Humankind: Drawing Parallels

PRESS RELEASE

Imagine what the world would be like if everyone had access to education.  This is the inspiration behind the project Humankind: Drawing Parallels by Hackney resident Bernadette Cronin.

Humankind: Drawing Parallels is raising money for the global educational charity Room To Read by inviting people around the world to submit a drawing about what is important to them in their lives.   These drawings will be collated into designs printed onto fabric bags for sale, the proceeds of which will go to Room To Read.

The intention is for people around the world that participate, view the images or hear about the project, experience each other as one humankind.  Reaching as many people as possible, the project hopes to break down fear and prejudice that is so often portrayed by the media against other people that are ‘not like us’.

“I’m inspired by people recognizing they share the same dreams as someone on the other side of the world that they’ve never met; that they can see themselves in each other, that parallels are drawn to what is common among humankind, that people can contribute to a project to learn more about what is in the hearts of other people and feel related to everyone they come across in the world,” says project creator Bernadette Cronin on why she started the Humankind: Drawing Parallels project.

Website address:  www.beinghumankind.org

Drawings uploaded by November 10 will be in the running to be selected for the printed designs.  Submissions on the website to date include the areas of family, love, education, environment, endangered animals, life balance, people living in harmony together, music and health.

Room to Read charity “envisions a world in which all children can pursue a quality education, reach their full potential and contribute to their community and the world.” 
www.roomtoread.org

Contact Information:
Bernadette Cronin
Email: art@beinghumankind.org   Website: www.beinghumankind.org

FEEL THE CONNECTION

Promoting Peace through the Arts

by Steve Schapiro

“I was at war with war,” says Dhamay Kanthan.

Growing up in Sri Lanka, where civil war was an element of life, Kanthan became cynical at an early age about war and those who participated. “[Soldiers] were stupid. I spent a lot of time making them wrong.”

Then, she took the Landmark Forum. “On Sunday [of the Forum] I got a glimpse at how my life’s been,” she said. After the Landmark Forum she accepted the choices of the soldiers as their self-expression, and got
present to the possibility of being a stand for peace.

In the Self Expression and Leadership Program, Kanthan created Feel the Connection, a group of volunteers committed to promoting peace through music, dance and poetry from around the world with the goal of inspiring audiences to feel the connection to each other, our community, and the world as a whole; and to realize that peace is possible now and it begins with each one of us.

The first show was in September, 2007 at a small community theater in Toronto. The program included Bharathanatyam (classical Indian dance) by Calai Chandra from Chicago, an Indonesian shadow play by
Me and My Shadows, African drumming by Mutadi World Drummers, and Hip Hop artists Little Empire.

After the event people demanded she create more events. Despite living inside of a commitment for peace in the world, her response to those requests was, “Are you kidding… that took so much already. I have no time.”

She was at a crossroads. How could she fulfill on creating peace given her concerns and disempowering conversations?

Kanthan gave up her resistance and conversation about time and joined the Team Management and Leadership Program as an opportunity to get the training that would have Feel the Connection expand and fulfill her commitment to make the difference in the world.

“I saw that communication was access to peace on the planet. People get more incomplete in war,” she said. The distinctions from the new model of communication “creates conversations where people are left complete.”

Inside of the possibility of being effortless excellence, inspiring leadership, and delightful fun, Kanthan continued Feel The Connection as her Game in the World. Being in the Team Management and Leadership program has given her training and development to create teams and teamwork with anybody.

“Before it was just me and it was work. Now I have a few hundred people on my team and partnerships with Rotary Clubs. There is no way that would have happened before TMLP.”

Now that there is a team helping to create Feel the Connection, there have been two lively shows and another event is scheduled for September 2010. Kanthan’s team includes a partnership with community organizations and preparations are under way for a four-day outdoor international festival in July as well.

As a member of Team Toronto, Kanthan now distinguishes her life as one of protecting and defending herself, her children, her opinions, and her way of being.

Her experience of leading Feel the Connection has also shifted from having a project outside of herself, to being the clearing for the possibility
that the organization fulfills. She now experiences herself as powerful and able to take on being accountable with ease. “It has shifted from
being a game to being myself.”

WISHING ON WISHART

WISHART

Wishing on a Wishart

Crissy Adams, T2Q4

When Crissy Adams’ first grandson, Jonathan Wishart, was born, he needed numerous surgeries to save his life. Months later, the family was grateful to have him come home from the hospital for the first time. But Jonathan needed 24-hour nursing care and other medical treatment. Needless to say, the financial strain kept growing as Jonathan continued to fight for his life. Crissy and her family reached out to numerous resources for financial relief. Out of their commitment to Jonathan and his life, the Jonathan’s Wish Foundation was born. And now, four and a half years later, Jonathan is a happy, healthy growing boy. Although Jonathan is better, there are many more families who are dealing with similar circumstances. This is why Crissy’s team continues to grow the foundation. The vision of the Jonathan’s Wish Foundation is to alleviate financial stress, one family at a time.

With the team’s hard work, numerous people have access to funding to help them pay off medical bills. Now, instead of worrying about how to pay off medical expenses and work extra jobs, families can be together and focus on having their loved one get better. This is what motivates the Jonathan’s Wish team to continue to raise money for the foundation.

In total, close to $2,000 has been raised for charitable foundations that give money to people undergoing financial crisis because of medical emergencies. How many people has the foundation helped? Thousands, once you consider a child’s parents, grandparent, siblings, cousins, and extended family members such as employers, neighbors, and godparents. As they saying goes, “It’s a ripple effect” and the benefits of paying a $50 heating bill is always much greater than the fifty-dollars.

Crissy’s two year participation in Landmark Education’s Team, Management, and Leadership program gave her the confidence to be unstoppable in making requests of people to donate or support her non-profit organization. From bake sales, to concerts, and even renovation projects, her team steps up to any fundraising challenge.

Jonathan’s wish is that all wishes come true! His did and thanks to the Jonathan’s  Wish team, other peoples’ wishes will also come true.

If you are interested in finding out more about Jonathan’s Wish Fund, please visit  http://jonathanswishfund.org.

Written by Djuna Wojton / edited by Wendy Zalles

DISAPPEARING DIS-EASE

MUSIC

The Gift of Music

Cecilia Rossiter, T, Q3 Team Heartland

Rossiter was born with the gift of music, and spent years developing her skills. The road to mastery was long and had many stops along the way. She began cello lessons when she was 10 years old and has worked in Chicago, Nashville, Pittsburgh, South Korea, Minneapolis/St. Paul, Rochester, MN, and the Washington, DC metro area.

“I did not have mastery in cello playing until I had mastery in practicing. I worked on it and broke through in being especially effective around age 28,” said Rossiter. “My primary teacher, Frank Miller, was principal cellist for [acclaimed conductor Arturo] Toscanini and the NBC Symphony Orchestra in the ‘50s and for the Chicago Symphony Orchestra for more than 30 years. He was the master of master cellists.”

Rossiter went on to become the principal cellist at the Rochester Symphony Orchestra in the early 1990s where she met Peter Ostroushko and performed on his album “Heart of the Heartland,” which won the 1995 Acoustic Instrumental Album of the Year. She founded the Joioso Trio and performed on public radio, in concert and at the Music and Medicine Series of the Mayo Clinic.

She taught in all the places she lived, sharing her gift with all age groups and skill levels. She was affiliated with music schools, high schools and universities. After moving to Washington, DC in the late 1990s she also started working for the National Academy of Sciences, her right arm wasn’t lifting up. Rossiter thought she had moved too many boxes.

And then one night, playing Kol Nidre – a piece for solo cello and orchestra – Cecilia dropped her bow during the performance. Her symptoms had finally become too obvious. Within months, Cecilia was diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis. A year and a half later she heeded her doctor’s advice and retired.

She was struggling with the disease when, due to a high fever, she went completely blind for two days. “It was a kick in the rear. I needed to move forward and create a life that had workability, even with the circumstance of blindness.” said Rossiter.

So she moved from Washington, DC to Lincoln, NE and began to create a community she could participate in. She bought a house near the University of Nebraska so she could be “within power chair” access to its library and its collection of science publications. She also started attending a fellowship group. It has great people and the community Rossiter was looking for. Through Landmark she found an outlet to connect her community and her experiences to a broader audience.

“I don’t have the ability to demonstrate, and I don’t have the stamina,” said Rossiter. “So where [performing] was bringing music out of silence, we now have something else to bring out of silence – a play, a sharing.”

So what is MS? It is a degenerative neurological disease, with an aspect of brain atrophy that resembles an acceleration of aging. Cecilia gets lost unexpectedly, has slowed reactions that explain falling and breaking her arm in 2006, and she deals with cognitive challenges. There is no cure, but there are drugs that can slow down the progression of the disease.

There are three things that determine its severity – how much inflammation in the brain or spinal cord, how destructive the inflammation is and how much capacity the brain has to work around it.

Symptoms that frequently lead to diagnosis are vision problems, numbness, or limbs that do not move properly. As the disease attacks the immune system, it gets harder to control muscles and body functions. The two leading causes of death from MS are starvation and bladder infection.

In “Disappearing Dis-Ease,” Rossiter teamed up with comedian Juli Burney and her mother, retired syndicated columnist Joan Burney to write scripts for 12 people diagnosed with MS, including Rossiter. It is an expression of living powerfully, no matter what the circumstances.

Each show is different, as anywhere from five to seven of the vignettes are performed. The topics vary from a husband and wife dealing with a leg that won’t stop shaking, to a professional bioengineer who takes everything coolly with Coors as the medical treatment.

There is a vignette titled, “I’m Fine,” performed by a former nurse who details how it is easier to say, “I’m fine” than to talk about and deal with disabilities.

Another woman shares her story of being a mother and grandmother who refuses to let the disease prevent her from riding roller coasters. She is determined to have fun and live her life. Her MS started in 1980, but wasn’t diagnosed until 1987 at the Mayo Clinic. She actively volunteers for the Midlands MS Chapter and won the National MS Society’s Volunteer of the Year Award in 2003. One of the vignettes, “MS Sucks” is by a doctor who has worked all over the world – in Pakistan, Nepal, Saudi Arabia, Antarctica, and the Pacific Islands.

Rossiter and her troupe have performed the play five times in Omaha and Lincoln, NE this fall. They are slated to perform at the end of January with the support of a grant from the Nebraska Arts Council. And that is just the beginning.

“We’re creating it for anyone who wants it in the country,” she said. A film of the play will be created and distributed to all 54 MS chapters so a local version of the play can be written and performed with their own members, their own stories. There is an included script/blueprint that provides a formula to write the script, how to publicize the play and what steps to take.

“We’re creating a voice for us,” Rossiter said. “Now I’m being healed and healing.”

By giving people a voice Rossiter now finds that her father, as well as a larger audience, has an unprecedented grasp and empathy of what life with a diagnosis of MS implies. Communication has become free where mystery once inspired silence. “Our miracle is simply being on stage and sharing as people living with circumstances that are difficult to wrap your mind around. We present as amazingly fine.”

Written & Edited by Steve Schapiro

CONTRIBUTION

JUAN

Contribution

Juan Cortes, Team LA, T2,Q3

Juan Cortes loves having kids win in life and in the process, discovering they are the leaders of the future. Juan designed his Game in the World, Contribution, inside of the Team Management and Leadership Program, so that the children of Los Angeles can enter art and writing contests at the community level and get the experience of winning.

The possibility of his game is being of service, powerful, loving and generous, the outcome is people experiencing love, abundance, and contribution with each other as one extraordinary family of the world.

Juan’s wife and team leader, Lisa Marie Valle supported her art students from her inner school East Los Angeles Skill Center and other schools in the Los Angeles area to enter art contests. In one instance, she had her students enter the an Asian-American Culture art contest and the great thing was that the majority of the students entering were of Hispanic descent and two of them, who painted Japanese-Americans in the interment camps during World War II in California, won first and second places. Those students discovered in the process that you don’t have to be Asian to win an Asian-American contest because they are the world. The winners were honored by meeting with Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa, tickets to Disneyland and a scholarship.

One student from Lisa’s school wrote a piece about his mother entitled 3:00 am. in which he acknowledged his mother, a single parent, for waking up so early to take care of his needs and make sure that he was prepared for his day. The miracle was that his mother saw her commitment to him acknowledged at the ceremony where he won a prize. All the students get to see that just entering a contest is being a winner and that life is always about playing.

What Juan learned from his Game how important a team is in the playing of a game, and he has discovered that he actually has the power to create something amazing in the world.

Written by Judi Romaine, Edited by Minling Chuang

*************************************************************************************

TMLP Times Contributors:

Dave Baldwin

Jeff Bonar

Valri Castleman

Minling Chuang

Judi Romaine

Cecilia Rossiter

Steve Schapiro

Djuna Wojton

Wendy Zalles

THE BIRTHING WOMAN PROJECT

dome

THE BIRTHING WOMAN PROJECT

Hannah Dupree-Team Melbourne, T1, Q4.

In 2008 in the Landmark Education ‘The Power to Create’ course, Hannah created a game for her life: By 2018 art and sport will be of equal value to society. Considering her love for the impact of public art on society and the freedom of self-expression that is created in a festival environment, she saw a way to design and realize the game she dreamed about. Suddenly, the large-scale art project she and her friends had been thinking about creating for the Burning Man festival appeared in a new light.

When fully constructed, the sculpture they are designing will be a cluster of large-scale, dressed aluminum domes and inflatable shapes that will be a massive representation of a reclining pregnant woman emerging from the desert. The domes and inflatable create pockets of internal space for artistic play and external lines for expanded conceptual vision.

Guiding the process is the ‘Oz Birthing Woman Association Inc’, formed in Hannah’s second quarter of Landmark Education’s Team Management and Leadership Program. The Oz Birthing Woman Association is structured as a not for profit incorporated association. The group is working in a non-hierarchical model of management based on “Pods”. It is a system based on equality, it facilitates free communication and decision making, each Pod being independent in its goals while always focusing on its role in the overall project.

One year out, as testament to her teams determined vision and commitment to the project, a 13.5m breast dome has been created. It had been fitted with cutting edge 360 degree cinematic projectors and creates a sense of the ground breaking technology that is being developed inside of her team.

The overarching intent of Birthing Woman Project as a multi-dimensional interactive art installation is to heal, balance and activate a new generation of consciousness that brings attention to aspects of conception, gestation and the delivery of ideas.  It also aims to encourage greater awareness of recognized feminine energies, such as being receptive, being intuitive and nurturing. The project’s view is that our current climate is relentlessly personified by ‘masculine’ energies, reflected by war and conflict, consistently reinforced through the global media.  The aim of The Birthing Woman Project is to balance ‘masculine’ and ‘feminine’ in a positive way. The project will not only have creative, cultural and personal outcomes for all who engage, but will affect all participants, in a way that promote crucial shifts in perceptions within the collective psyche.

birth

Inside of Hannah’s global game The Birthing Woman Project has developed far beyond an ‘art piece’ for a festival. The project will compete in the Central Australian Desert in 2012 following events across metropolitan and regional Australia in 2010. The Project will have a major staging at the Burning Man Festival (Nevada, USA) in 2011, with a possible European Tour later in 2011. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mlvEkL76Evc

EXPRESS YOURSELF

‘EXPRESS YOURSELF’

Georgia Bruton-Team Sydney, AustraliaT1, Q 2

Imagine not having access to the tools that allow us to create and the tools that allow us to be self-expressed. The tools that let us explore our talents and live lives we love. Unfortunately, there are hundreds of thousands of homeless Australian kids who do not have this opportunity and are just struggling to survive.

This was our inspiration in creating ‘EXPRESS YOURSELF,’ an exhibition to raise money for ‘Youth Off The Streets’ (YOTS).

Youth Off The Streets is a community organization whose mission is to “help disconnected young people discover greatness within by engaging, supporting and providing opportunities to encourage & facilitate positive life choices.”

For More information go to http://www.youthoffthestreets.com.au

The mission of this project is to educate and inspire people to be fully self-expressed in all areas of life.The goal of the project was to generate funds to supply an art program to underprivileged children in Australia so they can also have the opportunity to express themselves.

The vision for the project is to create a world where “every child has the tools to be self expressed.”

‘EXPRESS YOURSELF’ was a successful, exciting, fully self-expressed event by our team in the form of an art auction featuring a range of fantastic art pieces created for the event by both homeless kids and famous local Australians. It was held at Bondi Beach and included break-dancing and musical performances by incredibly talented homeless kids along with well known DJ’s and singers. The head auctioneer from a leading real-estate agency brought an extra flair to the auction. The header logo on this article is one of the images created for the event.

Over 150 people attended the high-energy event. Express Yourself generated a lot of good PR and over AUS$12,500 was raised to start an art program at the local YOTS schools, now in the process of being launched. Many of the homeless kids involved in Express Yourself are now inspired to include some form of creative expression in their future career choices. This event is now ready to be rolled out in Melbourne, Australia, and Auckland, New Zealand and is in the Sydney calendar as an annual event.

The vision of homeless kids, with the tools they need to be fully self-expressed, inspired, moved, and consistently motivated everyone on the Youth Off the Streets team to be in action creating an event that no one would forget.

This project was created and completed by Georgia Bruton as part of the Team Management Leadership Program. The project not only provided funding for YOTS and homeless kids. It allowed Georgia to get back in touch with her own artistic self-expression. This project allowed her to both work with what she loves and to make a difference in ways that mattered to her and others on her team. With this training in managing teams, Georgia now has the freedom and ease to expand her own work and foster more projects that contribute to her community and the world.

MICHELANGELO'S GROUP

terry-copy

Terry Mottinger- Team Cincinnati, Team 1, Quarter 1 

Terry Mottinger is an art teacher who has a special charge. She teaches kids to love art. She works in an inner city school in Columbus, Ohio. She always loved kids but recently discovered a special passion for them. She dreams of creating artists for the future; giving them real training in the arts world so children can become whatever they want in life–kids following their dreams. 

A professional artist herself, Michelangelo was always Terry’s favorite artist. He did the kind of art that inspires Terry, spontaneous and inspired. Since she pictured the children in her classes learning art the same way, she decided that Michelangelo’s Group would be a great name. 

The kids of Michelangelo’s Group create all kinds of art, from decorating the school dance to making jewelry to throwing pots to painting to dancing. Her group is waiting to hear if they’ve been invited to show their work at the Student Art Show of the Columbus Museum of Art, a prestigious invitation. 

So far the response to Michelangelo’s Group has been an overflow of enthusiasm; parents so excited they turn up at school to find out what’s happening, kids dropping by at any moment, other teachers asking what’s going on. The school principal loves Michelangelo’s Group and the kids feel honored to be part of a special group. Everyone wants to be part of Michelangelo’s Group

Terry says so far she hasn’t been stopped by problems and now her Game in the World is getting bigger and bigger. She’s excited by the possibility of expansion and adding team members. Terry says the only thing she’d have done differently in starting Michelangelo’s Group would have been to be more confident and playing a bigger game from the very beginning.  

The next steps for Michelangelo’s Group are to push it out into the community further–to executives in the arts organizations such as the Greater Columbus Arts Council and to professionals who can share their gifts at low or no cost with the kids. 

What if the world started playing the game of Michelangelo’s Group with Terry and her kids? She believes we would all live in a world with every person in touch with creativity, in touch with humanity and in touch with the art spirit. 

THE RICHMOND STREET SCHOOL ART PROJECT

richmondLast year the Richmond Street School lost their art program, but artist and photographer Jon Barber was having none of that. With only $1,000 in funding for the arts remaining in the school’s budget, (less than $2 per student for a year of art supplies and classes) and with his 4th grade son no longer having regular classroom art lessons nor an art teacher, Jon saw a need.

Jon began writing letters sharing his feelings and opinions about the loss of the art program. Then, he had a realization; he could make a difference here with his Game in the World. And so The Richmond Street School Art Project was born.

Also known as Studio 109 after the room number where the art classes are held, The Richmond Street School Art Project is a volunteer-based art program for the students of Richmond Street School.

Jon is excited about what’s been happening with the kids at his son’s school. On a weekly basis with the assistance of parent volunteers, the students are experiencing and creating art in their classrooms. The school has in place a visiting artist program, where professional artists volunteer their time and talent to share art at the schools lunch break with students. The kindergarten class recently created an amazing pastel animal project. The 4th grade class recently created masks in accordance with learning about Day of the Dead.

There was an art fair on February 12th where all the students of Richmond Street School displayed their framed artwork in an exhibition. The kids got to be honored, loud and proud. The parents and his team got to contribute to their kids and to know they were making something unpredictable happen.

Jon also saw that by starting the project, other schools might discover they didn’t have to worry about not having enough money and manpower to provide art education to their kids. Jon recognized that the Richard Street School Art Program provided an opportunity for people not only on his local team, but in his community as well. Where before, something was missing in his town, by sharing The Richard Street School Art Project, Jon now sees it as a place where people come together and create something beautiful.
Jon Barber, Team Los Angeles

Art Behind Walls

When Daniel Ager’s father was sentenced to prison for 16 years, Daniel knew right then he wanted to make some kind of a difference. The specific idea for the Art Behind Walls project came to him when he received his first letter from prison from his father (in the form of a poem) which included a beautiful sketch of he and his father that a fellow inmate had drawn from a photograph his father had with him.

Daniel realized that inmates had a contribution to make and a way to communicate through art and poetry. The first project he initiated is a coloring book for kids that inmates created through drawings of heroes that were imprisoned at one time, such as Nelson Mandela, Martin Luther King and Ghandhi. The coloring book is being given to teachers as an educational tool and to kids whose parent or parents are incarcerated. Watch Ager tell the story in his own words:

To find out more information, please go to the Art Behind Walls web site.