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The President Presents the 2013 National Medal of Arts and National Humanities Medal

When presenting the 2013 National Medal of Arts and National Humanities in July, President Obama remarked: “The arts and humanities aren’t there to be consumed when we have a free moment. We need them like medicine. They help us live.” We couldn’t agree more!

I Remember Better When I Paint

Editor’s Note: As an advocate for the arts, it’s important to me that the power of the arts for healing gets the attention it deserves. I have not seen this documentary (though it is not newly released), but it was recommended to me by a fan of one of my clients. The reviews are so impressive, and the memory loss associated with Alzheimer’s is such a concern for so many, that I wanted to share it with you.

I Remember Better When I Paint, narrated by Olivia de Havilland, is the first international documentary about the positive impact of art and other creative therapies on people with Alzheimer’s and how these approaches can change the way we look at the disease. A film by Eric Ellena and Berna Huebner, presented by French Connection Films and the Hilgos Foundation. Among those who are featured are noted doctors and Yasmin Aga Khan, president of Alzheimer’s Disease International and daughter of Rita Hayworth, who had Alzheimer’s.

The Hilgos Foundation’s mission is to support and encourage the ongoing process of artistic creation with people who have memory problems and/or Alzheimer’s and who require assistance in creating art that is meaningful and enriching. The Hilgos Foundation was created in memory of Hilda Gorenstein, an accomplished painter whose career spanned 75 years. She died at age 93 and left behind her the legacy of an inspired artistic life. Choosing to call herself Hilgos, Ms. Gorenstein was known for her beautiful marine paintings, which are now in collections all over the world. She was such a skillful painter of water vessels she was chosen to paint an enormous mural depicting the history of the U.S. Navy for Chicago’s Century of Progress celebration in 1933. She completed hundreds of paintings in the last three years of her life, while she struggled with profound memory loss. The vestiges of her early, masterful renderings of waves, birds, and boats remain, but have been transformed into a new system of spontaneous, personal gestures, bordering on the abstract. The sophisticated color choices and compositions of these late works reveal how sharp her artistic eye remained up until the very end of her life.

The Hilgos Award provides student funding at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago to support and encourage the ongoing process of artistic creation. The award was established by family and friends in memory of the artist Hilgos, who studied at the Chicago Art Institute as a young woman, graduated in the 1920s, and became a well respected painter and sculptor, specializing in marine themes. Hilgos painted well into her 90′s. She returned to painting with several Art Institute students even after suffering memory loss, which almost forced her to stop painting. An award has been created in her spirit and memory at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago.

See a gallery of Hilgos’ watercolors at the Hilgos Foundation website for inspiration and hope for those who struggle with, or who are caring for a loved one who struggles with, Alzheimer’s and/or memory loss.

The website has a link to an article with fascinating insights on the connection between art and a brain failing due to Alzheimer’s, which you can access directly here:

I Remember Better When I Paint has been released as part of a DVD package which includes the documentary as well as a series of short supplemental films that further highlight special programs and flesh out the how-tos of organizing an outing, a creative workshop or recreating social bonds between people with Alzheimer’s and their families.

To buy a copy of the DVD package:

Learn more and read reviews and comments on the film’s website:

Be sure to check out the blog – this film is still touring 4 years after its initial release, and most screenings are free!

Charitable Tax Update

The House of Representatives passed a bill 277-130 to make permanent a series of charitable tax provisions.

Rep. Calvert Restores Cut to NEA and NEH

Once again, your advocacy voices made a difference. Last week, thousands of Arts Action Fund members sent letters to their Members of Congress in response to action taken by the House Subcommittee on the Interior.

California Governor Signs $5 Million Increase for the Arts

Last week, more than 1,000 California arts advocates signed the Arts Action Fund petition in less than 24 hours to encourage the Governor to sign a bill that included a $5 million increase in funding for the California Arts Council

A Perfect World

The Artist's Road
Shared with the Southern Oregon Artists Resource by Elaine Frenett, who received it in an email from The Artist’s Road, a website focused on travel and plein air painting. “Having spent a lifetime exploring and finding purpose and fulfillment through art, we decided to build this art and painting website to share what we have learned and to inspire others in their creative lives. Much of the important content (over 375 articles) you’ll find here is instructional – the steps to making paintings in oil, pastel or watercolor -  often illustrated by videos, slide shows and Step-by-Step demonstrations. Enjoy the free content. We believe that you will find value and inspiration in it.”
Many thanks to The Artist’s Road for this unique and important perspective on the importance of art.
The Dream by Henri Rousseau, 1910 (PD)
The Dream          1910 (PD)          Henri Rousseau

   We recently read a description of what artists do – perhaps the best description ever uttered – in a reprint of a commencement speech given by the late Kurt Vonnegut to the graduating class of Syracuse University in 1994. It is elegant in its spare simplicity and spot on. Mr. Vonnegut was fondly recalling a conversation he had had with one of his favorite teachers:

   “The teacher whose name I mentioned when we all remembered good teachers asked me one time, ‘What is it artists do?’ And I mumbled something. ‘They do two things,’ he said. ‘First, they admit they can’t straighten out the whole universe. And then second, they make at least one little part of it exactly as it should be. A blob of clay, a square of canvas, a piece of paper, or whatever.’ ”

Cut through all the rationalizing we do about why we feel we must continue to make art each day and what it comes down to, for most of us, is that pure and noble desire to make one thing exactly as we think it should be. We have little to no control over anything else. But when we sit down to make something, then the world is ours alone. At those moments, completely absorbed with our thoughts and efforts, it matters not what anyone else thinks now, or in the future. And if we are in the zone and able to create the beautiful thing living in our hearts and minds, then we would be wise to also protect our hatchling from the greater world of Art. By all means share it when the time is right, for sharing is ultimately what art is for. However, be in no hurry to enter into any art competitions with your newborn. Besides wasting precious hard-earned cash, a rejection or two can undo all the inspiration, self confidence and perfection which we seek to instill in our work in the first place. If we have truly made our little piece of the world exactly as we feel it should be, then honestly, we need no further approbation.

Artists need to be able to separate their tender-hearted makings from the cold-hearted enterprises of the larger world. Competing with other artists and selling art can be tough on the sensitive souls whose creations the world sorely needs. There is no easy answer to this conundrum – it is a double-edged sword. That is why we believe it is so important to carve out a space and a regular time when the larger world can be shut out so that we can listen to the song of the muse without commercial interruption.

Tell Gov. Brown of California that $5 Million for the Arts is a Great Investment!

Great news! Over the weekend, the California Legislature approved the FY 2015 budget that includes $5 million in funding for the California Arts Council.

U.S. Senate Confirms Jane Chu on June 12th

In February of this year, President Obama announced his intent to nominate Dr. Jane Chu as Chair of the National Endowment for the Arts, a position that has been vacant for more than a year. On June 12th, 2014, she was unanimously confirmed by the Senate.

And This Year’s AAF Briefing Speaker is… Bill Ivey!

Make sure the arts have a powerful voice during the 2014 midterm elections! Join us at the Americans for the Arts annual convention on June 13-15, 2014 in the musical epicenter of Southeast US, Nashville, Tennessee. The Arts Action Fund will be hosting a reception at 6:30 on Friday, June 13th. Together, we can achieve the goal of mobilizing one million citizen arts advocates to advance the arts in America.

Arts Alliance of Southern Oregon meeting- June 23! Mark your calendars and please attend!

Arts Alliance of southern Oregon logoGreetings! Please join us for the next Arts Alliance of Southern Oregon meeting

Monday, June 23, 2014 from 2:00 – 4:00 P.M.

at the Southern Oregon Guild in Kerby.  

The Gallery & Art Center is located on the RCC Kerby Campus, 24353 Redwood Hwy, Kerby, OR. 
We are thrilled to have such a strong alliance with the arts community from Jackson and Josephine Counties. We look forward to this next meeting to build upon the work we have done over the last year. Our mission: Arts Alliance of Southern Oregon is an organization of artists, arts organizations, arts advocates, and the public, dedicated to building a strong, creative and sustainable Southern Oregon arts community.
During the April meeting, we came up with an outline and general timeline through 2016 for creating a campaign for the arts. The outline includes plans to hire a grant writer, acquire grant funding, and create an effective arts marketing campaign with a slogan and map. We will continue to strategize as well as to network and grow our blossoming and ever more connected visual arts community during the June meeting.
Again, Joyce Abrams and the Southern Oregon Guild will be hosting the June 23rd meeting. If you need directions, please contact her. Here is a message from Joyce:
Hi Brooke,
Please let Arts Alliance members know that we are looking forward to hosting the June Art Alliance meeting at the Southern Oregon Guild’s Gallery & Art Center in Kerby. 
Jerry and Sharon Work will be presenting their inspiring findings about how another region collaborated to become a regional arts mecca.
“The starting point of working to increase business for artists and artisans is to become part of a robust regional economic development strategy designed to bring potential buyers to your work,” says Jerry. “My wife and I traveled to the Appalachian region around Asheville, NC, a couple of years ago to see what we could learn about how they had used their arts and crafts tradition so successfully as an economic development lever there.  When we returned, we distilled what we learned into a presentation we called “Lessons from Appalachia” ” They will share what they learned at the meeting. What they learned can be a great help as we develop a regional strategy here.
In addition to the Work’s presentation, Art Alliance members can enjoy the Guild’s new summer show, “Wild Blue Yonder”, which will open on June 8. And, for those who can take the time to enjoy the Illinois Valley’s offerings, there are several excellent wineries (esp. Foris, Bridgeview & Deer Creek) and restaurants (esp. Taylor’s Country Store and Carlos Seafood & Mexican Restaurate). Additional art venues near the Guild Gallery in Kerby are Hampton’s Rock Shop, It’s a Burl, Yanase Jewelers, Jerry’s Dove Tail Joint, and Seasons ‘n Time. 
If anyone wants to venture up to the Oregon Caves, there is a very good restaurant at the Chateau for evening and a 50′s period coffee shop as well.
Again, we are looking forward to seeing you all in June.
Joyce Abrams, President
Southern Oregon Guild
Thank you for being part of the Arts Alliance of Southern Oregon- all are welcome! Please feel free to forward this email to anyone you know who may be interested. Let’s carpool to the June meeting and have a great representation from throughout Southern Oregon.
Please “like” AASO on facebook: 
Arts Alliance of Southern Oregon

An organization of artists, arts org’s, arts advocates, and the public, dedicated to building a…
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It is an honor to be part of this exciting collaboration! See you June 23rd!
Brooke Nuckles Gentekos
brookenucklesatyahoodotcom  (brookenucklesatyahoodotcom)