An Accidental Day


I’m somewhat of a planner not every day but most days.  I don’t have a set in stone daily routine or plans but a general outline in my head of my day.  My days are pretty consistent there is my morning routine, work routine, and evening routine.  Then I sleep and repeat just as most people.  Some days during the week there is a switch up.

Sunday was one of those days that I had planned out.  Regular morning worship, then stopping for a cool cup of Italian ice, then stop to see an art exhibit at my local art museum, then buy something for a pot luck poetry workshop.  Morning worship received a completed check mark and so did buying Italian ice.

I entered the Columbia Museum of Art to view the “Enduring Spirit” exhibit by Tyrone Geter.  I wove through the Salvador Dali exhibit titled “Fantastical Fairy Tales”, which I had seen but was packed since yesterday was the exhibits last day.  Entering the gallery space that contained Mr. Geter’s work, I was drawn to one particular piece titled “Homeless in the Promised Land.”  I was mostly pulled in by the message which was derived from Trump’s “Make America Great Again” theme.  The figures depicted did not appear to be doing well and it showed an America that has always existed with poor and homeless regardless of race.

Homeless in the Promised Land

“Homeless in the Promised Land” by Tyrone Geter, 2016

“Homeless in the Promised Land” is a multi-media and multi-layered piece of art.  Complex in messaging and depicting magnetic figures.  A Trump supporter, a homeless woman, and a homeless man.  There is a collage inspired 3-D effect of a blanket with a unique pattern.  Hidden in the piece is messaging that makes it clear Trump’s political rhetoric does not address the simple truth of those depicted.  Food, clothing and shelter are their most urgent need.

Stepping away from the piece, I was told by the security guard the artist was in the building.  The best part was he would be giving a gallery talk at 2pm.  I immediately was conflicted because I had a poetry workshop at 2pm.  However, how often do you get to hear a shy artist speak about his work?  I quickly updated the Facebook event for the poetry workshop to “can’t attend” along with a quick status comment.

Trying to confirm where the talk would occur, I went to the information desk to ask.  To my surprise standing next to the desk was Mr. Geter, the artist himself.  A kind elderly gentleman who had just learned he was speaking.  While standing and chatting with Mr. Geter, a museum employee approached responsible for a renovation space tour for visitors from another museum.  The best part was I was invited to tag along.  There definitely are perks to being a dedicated museum member and volunteer.

Tyrone Geter, Artist of "Enduring Spirit"

Tyrone Geter, Artist of “Enduring Spirit” Exhibition

Both the tour and gallery talk did not disappoint.  Along with members from the Mint Museum in Charlotte, NC I heard about detail of upcoming renovations and expansion of gallery spaces.  The cherry on top was the gallery talk by Mr. Geter in front of his artwork.  Learning of his history and the determination of his mother who only had a 3rd grade education was inspiring.  However, above all was to hear the various muses and motivations behind his artwork.

"My Beauty is Not My Beast" by Tyrone Geter, 2016

“My Beauty is Not My Beast” by Tyrone Geter, 2016

 

Mr. Geter indicated the ultimate goal was to emotionally move those who view his work and tell a story.  His goal is definitely met with the “Enduring Spirit” exhibit.  The exhibit will be at the Columbia Museum of Art until June 11th.  The CMA is a winner of the 2016 National Medal for Institute of Museum & Library Service.  Thought provoking and current as well as historical art collections is one reason for visiting the award winning museum.  Even with renovations in the permanent galleries there is still plenty to see.  The National Medal was awarded to the CMA, primarily for its impact to the surrounding community and it does that with outreach to various youth orientated programming.

I know if you visit the Columbia Museum of Art and check out the “Enduring Spirit” exhibit you’ll love them as much as I do.  And you just may have a great accidental day as well.

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Representing the CMA at the White House


On June 1st awaking to an azure blue Washington, DC sky, I had a flutter of butterflies while preparing for a very special visit.  I had taken great effort to select an ensemble that reflected the inspiration exhibited in the Columbia Museum of Art galleries.  The main pop of color was a hue of chartreuse.  Entering the lobby of the hotel where CMA Executive Director Karen Brosius was waiting, I laughed when I saw two other ladies wearing similar color schemes. Director Brosius and I, were among a total of 20 individuals that would later stand on stage with First Lady Michelle Obama in The White House.

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Part of the Official Invitation

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Official IMLS Booklet and My Bio

The 20 (10 institution heads & 10 community members) represented 5 libraries and 5 museums.  We all were in the nation’s capital for the 2016 National Medal for Museum and Library Service ceremony.   The national medal is awarded by the Institute of Museums and Library Services; and is presented by Mrs. Obama.  It is a once in a lifetime award and Columbia Museum of Art was the only art museum this year.  I was honored to be selected as the community member who accompanied Director Brosius and Board President Claude Walker to Washington, DC.

Telling the cab driver “White House please” was a dream come true.  Upon arriving to the designated gate you could feel the electricity of excitement.  We were all as giddy as children on Christmas morning.  Once done migrating through the various security areas we entered into a space just outside of the East Wing of the White House.  We were all guest of Mrs. Obama and therefore were able to carry purses and use the powder room to freshen up.  Ascending a beautiful staircase to the second floor we entered into the grandeur that is the people’s house.  There was a quick walkthrough of the ceremony and then we were free to roam.

In front of Jackie Kennedy Portrait

In the First Ladies Portrait Room

Looking out on the South Lawn

Looking out on the South Lawn

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Looking toward the Rose Garden

Chilling In The Red Room

In the Red Room before the ceremony.

I enjoyed wandering between the East Room, Red Room, Blue Room, Green Room, and State Room.  I never wanted for anything and I truly felt like an honored guest.  Sitting and chatting with the other attendees, such as Robin Sparkman CEO of StoryCorps was magical.  Shortly before the ceremony we had a private meeting and photo with the First Lady, Mrs. Obama is everything you’d imagine and more in person.  She is regal and gracious.  Upon entering the East Room for the ceremony it was a humbling moment to hear the applause guests and attendees.

The Columbia Museum of Art had the pleasure of sitting directly in front of the podium.  Listening to the opening remarks by both IMLS Director Dr. Kathryn K. Matthew and Mrs. Obama showed the importance of the institutions receiving this year’s national medal.  Due to the work in the community the CMA & the other awardees are anchors and a resource to uplift.  A reception directly followed the ceremony with delicious heavy hors d’oeuvres.  Both Director Brosius were interviewed by the Post & Courier regarding the ceremony and what the national medal will mean for the CMA.

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Photo Credit IMLS Staff: CMA Director, First Lady, Community Member(Author)

Mingling in the Blue Room it seemed as though it couldn’t get any better.  Visiting rooms steeped in history, I spoke with the President and Community Member of the Chicago History Museum, one of my favorite hometown museums.  Someone in the White House staff directed us to the Blue Room window, where we saw in the distance a helicopter.  Upon its we realized that it was a military helicopter and then it clicked.  “It’s Marine One”, we shouted.  Excited we looked and waited to see if President Obama was aboard.  He wasn’t but soon he came out to the lawn to board and before boarding, he waved to us.  What a fabulous surprise.

Surprise Marine One and POTUS

Photo taken by: Christian Hopkins, Community Member, Tomaquag Museum

Meeting First Lady of the United States and seeing the President of the United States was definitely a major highlight of this trip.  However, the beacon and jewel was definitely the awarding of the 2016 National Medal of Museum and Library Service.  It was a surreal and amazing experience to be selected as the Community Member.  I know the CMA Board & other leadership will not rest on their laurels after receiving this prestigious award.  I believe now they we will have an even wider wing span to soar.  I look forward to working with the CMA to ensure expanded outreach to the community.

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PaisleyPerspective Turns 5!


5WOW! Five years ago, January 1, 2011 PaisleyPerspective blog was launched.  The idea was formed out the need to do something worthwhile.  I was unemployed and in between seeking a new job or means of income, I decided it was time to start my own blog.  Prior to PaisleyPerspective.com, I contributed to a political blog.  However, I was ready to be able to write about issues, ideas, and give opinions outside of the political arena.

Originally, I decided that I didn’t want to do a daily blog but create more of a magazine type aesthetic.  Starting out I posted twice a month on the 1st and 16th of the month.  Each posting included approximately three posts, spanning across general articles, photographs, and poetry with a common theme.  I accepted contributions from others to give PaisleyPerspective.com a voice other than my own.

I felt good in 2011 upon the launch.  I gained employment but was still focused on creating an interesting blog.  Then while working on the April 16th posting, my world changed.  My mother died during that time and I felt my spirit implode.  My postings decreased and when I did post it was to deal with my mom’s death.  Six weeks after her death my maternal grandmother died.

It took some time and struggle to get back the original energy for the blog.  I am still struggling to regain the energy that I had with the original launch, however, I feel that it is coming back.  Reflecting on what I would say about the last five years, I decided that it was time to revisit the original model set for PaisleyPerspective.com.  I have decided that on January 16, 2016 I will go back to the mini-magazine type posts.

It is a new year and PaisleyPerspective.com is ready to grow into its better self.  New beginnings will start with bringing back some original ideas to bring you thoughtful content. In order for the original vision to be successful it will require your voice in addition to my own.

I am looking for submissions including articles, photography including photos of visual art, poetry, or music videos.  It is my goal to share subjects that tie into arts & social action.  Check the submission guidelines page for ideas on how to submit.  I can’t wait to see what you have to share.

Finally, on this first day of 2016, I wish you a happy and prosperous New Year.  May you strive to be your better self.

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Who Was Chuck Taylor?


Converse All Star Logo BlackOMG! Say it ain’t so! Converse the company behind the iconic Chuck Taylor All Star sneaker, started selling the new Chuck Taylor II today.  Why change something that has worked for 100 years?  Well while my brain thinks it’s a bad idea…my feet are saying thank you.

I have yet to try a pair of the new technology with a throwback design Chuck Taylor II sneakers; however, my feet most times fat and sore after a long day in the original Converse Chuck Taylor All-Stars are excited.  With Nike technology and dare I say arch support the new version of the beloved sneakers will be better for overall foot health.  The new design is a throwback to when Chuck Taylor’s name first appeared on the sneakers.

All this talk about these beloved sneakers made me wonder who was this guy…Chuck Taylor?  I knew he was a basketball player but beyond that I had no other information.  So thanks to the digital age I was able to get some insight.

Chuck Taylor was not a professional basketball player but played in high school and college.  However, he loved the game.  Taylor as an employee helped to develop the iconic design of the Converse All-Star sneakers.  He gave input to help enhance the flexibility and added the patch that holds the logo for ankle protection (yes, there is a purpose for the patch).  The addition of Chuck Taylor’s name was added to the patch in 1932 and hence became the known forever as Chuck Taylor All-Stars.

Taylor was a great supporter of the game of basketball.  During his early years at Converse he created a yearbook that included highlights of some of the best players.  He also took his love of basketball around to colleges and created basketball camps.  He utilized this format to sell the sneakers that bore his name.  Taylor was well loved and respected among the basketball community.

Even though he didn’t get any compensation for his name being part of the Converse All-Stars; he was said to fully utilize the company’s expense account.  Soon after he retired he succumbed to a heart attack in Florida.  Without the determination of a young man looking for a job at a shoe company…we may not have the iconic Converse Chuck Taylor All-Star sneakers, today.

I think I own approximately seven pairs of Chucks in various designs.  I first fell in love with them when I was 7 years old, while shopping with my mom.  Specifically, they were red high-tops.  Ironically, I do not own red high-tops but I do have low Chucks in red.

Overtime even iconic designs must evolve.  With the addition of arch support and enhanced cushioning, I am sure Chucks II will also be the choice of artists, musicians, students, school teachers, cool people and even basketball players for years to come.  Share your thoughts…are you for or against the new Chucks II?

Sources: http://hoophall.com; http://Wikipedia.com

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Woman Wearing Red Glasses


SCDWC Day In Blue - Keynote Address (Credit: State Newspaper)Standing on stage with former U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton just a few weeks ago has brought some interesting conversations. Most common questions are “Did I see you on TV standing behind Hillary?” or “I know you must have been excited standing on stage with our next President?” I humbly respond yes that was me you saw and it was an interesting day. Oftentimes when you see a televised live event with any national political figure there is much work that has gone into planning. Conference calls along with last minute changes made for an interesting day but in the end the Keynote speaker for the South Carolina Democratic Women’s Council, 2015 Day In Blue was phenomenal. Through hard work and determination the SCDWC President Susan Y Smith was able to secure Secretary Clinton as our keynote speaker.

The SCDWC along with the South Carolina House Democratic Caucus held its 3rd Day In Blue, which started with recognition in the South Carolina House Chamber by Rep. Gilda Cobb-Hunter and the Speaker of the House. Workshops on Ethics and Self-Care occurred in the Blatt Building. Both workshops contained a bevy of useful information. The Ethics Workshop presented by Jane Shuler provided information for those seeker to run for an elected office. The Self-Care Workshop presented by Rep. Mary Gail Douglas reminded all female activist present to take time for self. In no way am I saying it wasn’t exciting being on stage with a national Democratic leader but for me the day was about motivating fellow Democratic women to become activist.  Wrapping the day up with a message that included the importance of equal pay for women helped solidify the fact we still have strives to make and glass ceilings to shatter.

My journey being on the stage with fellow SCDWC Executive Board members and Rep. Gilda Cobb-Hunter during Secretary Clinton’s speech involved a cumulation of activism. I often used the term I work to be present in my own existence. What that means is I seek to work for changes I want to see at local, state and national levels. In addition I can say it was due to being present in our own existences. I shared the stage with long-time Democratic activists who believed in their ability to make a different in this world. I am in the process of writing a book to detail my journey; it is important to understand that we all can bring change. No impact is too small one ripple can start a wave of positive progress.  You can watch the full coverage of the Day In Blue Keynote Address via the C-SPAN link: http://www.c-span.org/video/standalone/?326259-1/hillary-clinton-remarks-columbia-south-carolina

Iris ApfelToday, I saw the documentary titled IRIS.  The latest film from legendary documentarian Albert Maysles (GREY GARDENS, GIMME SHELTER), IRIS pairs the late 88-year-old filmmaker (who passed away on March 5) with Iris Apfel, the quick-witted, flamboyantly dressed 93-year-old style maven who has had an outsized presence on the New York fashion scene for decades. More than a fashion film, the documentary is a story about creativity and how a soaring free spirit continues to inspire. IRIS portrays a singular woman whose enthusiasm for fashion, art and people are life’s sustenance and reminds us that dressing, and indeed life, is nothing but an experiment. Despite the abundance of glamour in her current life, she continues to embrace the values and work ethic established during a middle-class Queens upbringing during the Great Depression. “I feel lucky to be working. If you’re lucky enough to do something you love, everything else follows.”

I was inspired and encouraged more than ever to live my life wide open and without reservation. I felt a kindred spirit with Iris Apfel for many reasons but it was mainly her choice of doing what made her happy. She chose to not have children and even though, I myself wanted children I found it refreshing. Iris is not living her life by anybody else’s standards she is setting her own style and pathway through life. It is easy to be caught up in what is expected of us but it is hard to live for ourselves alone.

This coming Wednesday, I will be the feature poet at Mind Gravy a local poetry venue. It is an honor and humbling experience to be able to share poetry during a 30 minute set. There are two things for which I am passionate and that is poetry and politics. I believe in the importance of the art of words and writing. When I write poems, I try to paint a portrait with my rubs; my pen is used to make brush strokes of emotions. And politics for me is an opportunity to be a part of change in my world. I do not taking the opportunities of living in a democracy for granted. Here in the United States we are the freedom to express ourselves in our art and political beliefs. Being an African American woman in a country built on the backs of enslaved Africans and West Indians, I don’t take for granted the importance of being present in my own existence. Finally it helps to be able walk through life wearing a pair of phenomenal red, orange and tortoise shell eyeglasses to help me see my way forward.

Source: Synopsis and photos for IRIS the documentary from magpictures.com; and Hillary photo from The State Newspaper

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It’s Complex


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The Black Man...ComplexYesterday, I attended the initial performance of a play titled “The Black Man…Complex” held in Columbia, SC, created by Terrance Henderson and presented by Trustus Theatre & Jasper Magazine.  The play covered various complexities of the black man, including race, sexual orientation, and spirituality as well as other situations.  The audience was taken through an array of emotions including the recent shooting of the unarmed 18 year old Michael Brown Jr. in Ferguson, MO.  In addition it touched on other black men current and past that had an impact on our society.  The performances were an insightful way to show that black men are very much multi-dimensional, made me think.

Just like the play indicated humans overall are multi-dimensional.  No matter what race, gender, nationality or economic status we are diverse individuals.  Judging someone when you first meet them only leads you to re-evaluate them after a while.  Pre-judgment of black men will continue to lead to incidents of obvious racial profiling.

Many of the recent tragic incidents that have bonded the African-American community to protest have over time faded out.  When the bubbling anger simmers down people return to their regular daily activities; at least until a new tragedy occurs.  This is not how the civil rights era was handled.  Beginning in the late 1940’s going through the early 1970’s there was a consistent movement toward action.  Ideas were formulated and grew into what we saw at the March on Washington and ultimately the signing of the Voting Rights Act of 1965.

My ancestors understood the power of the ballot box.  They understood that change doesn’t always come in one night or year or decade.  Change takes consistent and planned efforts to occur.  Many thought that the non-violent movement was pointless; they thought that you should retaliate hate with hate. However an angry mind is not a clear mind it is muddled with illogical emotions.  Of course we are human and anger will occur but letting the anger consume reasoning only leads to chaos.

In a future post I will outline the importance and reason why voting is important.  But for now remember,  the decisions we make in elections put people in place who have the power to set our laws on a local, state, and national level.  The issues we face are complex; however, with the right attitude and organizing we will & shall continue to overcome life’s complexities.

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Posh and Panache 2.0


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Most days when fashionistas look in their closets, they try to select the perfect outfit.  The garments we wear tell our stories.  Those stories start in the minds of designers who create garmets for us to wear.  Recently I attended Posh & Panache a pre-Columbia Fashion Week event in its second year sponsored by M2 Boutique located at 2317 Two Notch Rd in Columbia, SC.  The event included inspiring pieces from the racks of the M2 Boutique.  From the first outfit to hit the runaway we were drawn into a world of inspiring fashions.  There were blouses singing summer with flouncey fronts and creatively cut out backs.  Sleek business attire pieces and a beautiful delicate one piece dress disguised as two piece with a dazzling collar were headliners.
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The big surprise of the evening was when boutique co-owner Carissa Strickland announced her upcoming clothing line Ella Jo; paying homage to her mom.  She previewed two of her pieces one a unique train wrap piece that can be worn around the waist or as cape just to name a few.  In addition she previewed a cowl neck inspired blouse ready for any hot summer day.  Additional highlights of the evening were two designers in attendance, Karen Lewis of KTL Shoes and Kayla DeWelt of At First Sight Optical, LLC.  Both shoe and eyewear designs provided runway outfits with finishing touches.  With businesses like M2 Boutique and other designers of clothing and accessories  here in Famously Hot Columbia,  you can’t help but find fashion forward pieces for the upcoming sizzling summer days and nights.  Scroll down to see some of fashions and people.
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Taking Care of Business

Taking Care of Business

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Carissa and Malik Co-Owners of M2 Boutique

Carissa and Malik Co-Owners of M2 Boutique

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Breezy Surpise

Breezy Surpise

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Fashionista & Designer

Fashionista & Designer

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Two Piece or Dress?

Two Piece or Dress?

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