stopped having the traditional Easter meal many years ago. For about five years we've been having brunch, but things are different this year – for reasons I don't know. In the past my sisters have wanted to celebrate Easter here early enough to go celebrate with their in-laws for dinner. This year we are supposed to eat around 3pm, which is solidly centered in the middle of the day. We also have to factor in the time that it will take for the kids to have their Easter egg hunt.

The egg hunt should be fun. Michael and Izzy have been hiding the eggs around the house for at least a week (since my mom pulled them out of the attic) – if you count sitting the egg under the table as hiding it.

Jeremy's sister is going to be joining us because Jeremy's family is scattered for Easter. For being uber-Christian it seems like they don't celebrate the resurrection of our Lord with much fanfare.

I am betting money that my grandmother does not come out of her room to join the rest of us. She couldn't be bothered to come out to celebrate Cathy's birthday, and I don't see why Easter should be any different. It's sad how she has cut herself off from the family, and then pissed off all her grand daughters so much that now we just shrug our shoulders. Cathy hasn't bothered with Bushie in at least a decade – something about Bushie snubbing Cathy's husband. Well, at least Bushie didn't suggest that she would call the cops on Cathy's husband, like she suggested with mine.

Being back home has been really great, except for that last incident. But that prompted my mother to allow Jeremy to drive the van – an unheard of honor. Jeremy and I attended his grandfather's 80th birthday dinner with 18 of Jeremy's family members. And not one fight broke out :) But I realize that Jeremy's family gets along so well because no one relies on anyone, or expects anything. I want to learn to be more like that, so I can be pleasantly surprised more often than let down and severely disappointed/hurt.

Is it weird that I think that it would be better for me if I were less attached to my family? Right now I feel quite attached to my mom, but I also fear that this will not last forever. I am trying to be more open about how I feel and keep an open dialog with her because I realize that has been a huge problem with us in the past. Which makes me wonder, am I not trying hard enough with the rest of my family (ie my sisters) or should I just leave them alone and not complicate their lives?

It seems that I never know where I stand with my family until there's some big explosion. The rest of the time I'm walking on eggshells, not wanting to cross lines that are tentative at best. It's confusing, and I don't know what to do – or if I need to do anything at all.


But there's wine. And that helps.
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Art4TheHomeless Now Accepts Bitcoin Donations


Yes it true! We now accept Bitcoin donations! How? Well we've recently switched our donation campaign from WePay to the Square which also provides a market place for our online store and Square aka Squareup allows users to accept Bitcoin. Click here to read Square's FAQ about accepting Bitcoin for payment options.

What happens when someone donates a Bitcoin? 

Well, accepting Bitcoin as payment is usually a long and complicated process but thanks to Square, Art4TH and other users don't have to deal with. Square takes care of it, converts the value over to USD (that's cash, folks) and drops the money into the joined bank account.

What is the value of the Bitcoin? 

Well that depends on the market. Right now, as we are blogging this post, the buy price is $540.08 and the sell price is $538.24. Click here for the source of that info.

How do you donate a Bitcoin?

Easy, just click here to donate $1 or more to Art4TH, and go through the checkout process. Once you are at the stage where you want to enter your credit card information, just check the box that says : Donate With Bitcoin (see image below) and follow the process.




Thursday, April 10, 2014

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A New Way To Help Art4TheHomeless


Art4TheHomeless is now a member of the Social Networking site, Empire Avenue. EA is more than just a social network. It's a site that helps you empower your brand by simulating a stock market. In other words, members invest in each other, but instead of cash, they use Eaves.

Why Empire Avenue?


Our founder stumbled across the site over a year ago while trying to find creative ways to promote her jewelry blog when she was homeless. People invested Eaves in her and she used her Eaves to launch missions, or jobs where others would promote her sites, blogs, photos and more for different sized amounts of Eaves. It's a brilliant way to help others promote your stuff.

And she made many contacts and friends, and one friend, author, Michael Q. Todd, sponsored Art4TH's account to the Leadership level. EA just launched their leadership program where you pay $100 and get more rewards but are influential when it comes to guiding the direction of the website. Kinda like running for Congress.

So how does this help Art4TH? Well, with more Eaves to run missions, Art4TH will not only promote homeless awareness, but so will others on a larger scale.


How You Can Help. 


If you are not a member of Empire Avenue, it's free to join. And if you are a business, it's very beneficial for you to join. Spend a couple of hours a day promoting yourself on EA and watch your online reach grow.

If you are a member, then the way to help is to invest Eaves into Art4TH. Click here to see Art4TH's profile on EA and donate today! 

If you are an EA Member and would like to sponsor Art4TH Missions click here. All sponsors who provide Eaves and Vees Missions for Art4TheHomeless will be included in the new Art4TH Sponsors and Partners Pinterest Board and get a donation receipt (Eaves and Vees cost money!) for the amount funded for the Missions and these donations are considered tax deductible ya know!

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Art4TH Zine has FLIPPED Out!



Introducing the new Art4TH FlipZine


There is a hugely popular mobile app called Flipboard that enables users to create and subscribe to never ending magazines. What do we mean, never ending? Exactly that! We keep adding and it archives everything.

So we are phasing out the Art4TH Webzine and letting it evolved into the Art4TH FlipZine and each week we will update it with new articles, artists, musicians.

All of our columnists who were writing for the Art4TH Zine have now been invited to blog for the Art4TH Website and each post will be in the new Art4TH FlipZine.

So where do we start? Well, we already started. The new Art4TH FlipZine has all of the Art4TH Zine archives that we were able to find (some files were lost on a stolen laptop and some editions were on a website hosting plan that was taken down) and now you can experience the Art4TH FlipZine here!


Wednesday, April 9, 2014

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Now Accepting Donations of Art For our new Coffee Table Book


Submit Your Art! Now accepting submissions to the:

Art4TheHomeless Coffee Table Art Book!

Art4TheHomeless will be publishing our first ever Coffee Table Art Book to be sold with all funds going toward Art4TheHomeless. If you are an artist wanting to make a huge impact, we would love to have you included. Submissions to be in our book is 100% Free. You only pay when you buy the book.  And, as always, you keep your copyrights. We just use your work to make a difference. 

We are accepting all forms of art that can be used for this book: Paintings, Drawings, Photography, Digital Art, Graphic Design, Illustration, and more!

To submit your work just do these three things:

1. LIKE us on Facebook
2. SHARE your art that you want submitted. 
3. EMAIL us your art in JPEG or PNG formats along with a short description of your art and include your name so we can give you your due credit.

Deadline for submissions is June 1, 2014. 



Saturday, April 5, 2014

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Never Give Up

Have you ever found yourself in a creative slump? Has inspiration been lost or has life become busy? If you have an artist's soul then a long break from your creative outlet(s) can cause a mental and emotional strain. You may even feel some guilt about not churning out the work. 
Don't let this slump bring you down. Most importantly do not put yourself down or berate yourself. Maybe there is a reason your creativity has taken a hiatus. This is an awesome time to sit back and review your past works. Maybe you will find that your work has become repetitive. You may even find the old spark or reason you enjoyed your work in the first place.
 There is nothing wrong with looking back at your old work. You will be able to see your progress and growth and hopefully find a path towards your future achievements. 

Monday, March 31, 2014

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Homelessness: It DOES Concern You!

Homelessness is not an issue that can be ignored for much longer. It is not an issue that affects just a few of us. Homelessness and poverty in the United States are a serious concern for everyone.

Efforts in recent years, such as HPRP, have managed to decrease the overall number of homeless people by 1%. While this is good news, other complications have appeared. The number of homeless people that are part of single-parent households or part of a family increased. Moreover, the number of homeless increased in 29 states [1].

It was found that 38% of homeless people are classified as unsheltered. This means that they are living in abandoned buildings, cars, and other places that are not intended for habitation such as the streets [1].

Why are these things a problem? Having a large homeless population places a strain on resources in society. The process of creating programs to help rehabilitate and educate those who suffer from chronic homelessness also creates more jobs and stimulates economic movement. Innovation appears in the forms of infrastructure and a more capable work-force. Think of society as a huge pie; it’s not about taking from one slice and giving it to another. It’s about making the pie larger for all of us so that the overall quality of life increases for the whole nation.

The current goal is to decrease chronic homelessness and homelessness amongst veterans. We need to maintain this strategy since it has proven to be very effective. Homelessness that is transitional and short-term tends to have a smaller impact on the economy overtime than homelessness that is chronic. Another important goal is to create a safety net that can keep people from becoming homeless as a result of a medical or financial emergency.  We need to raise awareness of transitional housing; let those who suffer from homelessness know that relief does exist [2].

The most important thing is to raise awareness. If we can put the issue in the spotlight, then more people are likely to talk about it. Consequently, more people are likely to work towards finding a solution to the problem. This can be done by getting people to talk about the problem and discuss solutions.  Tweet and blog about it! Coherent discussion is the greatest form of democracy.

[1] “The State of Homelessness in America 2013.” [Online]. Available: http://www.endhomelessness.org/library/entry/the-state-of-homelessness-2013. [Accessed: 27-Mar-2014].

[2] “Ending Homelessness | Atlanta Homeless Shelters | Thrift Stores | Atlanta Mission.” [Online]. Available: http://www.atlantamission.org/. [Accessed: 27-Mar-2014].


Thursday, March 27, 2014

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The Proper Task of Life - Nietzsche



Before I left Towson, I took a piece of art to the Towson Art Collective for their new show “Bridges.”

The paperwork was less than clear about the theme or any of the things required from the artist. The two examples on the flyer showed actual bridges, though the one line synopsis said something about “the bridge between art and science.” The piece I submitted was my robot collage. To me, robots are the perfect bridge between art and science. Robots are like moving sculpture. Someone has to create the robot's shape in the blueprints, if not with their own hands. That kind of creativity leans into art.

The gallery director described my piece as “fun.” I don't know if that means she thinks someone will buy it. This will be my third piece hanging in the gallery since I paid for my membership last May. I sold only one.

Thing is, I had to pay to enter the robot piece into this show. I did not realize that until I had already dropped off the piece and vacated town. It was only a $15 fee, but the only piece I sold did was not enough to cover this expense. I struggled with the idea of going to pick up their piece and not paying to have it in the show. I feel like my membership fee should have covered the fee. Not to mention the piece I did sell, a percentage of the price went to the gallery. Not to mention I volunteered at the gallery for free for months.

Is this how galleries work? I truly do not know, and this is making me wonder if I am going to renew my membership. I have all this art and it's not selling online. So I think it helps to have it on walls, but it seems that people rarely by original art in general. My stuff is not going to be worth more – ever, not even after I die. It's supposed to be fun, pop art but the people (who have money to spend on art) who go to this gallery are not looking for pop art. They want landscapes and pictures that blend into the background.

I had big dreams when I first joined that gallery. There was talk about me being a resident artist, of having my own work space. None of that materialized. And I volunteered until the end of the year, and was never contacted to come back after the gallery remodel. I offered to be there every day so that the gallery could be open more than Thursday-Saturday. But then there was some concern about me being their alone because I'm disabled (which I heard second-hand, through the grapevine) and whatever else that I never heard.

When I dropped off my robot piece, the gallery was being sat by two older people from the local Optimist Club. They were very enthusiastic, but didn't understand much of the art. The gallery is now open all week long because the University students have gotten involved, but they will be leaving Towson for summer break in May. I don't know what that means about the gallery being open this summer, but now that I'm not living right around the corner, there's nothing I can do. And, truthfully, there was always a lot of drama and I don't really want to put myself in that kind of atmosphere, especially if I'm not going to catch any breaks when it comes to entering my art into shows.

I would like to go to the show's opening, but I have no idea when that is happening. And since it's a two mile walk to the closest bus stop from my parents' house, and an almost three hour (two bus) trip one way, I don't know if it's worth it to go. It would be nice if I could convince a family member to take me and experience the gallery show with me – as none of my family have done that for/with me at this gallery. My sister did go with us to the Art in the Round show for the ARC of Baltimore, but she's the only family member who has shown any sort of support for my art.


Do I continue to make art? Do I have the time? Is it important if it sells? Should I give it all away? I currently do not have the answers to these questions, but I know that I will always think of myself as ARTIST.