Monthly Archives: May 2012

Tribes: An Issue of High Security

Tribe: A Definition

A tribe is any group of people, large or small, who are connected to one another, a leader, and an idea. For millions of years, humans have been seeking out tribes, be they religious, ethnic, economic, political, or even musical (think of the Deadheads). It’s our nature.

Tribes are what make things change.-Seth Godin


There’s something different about the StartingBloc community. Something that really earns the definition of a “tribe,” which seems to be the latest buzz word in the business and entrepreneurial community.

According to vetted StartingBloc speaker, Mitchell Wade, tribes are communities which:

“when you haven’t talked for 10 years they will still take you in because you are wired the same way.”

One of the most beautiful aspects of the StartingBloc tribe is that you feel so incredibly connected. The coordinators of the Institute for Social Innovation set the tone for a space that is open, honest, and inspiring. The events comprise the perfect combination of the traditional business conference segments: public speaking & pitches, network building, skill development, mentorship, and teamwork, with the less traditional topics that are so integral to innovation: inquiry, vulnerability, benevolence, honesty, love, mindfulness, and authentic connection.

As a StartingBloc fellow, you don’t know every face in the room, but you greet each person with love and respect.
You don’t just pitch your point and try to get people to think you’re interesting, instead you ask questions.
You don’t have to be at every second of every event, but when you attend, you are fully present.

. Continue reading

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(He)art & Soul

Major or minor, epic or commonplace, the arts are the works of the spirit. They are acts of love that unite and “spiritualize” our lives.

Laurence G Boldt in Zen and the art of making a living

A Chat with a Gallerina

A couple of nights ago I had a wonderful discussion about art with my good friend Jacki Glick, a girl with fascinating experience as a “gallerina” and inspiring dreams for sharing her experiences with the world. With a background in public relations, production, and media, Jacki has big plans to establish new forums for connecting the general public to the “exclusive” world of fine art. She explained to me the sad situation that many of us find ourselves in today, disconnected from the idea of art and contemporary artists:

We tend to imagine current artists as fitting with the cliche of the “struggling artist,”  too out of touch with reality to get a “real” job and drowning in a self-indicted pool of depression, self-pity, and disillusionment. We are more inclined to purchase prints of artists long-passed and of wolrd-wide popularity, rather than supporting local artists with incredible talent. We go on far-reaching trips across the globe to acquire overpriced prints, when art bought for our homes could instead be representative of who we are and where we find meaning in life.

While I am a huge art history fan and love learning about the incredible artists of the past, I have come to realize (with Jacki’s help!) that there is a large gap in the way we connect to art and living artists today. In acknowledging this misguided image of local and contemporary art, I see tremendous opportunity for redefining the role of art in my life, and using it as a medium to connect to deeper meaning and engagement.

Murals, Activism, & Youth Engagement in Brooklyn

Groundswell Community Mural Project, an organization I had the pleasure of exploring while I was in Brooklyn last month, is a perfect example of using art as a gateway to meaning and connection. By collaboratively building mural pieces they “beautify neighborhoods, engage youth in societal and personal transformation, and give expression to ideas and perspectives that are underrepresented in the public dialogue.”

Groundswell Mural Projects

Groundswell combines the efforts of disadvantaged youth in the local area, professional artists, and causes of social activism to produce beautiful murals that adorn the walls of the Brooklyn community buildings. Talk about innovative methods of youth engagement in policy and activism! (see previous post)

A Great Read!

In Zen and the art of making a living, Laurence G Boldt explains that using art, as Groundswell does so effectively, allows us to connect to a deeper universal aspect of humanity. By appreciating the role of art as a tool for this deep connection, we can experience the world of fine art that Jacki described and bring its beauty into our everyday activities and experiences.

Real art appreciation will produce not only more and better contemplative or “fine” artists but also better carpenters, nurses, scientists, teachers, humanitarians, and entrepreneurs, and most importantly, better (more awake) human beings. Art is for the sake of the living everywhere. It’s lessons, traditions, and revelations belong to us all.

In appreciating the place of art in life, (or as life itself), we can more closely connect to contemporary artists and locally-produced art, and develop new ideas for using art as a medium for change and engagement.

In creating this post I have been inspired to redefine the role of art in my own life, and I hope that for all readers out there (if there are any!) reading it will do the same. Would love to hear any comments or suggestions about related art projects, ideas, and other beautiful examples of creativity and connection.

Until next time,


Shira Bee

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