Another day, another dollar. Naw, I’m only kidding!

It’s August folks and I am about seven days away from a full-on, end-of-summer panic. (I’ve been daydreaming about how awesome next summer’s going to be for about two weeks now.)

Summer is my season. June is my favorite month, and I even see that as romantically bittersweet because it’s ‘the beginning of the end’. Really; in my fantasy land I’d spend every June day blowing bubbles in a field and lounging near a sparkling body of water while laughing gaily with an ever-so-slightly-open-mouthed smile.

On chilly, stormy days, I’d sit near an open window with an organic cotton, beach-colored throw almost covering my perfect pedicure while sipping a La Croix Sparkling Coconut Water and reading old, hardcover books, or writing out my deepest thoughts on saving the world. Some days I’d sketch the ‘essence’ of a particularly sentimental tree in my Moleskine with my Copic drawing pens.

Every day would end with a bonfire and an off-the-shoulder, light-weight, linen-blend sweatshirt. My diet would consist of fresh fruit, grilled vegetables and meat, punctuated with an occasional Rocket Pop or Dark Chocolate Klondike – and maybe a funnel cake delicately torn into bite-sized morsels by thumb and index finger-tip with partially extended pinky while wistfully frolicking at a charming, old-fashioned street fair.

I’d wear the perfect outfit to every outdoor concert and spend hours on end waxing poetic about clouds and sunsets and children’s laughter.

[insert empathetic mind-wanderings here]

WIPjenni's Summer 2016 Dream

Summer 2016 Dream

The reality is that this summer in particular, has been disappointing. Circumstances conspired. Attitudes faltered. Countless ‘cheap-chic’, spring wardrobe-lifting shopping efforts dragged into numerous summer attempts, and nearly all resulted in thankfulness for well-planned-ahead “free returns”.

I ended up thoroughly immersed in the hopeful plans and hopelessly missing the realities of community pools, dollar-store sketchbooks, discount flip-flops, backyard barbecues and all the blissful pleasure of watching lightning bugs from the second-hand patio furniture. I did manage to squeeze in a few Klondikes. ;)

My tragedy of pride (or “taking the high ground”, if you prefer) in March – the heartbreaking decision to distance myself from a dishonest ‘business partner’ instead of moving forward with WIP Arts in some-form-is-better-than-none fashion – really set me back. I’m an optimistic person, but I take things seriously and I take them to heart. I can make allowances for another’s naivety and I have no qualms about a certain amount of selfishness – it’s akin to self-preservation (Hey, human nature, good to see you again!) – but even “you’re too kind, WIPjenni” (shoutout to Bootleggers Media) has limits and draws a very heavy, very dark line at publicly being called a “loser” for putting ethics ahead of financial gain.

There have been more than several false starts since I first realized that encouraging and creating opportunities for EVERYone to experience some sort of ‘artistic’ expression and appreciation was something I needed to do, but there does come a point where tenacity leads into the distinct impression that one’s barking up the wrong tree.

I’m still not utterly convinced, (tenacity is a tough nut to crack), but I’m pretty confident that White Oak is the wrong tree for me.

They (the all-knowing “they”) say that setting clear goals is the key to achieving success; well, kids, my main goal has been very community-centric all along. Pretty much since my 6th birthday party when all my friends left because I insisted on a “democratic vote” to decide which game we should play. (It was an election year and my Libra cusp demands a nod to fairness. What can I say?)

Now here’s the 2016-Summer-Down-the-Drain Epiphany… it turns out there’s an “I” in “community” and that’s all most folks can see! I have love for all the letters.

I’m not without personal motivation, though. My “I” is the feeling of accomplishment; the satisfaction in helping/making/inspiring/enabling someone else to experience something good and positive. Putting a smile on someone’s face is joyous for me. When that smile comes from some new knowledge or perspective, my joy becomes downright rapturous. And like all things that feel so gosh-darn good, it’s a little addictive.

My drive toward that satisfaction can be interpreted as condescending, aggressive, or plain old snobby, and let’s face it, none of us enjoy being ‘spoken down to’. But the thing is, my gentle readers, that’s not where it comes from AT ALL. As far as I can tell, it comes from a deep-down urge to share. I want to share. I need to share. My enthusiasm, intelligence and that cumbersome tenacity create a perfect storm of near-desperation for understanding. Honest, it’s like a I need a fix. A big, juicy hit of “Oh, yeah, I get it!”.

That’s where I’m coming from. That’s why I’m almost certain that if a community wants an all-welcoming, all-sorts-of-options, creative enjoyment space, they wouldn’t avoid or ostracize the person trying to do it because they “use big words”* and see more value in sharing understanding than building a bank balance (or getting praised); the community might just step up and pitch in. The reality is, their “I”s are bigger than their stomachs and my “I” can see its own limitations.

“Sure, but what does all that have to do with summer or days and dollars?”, I hear you mutter.

Well, the summer days flashed by while I was reordering my priorities to try and earn some shekels with my own creativity, learning how to communicate with smaller words and abridged passions on other people’s soapboxes, and largely dealing with the mounting trials and tribulations of each passing year.

And a good many of them were spent cursing Amazon.com’s inability to offer “free returns” on off-the-shoulder, light-weight, linen-blend sweatshirts. ;)


*I don’t start off with “big words”, I just end up trying ALL the words to reach that ever-elusive understanding.

If you enjoy my (humorous!/enlightening?!?) ramblings, please subscribe to this blog to get email updates; follow me on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter. Tell your friends and family – and if you really want to encourage me, buy a shirt or some other WIPjenni art merchandise. I love you all!

When a problem comes along, you must WIP it. WIP it good.

Leading with a 36 year-old, new wave song, you know it’s going to be a good post! OK, maybe not the best post ever, but the lyrics still stand as viable advice.

NO LONGER AVAILABLE ON ZAZZLE

Over the past few weeks there has been some adversity to overcome in the land of WIP, and after some soul-searching, a little stream-of-consciousness-profanity-prose and no small amount of coffee, the thoroughly modern panacea popped up: “MAKE A RETRO STYLE GRAPHIC T-SHIRT!” said my mind. So I listened. I banged out a mildly sarcastic little number that actually has a pretty nifty passive-aggressive vibe for anyone who makes an effort to do ‘the right thing’ and occasionally (or far, far, more often) has to walk away from an opportunity due to someone else’s wrong thing. It’s also a fun shirt if you happen to be one of those people who tends to document everything with images and words, and, oh, I don’t know, A FUNCTIONING, FACTUAL MEMORY! So yeah, it looks good too. Also available in white – for those times between Easter and Labor Day! :)

I'm recording this conversation. t shirt
I'm recording this conversation. t shirt by WIPjenni

Follow me on Instagram and Twitter – comment with #wipjenni. Tell your friends and family! You are a star and I want to be just like you when I grow up.

Patriotism Day Art in the Park

 

Patriotism Day Art in the Park 2014WIP Arts along with the McKeesport Art Group and the McKeesport Regional History & Heritage Center will be presenting an Art in the Park event on Sunday, September 7, 2014, from noon to 7 PM.

Art and craft vendors will be on hand to sell creative works and community organizations will be providing family-friendly arts and crafts activities. The Heritage Center Museum will be open and entertainment will be hosted at the Heritage Center.

Musical performances include Luis Castillo at 1 pm, MoneyPenny Band at 3 pm and TBA at 5 pm.

There will also be a Patriotism Parade through Renziehausen Park at 6 PM and a performance by the the River City Brass Band at the Lion’s Band Shell directly across from the Heritage Center at 7 pm.

Art & Craft Vendor Application – still only $20!: Patriotism Day Vendor App
Community Group Application – free for groups providing an activity: Patriotism Day Community App

Patriotism Day Art in the Park – Sunday, September 7, 2014. Noon to 7 PM – McKeesport Regional History & Heritage Center, 1832 Arboretum Drive, Renziehausen Park, McKeesport, PA 15132

 

WIP Arts at the MAG Show May 16th-18th

WIP Arts McKeesport Art Group Show 2014

WIP Arts will be participating in the 56th Annual McKeesport Art Group Spring Show May 16th through 18th, 2014 at Renziehausen Park in McKeesport, PA.

WIP will be hosting a display of Digital & New Media works  – no entry fees, no commissions –  artists’ demonstrations and musical performances. We’ll also be presenting the 3rd WIP Arts WANT IT? HAVE IT! free art giveaway!

Interested artists can contact WIP Arts via Facebook or email jenni@wiparts.org. Submission deadline is May 14.

This event is free and open to the public. Festivities begin at 5 pm, May 16th with the opening reception. Hours are Friday, May 16th 5-9 pm, Saturday, May 17th Noon-8 pm and Sunday, May 18th Noon-6 pm.

WIP @ MAG

Art and performances by John Roulic, Nikki Noll & Emmy Boczar, Charlie Reed, Trevor O’Brien, Rich Ermlick, Mango West, Anthony Horner, Jim Platts Rhythm Innovation, Dewey Gurall, Glass Kissin Creations by Beth Larosa, Nick Romeo, Charleigh Box, Abbie Cypher, Mose Berymon, Luis Enrique Castillo Jr., Ashcroft, the Ad-libbing Digital Poet, Paul Bowers, Lucas Hay, Effect of the Letter, Heather Kropf, Janice Catalogna and more!

New WIP Writer – Rusty Lofgren!

Welcome the newest WIP contributor, Rusty!

Rusty Lofgren

Rusty Lofgren was born in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania in 1973.  He graduated from Bucknell University in Lewisburg, Pennsylvania in 1995 with a double major in English and Biology.  After living in Washington, DC for ten years, he moved back to Pittsburgh in 2006 to focus on his photography, video work, and his writing.  Having circled the world in his travels, he is an old soul who wants nothing more out of life than to have good fun creating art, and to forever hear the music of the clear, cool streams and rivers of the world.

Rusty’s portfolio and contact information are available at LeafBranch Studios and his new book Penna Fly Fishing Seasons is available at Lulu.com

New WIP Writer – KC Stangl!

Please welcome KC Stangl on board as a new WIP writer! KC will be contributing articles and stories from the perspective of a recent transplant to Pittsburgh. Get a feel for his work by visiting his new blog The Herb Garden, and Other Life Lessons.

KC Stangl

KC Stangl

KC Stangl grew up in an Army family, spending his early years in Paris, France, Washington, DC, and finally State College, PA, where he graduated from high school, and entered the University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, PA on a Navy ROTC scholarship.

Commissioned as an Ensign, US Navy, in 1979, he spent 8 years as a Naval Flight Officer, with duty stations all over the West Pacific and Indian Ocean. Upon leaving the Navy, he began a career as an acoustic sonar engineer for the Navy Dept., working in the Philadelphia area, Southern Maryland, and retiring, after 31 years of service, as an adviser to the Chief of Naval Operations, Washington DC.

He recently relocated to Pittsburgh, to reunite with his high school sweetheart, and is pursuing a writing career. He is also a musician, playing guitar and singing at various open stage venues, and hopes to pen a few original songs as well. His maternal grandfather, a professional chef, inspired a lifelong love of cooking, and his first attempt at a blog focuses on that, while providing some, hopefully, thought provoking reflections on life, love, and the challenges of finding meaning in everyday events, decisions, and actions.

New WIP Writer – Christine M. Soltis!

WIP Arts is pleased to introduce a new contributor! Christine will be writing about the arts and culture scene in the Pittsburgh area. Check out her bio and work below. Welcome, Christine!

Christine M. Soltis

Christine M. Soltis

Christine M. Soltis’ deepest passion is in fiction writing and has been for over ten years. She has written dozens of books, including several non-fiction international co-creations. Many of her novels can be accessed via Amazon.com. In addition, she is co-writer on various film scripts and does freelance writing, including scientific topics.

She is also a monthly contributor to the horror site, Ravenous Monster and now, WIP Arts. In the past, she has contributed articles to various magazines including The Globe, The Front Weekly, Verdure Magazine, The Yahoo Network, EscapeWizard.com and Whatscheaper.com. In 2011, she was an exhibitor at the Los Angeles Times Festival of Books.

In addition to her writing, she made her acting debut in A Chemical Skyline, which was an Amazon best-seller for monster horror. In 2012, she lived in Los Angeles, California and was able to take part in a 15 minute, nationally syndicated courtroom drama that aired on Fox and the CW network, among others.

For her first degree, she attended Point Park College for Broadcasting and worked in newsradio for a decade. Christine has completed her Masters of Science in Environmental Studies, which has heightened her appreciation for Earth and science.

Besides releasing books, Christine has begun a journalistic/arts “webisode” via SolsticeNightSky Productions, which features science, travel, artists and events in the local area. These episodes can be found on YouTube at http://www.youtube.com/user/SolsticeNightSky

Amazon Link:
http://www.amazon.com/Christine-Soltis/e/B004QO237E

WIP Arts at the Westmoreland Arts & Heritage Festival

WIP Arts at the Westmoreland Arts and Heritage Festival

WIP Arts is very pleased to be part of the 38th annual Westmoreland Arts & Heritage Festival. This four-day, outdoor event features a broad assortment of arts, entertainment and activities. From traditional crafts and the “Heritage Trail” to contemporary fine art and musical performances, all set in the beautiful surroundings of  Twin Lakes Park. There are children’s activities, an amazing variety of foods and an artist market full of wonderful creations. It sounds cliché, but it really is a lovely way to spend some time.

The WIP Arts booth will be featuring local and international artists with a ‘wheatpaste’ display of  2-dimensional materials, and we are very proud to be presenting live art demonstrations and performances throughout the event – screenprinters, bellydancers, graffiti artists and more. We will be sharing details as soon as they are confirmed.

If you’re a local artist who is interested in demonstrating your art, or if you would like to have some work displayed, check out the WIP Facebook page and drop us an email, we’d love to hear from you!

WAHF runs from Thursday, July 5 through Sunday, July 8; 11 am – 8 pm