Christmas Cookie + Ornament Countdown 12/19

Christmas Cookie + Ornament Countdown

Oreo Coal Christmas Cookies + “Visiting Nurse” P. Buckley Moss Ornament + Solemate Warmth
YIELDS:38 – 40
40 Oreos
block cream cheese, softened
16 oz. semisweet or melting chocolate
1/3 c. Oreo cookies, crushed (or cocoa powder)
  1. Using a food processor fitted with the blade attachment, grind Oreos into crumbs. Transfer crumbs to a medium bowl and adds cream cheese. Use a fork to mix until well combined.
  2. Using about one tablespoon of the mixture per ball, form misshapen balls of the Oreo mixture. Place them on a plate and into the fridge for about 30 minutes to 1 hour to firm up.
  3. Microwave melting chocolate in 10 to 15-second increments until melted and smooth. Using a fork or toothpick, dip each Oreo ball into the melted chocolate, then set onto parchment paper. Sprinkle immediately with crushed Oreos, if using, or let dry completely.
  4. If using cocoa powder, once firm, dip your fingers into the cocoa and lightly rub onto Oreo balls to complete the “coal” look. Store balls in the fridge until ready to serve.

Dad Doesn’t Want Another Tie For Father’s Day!

You heard me right: NO TIES!

When you need a gift for dad…any time of the year, why not make it something memorable? Man’ s best friend, the strength of an eagle, or his favorite fishing pastime. If you think about it, Dad is so easy to shop for! 

Father’s Day or any day that is special to your dad is one filled with legacy and the memories of our Dad’s unique way of teaching us about life.  It’s different than Mom, she nurtured and taught us how to button our shirts, but Dad?  No, he loves to tell the tales about the biggest bass that got away that summer up at the lake.  He was the one who played the boogie man and Darth Vader.  Dads never retreat from a story that has them covered in mud or rain. Nope, Dad is about persistence and purpose. So will soap-on-a-rope do?  Not this year!

We have chosen the best of the best for Dad with a selection of limited edition prints that will rock any office or man cave!    Limited Edition Art Prints For Dad

FathersDay-gifts-art-limited-edition-prints-dad    FathersDay-gifts-art-limited-edition-prints-dad    FathersDay-gifts-art-limited-edition-prints-dad

    FathersDay-gifts-art-limited-edition-prints-dad-pbuckleymoss    FathersDay-gifts-art-limited-edition-prints-dad-pbuckleymoss

FathersDay-gifts-art-limited-edition-prints-dad-pbuckleymoss   FathersDay-gifts-art-limited-edition-prints-dad-pbuckleymoss    FathersDay-gifts-art-limited-edition-prints-dad-pbuckleymoss


In a Noisy Distracted World…Art Is There To Help!

The art we love is usually something we are drawn to because it balances us in some way. The colors brighten up a dark space; the serenity, the sunshine or even the melting snow can give us what we need at that moment…in our home or in our workplace. Authentic art has that special quality that seems to counterbalance our busy life. Click For Full Article

Canada Goose Gallery Design and Art Inspiration Booklet

Create Spaces As Bold As Your Spirit

Here are some easy refreshes for every room, colorful and priced perfectly.

2018 CGG Design and Art Inspiration Book-lowRes copy

Art, Education, Cooper Union & P Buckley Moss


When students in the Cooper Union’s School of Art arrive for their freshman year, they know that at the end of their time in the program, four years later, they will present a senior show. This exhibition serves as a capstone to their time at Cooper and an opportunity to announce a first version of their artistic voice to the larger world. Students follow different models, from the mini-retrospective to an exhibition of brand-new work; sometimes the work shown emerges from a specific course, while in other cases it has never been seen by a faculty member. Adding to the poignancy of this year’s run of senior shows was the fact that these students are the last to graduate from the School of Art without paying tuition, having entered Cooper as an institution that prided itself on and drew much of its sense of self from free education. The absence of tuition was perhaps the most widely known fact about the Cooper Union for the Advancement of Science and Art—the institution founded by philanthropist Peter Cooper in 1859 as a school for applied sciences and architectural drawing—until 2013. That year, its trustees voted to end the century-and-a-half-long policy of free tuition in order to offset the losses to the endowment caused by the construction of a new building by architect Thom Mayne, among other factors.

The new building, 41 Cooper Square, is striking. In its basement is an exhibition space that students can use for their senior shows and other exhibitions (some students organize solo or group shows earlier in their time at Cooper, an opportunity not required but made available to them). As one student told me, “The only good thing to come out of that terrible building” that stripped Cooper of its signature largesse was this gallery. Spacious and airy, and semi-visible from the street, it more closely resembles the white cube spaces in which graduates, going forward, are likely to exhibit their art. Seniors are assigned a date for their show, but can choose their own space from an array of lobbies and hallways in Cooper’s Foundation Building, the iconic brownstone structure from 1859 that anchors Cooper Square and houses the Great Hall, in which Abraham Lincoln famously spoke.

Tuition remains a sensitive topic at Cooper, these days not so much as a subject of debate but as a bad memory. The question unanswered is when, not if, the school returns to the old model. (The Cooper Union endowment consists primarily of revenue in rents from the Chrysler Building, since Peter Cooper’s family left the school the land the skyscraper was built on. That revenue is expected to triple in 2018 and then remain flat for a decade, but the trustees argued that a lack of liquid assets necessitated a new tuition policy.) Mike Essl, the current acting dean of the School of Art and a graduate of Cooper who joined the faculty following a successful career in graphic design in the 1990s at the height of the internet boom, choked up during our conversation as he considered the fact that he would not have been able to attend Cooper had tuition been charged at that time. Indeed, part of what has historically drawn students to the School of Art was the ability to go to art school for free, since (as much in the 1970s and 1990s as today) many parents refuse to pay for art school, and others are unable to fund college education at all. Essl and a team of other faculty members, alumni, and admitted students formed the Committee to Save Cooper Union and sued Cooper’s trustees in the wake of the 2013 decision. After the school settled with the State of New York and agreed to pursue a plan to return to a tuition-free model (which current estimates say will happen by 2039), he returned from sabbatical.

Day Gleeson, an artist, full-time faculty member since 1985, and longtime head of the admissions committee for prospective art students, becomes similarly impassioned when the topic comes up. Charging tuition “was an anathema to me after doing this for twenty-five years,” she says. I was surprised to find that even these official representatives of a small but influential institution were not hesitant to speak up, loudly, about their disgust for the previous administration under Jamshed Bharucha and the dismay they continue to feel over the charging of tuition—even though, as Gleeson pointed out to me, students still receive half off tuition and many are provided Pell Grants. As Gleeson stressed, despite the now temporary imposition of tuition, the student body remains unusually diverse and the school remarkably affordable—no other art school could be attended for twenty thousand dollars per year. Of course, this does not mean she is in favor of tuition; rather, it simply makes the temporary fact of tuition bearable.

Essl has an image of the Foundation Building tattooed on his chest; the future of the school is important to him and to the countless alums whose lives it transformed. Would all those alums have gone on to do all those amazing things had they not benefited from the generosity (and the example of good will and societal concern it expresses) of a tuition-free model no longer in place? A sense of exhaustion has set in, but refuses to settle into resignation. On the door to an office off one of the Foundation Building’s lobbies, a once regularly updated ticker on a poster counting the number of days “since a majority of the following members of the board of trustees hijacked the mission of the Cooper Union” now bears a Post-it that states: “many.” During a tour of the school, I stumbled across a class, co-taught by artist and associate professor Walid Raad and recent alums Victoria Sobel and Casey Gollan—two organizers of the Free Cooper Union movement—in the process of setting up their final project. The topic of the course Sobel and Gollan returned to co-teach? Free education.

I mention all of this not to dwell on a mostly resolved scandal, but to emphasize just how shocking this betrayal—for it was felt as a betrayal of the institution’s values—was to those who are committed to a certain munificent ethos inherent to Cooper Union. The ideal of free tuition constitutes part, not all, of this ethos, says Cooper Union president Laura Sparks, who is “committed to returning Cooper Union to free tuition as soon as possible.” However, she notes that the school “always has been, and always will be, about more than free tuition. Cooper Union is also about providing a high-quality education, making education accessible to the working class and other under-served groups, fostering curiosity, invention and expression, and serving as a hub of civic discourse.” The Cooper spirit seems to be a set of values partly passed on by people, like Essl, who studied at Cooper and then returned to teach. Last year, a job search by the School of Art added three new faculty members: Leslie Hewitt, Lucy Raven, and William Villalongo—two of them, Hewitt and Villalongo, are alumni. But the faculty’s educational backgrounds vary; as Gleeson notes, too much inbreeding would be a disservice to students, but on the other hand, having some alums around can keep the school on track and in touch with its ongoing mission. And, of course, graduate school does intervene, with many graduates going on to master’s programs, of which Yale and Rutgers are frequent choices.

Sparks links the continuity of the Cooper ethos to Peter Cooper, noting that he was “a serial inventor, a man of many talents, and firmly committed to principles of social justice and access to all students, regardless of wealth, race, religion or gender.” But it is important to her that the institution evolve from his ideals, not ossify in service to them. “Today,” she says, “our students continue to be makers; whether they are enrolled in art, architecture, or engineering, they are engineering solutions. They are creating new works, challenging conventional wisdom, and engaging in the city and the world around them. They know and appreciate our history for bringing people together on our campus in the Great Hall to discuss the issues of the day, to engage, and to act. They are organizers, advocates, and activists working toward a better and more just world.” The emphasis on engagement and action recalls the work of Hans Haacke, the artist who taught at Cooper from 1967 to 2002 and whose legacy informs the School of Art’s pedagogical aims to instill in students a critical, engaged, and reflective practice.

As befits an unusual institution, Cooper’s admissions process is unique: in addition to a standard portfolio, each applicant must submit a group of works produced in response to six prompts. The specifics of this “home test” are determined anew each year by the faculty, though some broad themes are constant: design (for example, “design a covering for a public monument that redefines or transforms the meaning,” or “design a lie”), composition, space, seriality, self-portraiture, and finally, in the prompt that gives prospective students the most latitude, a question consisting simply of a single word: “desire,” for example, or “oppression.” As Essl told me, the questions range “from intentionally vague to incredibly specific”; he particularly remembers one response to the one-word prompt, which that year had been “surveillance”: an applicant simply submitted his wallet, complete with ID and credit cards.

After receiving applications—this year there were around nine hundred for sixty-five spots—each test is examined by three faculty members from different disciplines, who assemble a class over the course of five weeks. Gleeson says that they think of it as a class—they want people who will learn from each other—though they “don’t look for a profile.” Certain schools do get a lot of students into Cooper—the magnet art high schools of New York City and Miami, for example—but, collectively, the population is diverse. The admissions committee has found over the years that even without taking money or background or gender into consideration during the evaluation process, the class has typically been evenly split along gender lines, and no more than around half of the students are white, with thirty percent or so hailing from New York State. Sometimes children of famous or infamous artists, Gleeson tells me, sit in the classroom next to the children of people who fled the Contras. According to Essl, in admissions committee meetings, “We don’t talk about money in those moments, we just talk about the quality of the application. It has a purity that I admire.” And because only faculty is involved with admissions, “this is the only school where the faculty are looking forward to teaching you,” Gleeson says, “because they’ve picked you, they want you here, they want to see what you make, they want to hear what you have to say. In this era of the corporatization of acceptance, that’s a huge draw.” This year, of the admitted students, only one declined.

If there is a Cooper ethos to which one can point, is there, then, also a Cooper “look,” some set of aesthetic conventions or approaches to art-making that govern the School of Art? Is there anything standardized or academicized about artistic practice as it is taught there? Gleeson is quick to correct me when I call the school’s approach “conceptual”: if the work were purely conceptual, she says, why not just write a book? At Cooper, the material and conceptual cannot be divorced. In her classes, she emphasizes the haptic, and focuses on getting students “away from their phones” and engaged with process. Everyone, she observes, has their own process, and by observing the processes of one’s peers one can grow in one’s own way of working and making. Still, something like Hewitt’s or Raad’s blends of imagery, conceptual heft, and deft use of materiality seemed present in a good portion of, though certainly not all, of the senior shows this spring.

Visiting the many shops that students use is exciting: a suite of rooms devoted to computers for video editing and photography (both digital and analogue) were busy with activity when I visited, as were spaces for lithography and screen printing (looking at the ancient-looking printing press, right next to a window looking onto the futuristic surrounding buildings on the Bowery, was surreal). Cooper also boasts a fully functioning letterpress facility. These shops, the beating heart of the school, are staffed by practicing artists, who can thus engage students in broader artistic dialogues even as they convey technical knowledge by request (at Cooper students need to actively seek out such know-how; it is not required of them). In Art Subjects, his history of American art schools, Howard Singerman suggests that craft skills generally get conveyed in undergraduate programs, and conceptualism exclusively in graduate programs, which eschew craft. At Cooper, however, this formula is undermined, since craft and concept are intertwined; the model is closer to what Singerman describes as an ideal developed in the Bauhaus of “the artist as an independent researcher in materials, perception, and the visual history of art practice.” The tactile yet still contemplative space of the shops are one site at Cooper in which this model proliferates.

The Foundation Building can feel sort of like a Victorian clubhouse plopped in the middle of New York City, what with all the smokers huddled outside (holdouts for nicotine!) and the imposingly austere façade. Inside, some halls, lined with lockers, feel like high school—except here there are no cliques, at least not according to medium. Painters mix with sculptors mix with graphic designers. (It was suggested to me that groups are more likely to be formed in allegiance to or admiration of a particular professor.) After the first year, each student is given her own studio space; from what I briefly glimpsed, these ranged from the bohemian and cluttered to the office-like and tidy. There are almost no dorms, and most students live in other boroughs, but the studios are open until 2:00 a.m. seven days a week and many are filled with artists working late into the night. The proximity of the studios to the shops means that you can have an idea and immediately realize it. The last week of the semester, studios are open 24/7.

Given this intensity, it’s no surprise that some students talk about the existence of a “bubble.” As Devlin Claro Resetar and Aniza-Iman Iniguez, whose senior show took place in the 41 Cooper gallery and included some collaborative work (a ceiling-high relief of a palm tree, a video of a boy bopping his head to music in a bodega) that caught my eye, commented, “You come into Cooper, you question yourself a lot, you question what you’re making, and the critiques can be positive or not—because it’s such a small community it can veer off and be never-ending.” (Such a tight-knit community might explain why Cooper has produced multiple collectives of note, including Art Club 2000 in the 1990s and Bruce High Quality Foundation in the 2000s.) Further, “To bring what you learn here back into another realm is hard. It’s a privilege to look at art and be critical of it—that is appropriate here,” but not necessarily elsewhere. The school is at once part of the city and an isolated world within it; traversing the envelope-like boundary is each student’s prerogative. Resetar and Iniguez described how some teachers have practices that take place mostly within Cooper, while others, like Robert Bordo, Hewitt, and Raad maintain highly visible practices outside of the school. (This spring alone, multiple faculty members had shows in prominent galleries—Bordo at The National Exemplar, Hewitt at Sikkema Jenkins, Raad at Paula Cooper). Yet Resetar and Iniguez were quick to note that the quality of a teacher was not correlated to the level of fame or the degree of visibility outside Cooper. Some of the best teachers—the kind that recognize something in you, nurture it, and whom you will never forget—are adjuncts. As President Sparks noted, “New York City is a hard place to be an artist so we value having artists as adjuncts, who can teach in addition to their own practice, share their real-world experiences, and help diversify the coursework offered to students.” With adjuncts or core faculty, it’s not a matter of master-student but of dialogue and collaboration. Tenured professors like Raad still teach the mandatory first year “Foundation Program” curriculum, which consists of classes in basic drawing, two-, three- and four-dimensional design, and color, as well as a few humanities classes (an art history class and a more theoretical class, with names like “The Making of Modern Society”). The Foundation Program and the senior show are two of the few requirements for Cooper’s BFA. Theory is disseminated and discussed in studio contexts, with varying levels of formality: some art professors distribute reading lists and discuss readings in class. Resetar gave as good a précis of Kaja Silverman’s The Miracle of Analogy as I’ve heard from any graduate student.

Similarly, there are few prerequisites for advanced classes (Essl has tried to lower their number even further, which has resulted in an increase in graphic design enrollment). Starting in their second year, students can take courses in whatever mediums they like: there are no majors, and while theoretically one could take almost exclusively classes in, say, photography, in practice this almost never happens. Instead, students engage with the multimedia and interdisciplinary culture of the school, bringing their design work into painting classes, say, or presenting a photograph in a sculpture class. For some students, like Daniil Ashtaev, whose focus is graphic design but whose senior show seemed to me equally in dialogue with installation art and the parafictional work of makers like Sophie Calle or Raad, the effect of this lack of medium specificity is freeing: “You are not tied to a medium … It’s kind of like a playground where you’re allowed to play with or do everything and develop into whatever you want.” 

Sculpture seems to be the field at Cooper in which the most labile, flexible definition of the medium allows for a truly diverse and capacious field of experimentation. One student described bringing a sculpture to their painting class for a crit, which didn’t fly, whereas bringing a painting to a sculpture class would be fine—if one explained why they were thinking of it in terms of sculpture. Critiques are a mainstay of every class. They can be competitive, though teachers try to foster more of a spirit of internal competition, in which a student tries to surpass her earlier work, than a competitiveness between students. Still, feelings inevitably get hurt. If people are too nice, though, that can be just as bad, because it indicates that the work is not pushing any buttons. Some professors adopt a “cold crit” policy, not allowing the artist to speak for the first ten or twenty minutes, which allows the conversation to develop in ways not necessarily connected to the artist’s intention.

As Resetar and Iniguez put it, every critique leads to one’s senior show. It’s the responsibility of the senior to invite professors or their classes to come to a show and offer their thoughts; most take advantage of this, and some also invite well-known artists from outside the school to come visit and offer thoughts, which Cooper facilitates. More privately, students also have one-on-one studio visits with their professors, which can be incredibly useful. When Sarah Schmitt felt limited by the canon of artists occupying her interest, which at the time included Louise Bourgeois and Tracey Emin, one of her professors, Cristóbal Lehyt, introduced her to the work of less-known artists like Arthur Bispo do Rosário. Her senior show, a group exhibition including work by non-Cooper students, impressively fused strands of Institutional Critique and craft-based art, like a homemade cousin to the work of Michael Asher, and subtly raised questions of violence and representation.

When Paul Thek, a 1954 graduate of the School of Art, returned to teach the four-dimensional component of the Foundation Program from 1978 to 1981, many years after he graduated, he advised his students—almost in the tone of a commencement speaker—that “your classmates are your world, your future will be like this now, as you related to your present, you will relate to your future, recognize your weakness and do something about it.”1 In some ways, the exercises he devised for his class—with prompts like “Make a skyscraper out of inappropriate materials” and “What do you think of money? Make a structure to me explaining your concept of money, or out of money”—are not so far away from the home tests of today, suggesting a continuing verve for experimentation, even if its precise forms have changed.

The battle for the soul of the Cooper Union has been won, ending with victory for the soul. The Class of 2017 is the last to graduate with free tuition, but only for now. Just weeks after the final round of senior shows closed, the annual school-wide end-of-year show opened. Hallways were painted white. Almost every space in the Foundation Building was transformed into galleries. Work by freshman, sophomores, juniors, and seniors, by graphic designers and sculptors and painters and collagists (interdisciplinary practitioners all, with strong material and conceptual grounding) hung throughout. The making will go on, and then it will happen again next year: the conversations, the crits, the senior shows, the end-of-year show. Students graduate not with a signature style, but with a tool kit—the ability to question, to ask how and what one’s art is communicating—and this tool kit will allow them to continue to develop, interrogate, and reformulate their practice in a continuous, sustainable process.

—Nicholas Chittenden Morgan
Nicholas Chittenden Morgan is a writer based in New York. A PhD candidate in Art History at Columbia University, his dissertation takes up questions of identity and difference in art from 1988-1993, particularly in relation to the AIDS crisis.

1Paul Thek, “Teaching Notes: 4-Dimensional Design,” in Paul Thek: Artist’s Artist, ed. Harald Falckenberg and Peter Weibel (Cambridge: MIT Press, 2009), 393–95.

8 Reasons Art Makes You Smarter

Art is not about “what you see but what it makes others see”  ~ Edgar Degas

New York Times, “How Art Makes You Smart”

New York Times, “How Art Makes You Smart”


You are probably wondering why on earth “making others see” something is that important. Well, if you are a parent or teacher, or even a boss leading a young team for that matter, “making others see” is the only way to grow—be it a business or a child into an adult. The human mind is intended to find creative solutions to all sorts of problems. From learning to walk across a room to touch something shiny or to helping a customer find the perfect pair of shoes for their new job: Everything in life presents a problem that needs some kind of solution. Since Degas lived long before the Internet of things, perhaps he was outdated in his thinking. Or was he?

Enter the IPhone

Today we have the most remarkable digital tools at our fingertips to answer anything, at any moment, with laser sharp accuracy. We now have Siri or Google’s Alexa to give us the answers we need, when we need them but is that really going to make us smarter? And not just book smart smarter, but real life “better problem solvers” smarter?

Bill Gates and Steve Jobs gave us the personal computer to make our lives easier and more productive. It was intended to make us efficient, not smarter. So why do we think that giving our children tablets or “Alexa” that we are bettering their lives? Sure, we are speeding up their lives and making it far more entertaining, but are we giving them the tools they need to become smarter, more productive individuals? And what if machines do give us all the solutions to math, science, and engineering, can it really be very helpful when it comes to designing innovative new products or choosing the right spouse?


Introduction of the IPhone

If you look at some of the truly great product innovations of the 20th Century, yes, even including the IPhone, you will see that these creations were usually presented after something else failed to solve a problem. In fact, many times, the resulting innovation came about as some kind of an accident that failed miserably. [Steve Jobs was obsessed with making the IPod more versatile for users, only those turn around dials were not useful for combining it with a device that we could touch. Ask anyone at Apple during the secret years of creating the IPhone and you will see that the process was completely painful and went into a direction not originally intended. The IPhone was an answer, a reluctant and painful answer, to keeping music front and center in the lives of customers. The phone part was an added misery that just happened to pay off and change the entire way we communicate, years ahead of its time, by accident.

Design Matters


As digital devices have filled our lives, becoming smaller, lighter, and easier, we as a society have become more design oriented in our thinking. The technology is important, but the design of things is what drives us to toss out something six months old and replace it for the new. How things look matter to us in a world where data is bombarding our every waking moment. It can’t just be useful, it has to be well-designed and containing attributes that make us feel one way or another. A Harley is a motorcycle, right? Or is it? Those rugged chrome curves are telling everyone that this rider is a rebel of sorts. It isn’t just transportation anymore, it is how things make us feel that matter.

Re-Enter Art

It used to be that teaching children how to draw and paint was part of childhood. Along with skinned knees, covering leaves with brightly colored paint and then stamping them onto crisp white sheets of paper became a rite of passage when returning to school after the long hot summer. Children had sketchpads, colored pencils and crayons in their rooms—and they were shaved down to bottom, rarely new in the box as they are today lying dormant next to coloring books that are rarely used. Creating art has become something “boring” to do when compared with Candy Crush. But all that “boring stuff” of childhood, from days-gone-by, are the elements of truly great American Innovation.

The world of texting

Ask any child psychologist today what they worry about most with the “digital generation” and they will tell you that it is the nuances of our relationships that cannot be understood with emojis replacing our actual human interactions. We humans need to experience actual experiences in order to really integrate them into our lives. Just

picking up that colored pencil and pushing it across the pages of a coloring book actually have a deep correlation to our memory and learning.


Yes, just looking at art can actually change how we think and behave.

So, let’s jump right into the Eight Reasons Art Makes You Smarter.


Here is a Simple Infographic to summarize the importance of Art [link]

Art Heightens Our Brain Activity. What researchers know is that when we make our brains work harder on things that they are not familiar with—like learning a new language or really scrutinizing the strokes and colors of a piece of art to see if its fake—our brains light up with energy and life giving food that it needs to stay healthy and strong so that we can live a long life of remembering things.


Art Exercises Our Survival Instincts. And who really cares about “Fight or Flight” anymore? We don’t have saber tooth tigers creeping up behind us in a cave, so what does it really matter that art makes those impulses stronger? Well think of your children in the play park for a moment. Someone comes up to them they do not know and starts a conversation that just might lead to a trip to their car. With all the digital confusion that movies and games fill our lives with, how is a child to know what real fear feels like? Art is one of those mediums that is “real” and deeply involved. It is also a place to share and learn without feeling like you are lecturing all the time. Art evokes questions because it cannot be swiped off the page or “x’d” out when it isn’t interesting anymore. Art is something to see and feel.


Art Develops Core Skills in Children. I do not think there is a teacher on the planet that would argue that holding a pencil and moving it along a surface isn’t a key element of learning to function as a child. Scientists can show you exact connections between holding that pencil and the regions of the brain that are activated by pressing it against the paper. A child must work through how to adequately hold a pencil properly in order to make it work as intended. That takes skills that turn us into productive adults one day. Taking away our ability to hold these tools in our hands and create works of art—as we intend them to look—removes a key process from our childhood. [The same goes for adults too! Just getting all the notes via PDF is not the same as taking notes– and studies are pretty clear that our ability to doodle is the brains way of resolving complex problems in our lives.] Art helps all of us develop core skills.


Art Enhances Well Being. If you have ever had the privilege to go to a Veterans Administration Art Therapy class you will see how incredibly powerful the process of art can transform a person’s stress level into the direction of peace. Our brains are a complex and very misunderstood part of our bodies. Since we only use a small portion of our brains and are just now understanding how this magnificent organ works, how can we doubt the power of art upon the complex thoughts and experiences we have? Our eyes capture trillions of pieces of data and color every single second and sitting down to draw a fruit bowl with its difficult shapes and intricate colors is one way to calm our thoughts and focus them on the task at hand—healing ourselves. Just see what happens when you ask a toddler in a rage to color. Sure, at first those crayons may end up as collateral damage, but if you make that part of the process of being stressed out, eventually they will find a way to express their frustration in ways that their language ability and maturity cannot.


Art Makes You More Attentive. Number 5 is following the art therapy because it is all about habit and process. The more children are exposed to art and participate in activities in it, the more they focus on it and other things that need to be learned and seen. TV, digital games, IPhone videos are all moving quickly, feeding our attention span and reducing it to what scientists say is now only a mere 6 seconds! And that goes for all of us. If we are not entertained in six seconds we switch or click out in boredom. I know you have all seen the one-year-old child trying to swipe at a magazine page. Funny as it was there is a lesson for all of us in it. Being able to hold our attention on things that matter in life will make us more successful no matter what our age. Appreciating art, with all its silence and space is just one really fun way to do that hard task.


Art Helps You See The World Differently. There is this really cool brain doctor in Southern California named Dr. Amen. He does brain imaging so many light years into the future that someday we will use the color mapping of our brains to help us become better adults. But for now, just know that when our brains are activated by something – a thought, an image, a smell, our brains have corresponding areas that light up and become stronger, improving whatever part of our body that this portion of the brain controls. Experiencing art is like having your brain go to the gym, only there is no sweating and puffing involved. Art give us just incredible images to activate our memories or thoughts, and help us to see the world differently.


Art Increases Your Creativity. Many years ago, I brought my two young children into the London Museum of Art. We entered a large gallery that had a painting covering most of the wall on the backside of the room. It was absolutely huge as paintings go, so of course it was the very first thing noticed as you entered. I can only imagine how large it was for a 4 and 5-year-old child. But what was even more extraordinary for them was this very large, naked man happened to bear a striking resemblance to someone that was near and dear to their hearts: Santa Clause.

Well, as you can only imagine, they broke free from our hands and ran right up to the painting laughing and shouting, “Santa Clause is naked.” In our embarrassment, we hurried out of the gallery and went back outside into the cold where a very interesting discussion about how Santa Clause took baths took place. They were very curious if it was possible for him to stay warm in the bathroom at the North Pole while he was in the tub. On the surface it was an insignificant, albeit an embarrassing adult event, but for our children, they often referred to Santa while taking future baths realigning their behavior in that moment just in case he was paying attention with the “naughty and nice list.”


Art Helps Us Find Meaning. I don’t think anyone can doubt the phrase “beauty is in the eye of the beholder.” What our eyes see and how our brains and personal experiences interpret that “seeing” is something that is uniquely special to the viewer. Children are viewing movies, cartoons, and video games and subconsciously finding meaning in their own lives every day. They view their parents sitting at dinner with their phones in hand and even a small infant begins to understand that this small container of light is something very, very valuable: even more valuable than their gurgling sounds many times.

Our world contains many beautiful images that make us feel one way or another. Art is one of those experiences that can make you squirm, or laugh, or feel sad when it reminds you of something from a long

time ago. Adding up all the reasons here that art makes us smarter people, why wouldn’t we want to share it with our children every day?

Within one piece of art above the kitchen table can be a story of childhood, or a history lesson, or the process of how eggs get into the cartons at Trader Joes. There can be discussions on colors and moments of clarity about how a person really feels about something or someone. Art is intended to make us think and feel and now you know that it also has the wonderful benefit of helping to making us smarter too.

So, find a piece of art in this special This Great America Summer of Art Collection and write out your favorite summer memory. Share it with your family, and then share it with us for a chance to win a very special limited edition Giclee print of the Barnstormer, painted by American Artist, P. Buckley Moss. Learn how to enter here. And if you don’t know what a ‘Barnstormer” is then click here to learn more about their wonderful history and adventure.


Blogger and Digital Marketer, Maria Bereket works with all types of businesses to help them bridge the gap of Digital Social Media Marketing. She has had the pleasure of working with the art dealers of American Artist, P. Buckley Moss and often incorporates the important lessons educators and psychologists on the importance of art in development of children’s creativity and intelligence. ”Just viewing art can have an important effect on creativity and attention of both children and adults.” Says Bereket. “Studies show that sharing art and just hanging it in our homes can have a profound effect on innovation.” Her company, Design Bear Marketing values education and innovation in all things digital and marketing. Connect with her on Twitter @mbear88 or Website


The Story Behind The Print: For The Love Of Barnstorming

A child’s room is a place of creativity. Why not fill it with art?

It’s one of those things that probably only your grandparents remember. Popular in the Roaring Twenties, Barnstorming thrilled audiences in America with stunts and circus type of flying that included such greats as Charles Lindbergh and the Wright Brothers. Looking at this child’s bedroom, I am reminded how fascinated I was with Charles Lindbergh as a child, spotting him once in an encyclopedia on my parent’s bookshelf. It would have led me from the “L” book to the “B” book (for barnstormer) and then probably through several other learning adventures that didn’t quite feel like I was learning anything at all. But learn I did—history, adventure, art, and the creative stories of days gone by. Today I am reminded that children need such things in their lives…pieces of creative input that allow their imaginations to soar.


Barnstormers in the 1920’s

But I digress. Let’s get back to the Barnstormer.                Apparently, following WWI, there was such an abundance of airplanes and airman who flew the flying machines that companies and pilots grew into a big business of entertainment as the Roaring Twenties took hold. It became a great way to make a living with pilots traveling in a Barnstorming circuit, wing walking, parachuting, and performing stunts in the air.



And just think about the twenties in America for a minute. Women didn’t work, men were the leaders of nations and always had the final word at home. But for Barnstormers, it wasn’t only former military veterans who took to the skies; there were woman and other minorities who thrilled audiences with their skills as barnstormers.


Bessie Coleman

One such notable lady was named Bessie Coleman. She wasn’t just a woman, but the first woman and African American civil aviator to hold a pilot license. For Bessie, her family was in the sharecropping business in Texas so it was a natural interest of hers to learn to fly, but remember it was the 1920’s. No matter her interests, she had to go all the way to France to learn to fly since there were no flight schools in America for women. Bess became an inspiration because she “not only thrilled audiences with her skills as a barnstormer, but she also became a role model for women and African Americans.    Her very presences in the air threated prevailing contemporary stereotypes. She also fought segregation when she could by using her influence as a celebrity.” (PBS 2015)


I guess that people across America were thrilled with Barnstormers no matter who they were because they were all looked at as fun entertainment in a world that had no televisions or Internet to delight or distract them. This group came to town as adventurers and daredevils so it didn’t matter who was flying around doing stunts in the air, in fact, it might have been a greater thrill to think of women flying above the crowd.

“The Barnstormers are coming!”

I heard that the fun began as soon as the grumbling engines could be heard as they approached a town. Everyone, and in many cases, it meant the entire town, would shut down as all the people flocked to see where they would land. People lined up to ask how much it would cost to take a trip up in the air. Children begged for rides and parents hoped there would be enough money in the coffee tin for everyone to feel the thrill of flight! Most people had never seen an airplane in the 1920’s, so the

whole event would have been a daylong celebration that was the most magical and exiting part of their entire year!


1965 Film

One fun depiction of the life of the Barnstormer was in the 1965 film, Those Magnificent Men in Their Flying Machines. It was a typical adventure of how pilots swarmed together, in this case to enter a race, competing against one another in a comedic series of stunts. Barnstorming found a bit of a revival after the film came out and today you can still find adventure tours who fly for fun. But Barnstormers are a rare site indeed. More likely, you can look up from the beach or baseball game to see a Barnstormer plane carrying large banner advertising for some local business. The roar of the plane’s engine and flapping wings is still a sure way to get you to look above.



The Engine View

Today it is still possible to fly with a Barnstormer and enjoy the view of landscape from an open cockpit. Unlike a commercial aircraft, a passenger can feel the wind and hear the engine as it grumbles its way across the sky. It is spectacular and breathtaking to fly over the countryside and perhaps do a flip or two!

These flips, or Aerobatics, are the maneuvers that you might expect to see from the stunt pilots who perform dangerous spins in the air. There are loops and the barrel rolls, stall turns and wingovers, and sometimes aerialists will perform daredevil stunts like switching planes in midair. Even today, these tricks and stunts are fun to experience if your stomach can handle it of course. Most flights are very smooth and graceful. If you are lucky enough to see a “wing walker” thrill audiences from the ground you can see them wave from air while hanging from their ankles below the bottom wing.


“Barnstormer” Limited Edition Giclee by P Buckley Moss

The special history of the Barnstormer is one that is truly an American delight. One such great moment is through a newly released limited edition Giclee print, Barnstormer, painted by iconic American Artist, P. Buckley Moss. Not only did she want to share an adventurous time in American history but her love of education helped to create a wonderful summer essay contest that both adults and children can enjoy.



This Great America Summer of Art Essay Contest kicks off a summer of fun and remembrances of the special places and moments in all of our lives; and one lucky winner over Labor Day weekend will win this very special Barnstormer print (signed and personalized.) Enter your 500-1000-word memory of summer by first browsing through a selection of qualifying art pieces painted by this beloved American Artist. Each print depicts the wonders of summer through her painted inspiration. I am sure there is something that you can remember and recall for that special summer in your life; and then have an opportunity to win and take home a special part of our great American History, the Barnstormer.


For full contest detail: Click Here

Blogger and Digital Marketer, Maria Bereket works with all types of businesses to help them bridge the gap of Digital Social Media Marketing. She has had the pleasure of working with the art dealers of American Artist, P. Buckley Moss and often incorporates the important lessons educators and psychologists on the importance of art in development of children’s creativity and intelligence. ”Just viewing art can have an important effect on creativity and attention of both children and adults.” Says Bereket. “Studies show that sharing art and just hanging it in our homes can have a profound effect on innovation.” Her company, Design Bear Marketing values education and innovation in all things digital and marketing. Connect with her on Twitter @mbear88 or Website