Archive for October, 2011

October 31, 2011

I hate nickel and diming.

Online with a friend today who shall remain nameless, but suffice to say they are in the middle of planning the dreaded gala for insert-charity-here. They wrote this. I promised I wouldn’t use their name, but I can bet any number of my readers will sigh, sagely nod their heads and go back to trying to get fifty feet of free ribbon from the local ribbon store.
I think you should pay artists and people what they are worth and if you want nice things you need to pay for them sometimes.  And I will never ask a performer to come provide entertainment at an event for free and tell them “it’s good exposure for them” –  it’s not, so don’t even make me ask.
You can’t have a fancy posh event and have spent $2 – $2 events look like $2 events.
Sometimes in terms of staff time and energy it’s just better to pay for an item rather than calling/emailing 100 vendors to get it for free and then get it shipped to another location so some friend of a friend can silkscreen it for a discount.  My time is too valuable for that nonsense.
Nickel and diming and micro managing doesn’t make you a good manager – it just makes you annoying to the people trying to get it done. 
You need to trust that you hired the right people and they are getting the best deals and spending money where it counts.
Years ago there was a fantastic event evaluation form – I am pretty sure it was on Charity Village and now I can’t find it no matter how hard I look.  Most event evals are like the one here and focus on having hit the target for fundraising and awareness etc.
I loved the other one because it was in quiz format, with point rankings, ie 1 point if you hit the money target. It was a very real evaluation, with all the hard target questions, but the questions I remember 10 years later are “Lose three points for every person who cried because of this event” and “calculate the dollar amount saved in sourcing the free ribbon vs the dollar amount of staff time used to source the free ribbon”.
People say time is money – but sometimes they forget it actually is. Or that the sponsor package you put together for the ribbon store folks is actually –  in time and materials – worth more than the ribbon itself.
If anyone knows the evaluation I’m talking about, will you send me the link?
October 30, 2011

Sunday Roundup – October 30

It’s Hallowe’en weekend and folks are out being their Halloweeniest. What else is going on?

Let’s Not Talk About Branding, Let’s Make Art Instead  – a reminder that if you need to make some art and not be distracted by the excruciating minutiae of day-to-day  living, Artscape Lodge is available for you to hunker down and get some work done. Also if you feel the need to participate in someone else’s process, TPM has Buzz going on all this week.

Yesterday I Did Not Weep For the Future  – I chaperoned a field trip on Thursday – a group of talented, thoughtful young people from Jarvis Collegiate to the Applied Arts Expo.

I’m working on a marketing plan today for my business, it’s due on Wednesday for Entrepreneuse School, and since it’s cool and grey outside and I am locked in Gandalf style battle with a dreadful cold, no better day to do it. I hope everyone’s Hallowe’en is fantastic tomorrow whether you’re at a party in a cat costume or shuttling small trick or treaters around, or simply waiting in a pumpkin patch, hoping for something great.



October 28, 2011

Yesterday I Did Not Weep For the Future

Or at least as much as I am wont to.  As I mentioned, I went along as a chaperone/supervisor person for a Jarvis Collegiate student field trip. My friend Meghan was taking her Grade 11/12 art class to the 2011 WINNERS EXHIBIT + CREATIVE SCHOOLS EXPO by Applied Art Magazine.  It was being held for the second year at Artscape Wychwood Barns so off we went.

There were fifty of us and we made out way by TTC to the Barns, got there, got settled and got our assignments (well, I didn’t get an assignment but I took one anyway). I did a couple full tours of the building for the students and we all seemed to have a great time. I forget that teenagers when hanging around of their own accord are high energy and – well – really LOUD. I am more that sure I was too, but good Lord.

These were great students. When they were on the tour, they listened, they asked intelligent questions, they cheered at the elements of LEED certification the Barns has. Several asked how they would get to live there. Others asked about volunteer opportunities at the Stop.  I had a really good time with them.

Here is our assignment:

Part A – View the Award exhibit and answer the following:

Which piece do you wish you had made and why?

Which piece do you wish you could take home and why?

Part B – Tour the Barns

Which do you think is the most interesting building and why?

Imagine you are a professional artist. Would you want to live and work at the Barns? Why or why not?

What was the most interesting part of the “green building” features and why?

I am going to ask Meghan to forward me any good answers. These young men and women really impressed me. Smart, clear spoken, interested in learning new things. I stand by my post title.

Here are some cellphone pictures.


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October 27, 2011

Field Trip!

My friend Meghan asked me to be a chaperone for a trip her class is taking today. We’re off to the Applied Arts Award Winners Exhibit & Creative Schools Expo and it’s being held at Artscape Wychwood Barns. This works for me on at least three levels so I am going. More later.

October 25, 2011

Let’s Not Talk About Branding, Let’s Make Art Instead

Yesterday in Entrepreneuse School we did a unit on branding which was excellent and determined our value proposition as a business.

A value proposition is, in short terms, the reason someone should hire your company instead of one that does similar things.

And we talked about branding, and honestly I am tired of talking about branding. Why? Because I did a google search and it yielded  128,000,000 results  in 0.30 seconds. Lots of people are talking about branding. Lots of people are writing about branding. I don’t need to right now. It’s something I’d rather have a conversation about (in person, not via Facebook – online there’s always someone who’s learned the latest buzzword and starts referring to you as a “conversion” as opposed to a “person”.

I will say one thing that I have always stood by and it’s a simple explanation I learned from Neil Archer Roan:

Your brand is your promise that you make to your customers.

Moving on. Let’s talk about making art.

Call for Submissions: Fall/Winter Artist Residencies at Gibraltar Point Toronto Island, Artscape

I’ve spent time in the Writer’s Wing  at Artscape Lodge and it truly is a magical inspirational place. It is a wonderful getaway to get some work done, a retreat in the truest sense and if you need to make some are and a place to do it surrounded by other people making art, I highly recommend it. The manager Lisa Cristinzo is a true kindred spirit.

Open year-round, the Artscape Lodge program at Artscape Gibraltar Point provides professional artists and arts administrators with a distraction-free environment and the opportunity to focus exclusively on their work.

Cosy up in a furnished private studio and private bedroom, and enjoy amenities such as a fully equipped common kitchen, shared bathrooms, laundry facilities and wireless internet access.

Short-term studio and accommodation rentals are now available at weekly and monthly seasonal rates. Custom and group bookings are also available.

Treat yourself to an island escape of the non-tropical variety and book today! Call 416-392-7834 or email for available dates and details.


Ever been to a show and thought after, “I wish the playwright had asked my opinion“? Wonder no more, for Buzz is Back at Theatre Passe Muraille. I love going to Buzz, I don’t make it as often as I want to, but I’ll try for at least once this fall and  here’s the scoop:

Artistic Director  Andy McKim believes plays cannot develop in isolation. A playwright may think the joke is funny in the privacy of her living room, but the joke in front of a live audience is a different animal. Buzz lets playwrights learn what works before opening night, by soliciting specific audience feedback. After a scene or slice or segment of the play presented, the audience gets time to write down their answers to the questions the playwright has asked. By gaining insight into what is working and what needs clarification, playwrights and companies can create and develop their work in collaboration with an audience.

Each Buzz night includes 2-5 pieces in development, each piece ranging from 10-30 minutes. Included in your Buzz experience is live music, snacks (really good cheese) and a free beverage. The bar is open. Buzz starts at 7:30 each night and runs November 1st – 5th, 2011. Entrance is by donation. A schedule will be on the TPM website:

October 23, 2011

Sunday Roundup – October 23

I am remiss – I got caught up in organizing the balcony for fall and here I am, late with the Roundup. Let’s get to it.

The Revolution Will be Photographed – was easily the most shared and highest ranking post of the week. I’m not surprised – go take a look at some truly striking images.

Tired Of Rehearsing in Your Livingroom? – The Fringe Creation Lab has space just for you.

First Position, Pole Position, What’s Your Position? – a great day at Entrepreneuse School leads to a blog post about your positioning statement for your business.

Other things of note include:

Work In Culture (where we all look first for new jobs) is doing a survey of Artist Skill Needs. Take fifteen and help them improve their resources.

Buddies’ signature fundraising event ARTATTACK! is back, and so is its most coveted item, THE INDIE PRODUCER’S PACKAGE  New this year, everyone will be able to bid on the Indie Producer’s Package on-line. For 10 days, starting October 31st at noon, the package will be up for bids on e-bay.  See, now that’s cool.

Hope you had a good weekend!


October 21, 2011

First Position, Pole Position, What’s Your Position?

Another marvelous day at Entrepreneuse School on Wednesday – the marketing section has begun so I have a stupid excited grin on my face and I think our instructor is yet another gem of a find. So let’s get to it. For the purpose of this post the word “customer” can refer to clients, ticket buyers, you name it. Today we’re talking about position – your positioning statement – the statement that puts you where you want to be in your market.

Some questions to ask, answer and mull:

How do your customers see everything you do?

What benefit do they seek from you? More importantly, what is the real benefit they seek from you?

What is the uniqueness of the experience they are going to have with you?

What are all the ways they are going to interact with you, and do those methods align with each other?

All excellent questions to think about. Why? Because asking questions is more important than selling stuff. Asking questions gets you to the perfect place to be able to sell your stuff.

So! By answering those questions, you can come up with you Positioning Statement. Your Positioning statement is a doc that brings your target market and services together in a clear statement. It will solidify who is and who is not your target market, what they want and the way you deliver it that makes it unique.

The first one I wrote was so dull and factual and boring I’m not even going to show it to you. Yes, all the information was there, I’d hit every point: used the company name, described the clients, described the services. But there was no difference between what I seemingly did and what others do. It was NOT unique No zip, no zing.

Let’s try again.

Sue Edworthy Arts Planning specializes in artfully and accurately bringing your vision to life.
Whether an artist is looking for expert marketing, or an arts organization needs communications and planning services specifically for the not for profit sector, Sue Edworthy Arts Planning marries street-level experience with administrative capability that lives up to the art its clients create.

I think that’s much better. Happy Friday!



October 18, 2011

Tired of Rehearsing in Your Livingroom? Let There Be Space!

and check it out – there it is!

INTRODUCING: THE CREATION LAB!  720 Bathurst St, Suites 401-403

The Creation Lab is the new home of the Toronto Fringe and the indie arts community.  The Lab consists of two studio spaces and the Toronto Fringe admin office, both housed on the 4th floor of the Centre for Social Innovation at in the Annex.  (Just steps away from Bathurst Station.)

(wait for it…)

Both studios are available for anyone to rent at anytime to do whatever they want.

The spaces can be rented at various levels of subsidy, on a first-come, first-serve basis.  The studios are already a buzzing arts hub, bookable all hours of the day and night, where artists can focus on their craft and connect with their community without breaking the bank.

So, How is the Creation Lab Different?

The Creation Lab is more than just a studio!  It is an affordable, accessible and transparent creation space where ideas and artists can flourish and cross-pollinate.  For indie artists, budgets are tiny and resources are scarce, so the Fringe is fostering a space that is conducive to the work you do.  Whether that means offering you studio space in the early hours of the morning or introducing you to like-minded artists, they are committed to making the Creation Lab a lively, accessible arts hub.


The Creation Lab contains two beautiful studios that can accommodate a wide variety of activities, from rehearsals to board meetings, acting classes to fundraisers.  Both studios are newly renovated, bright and open, with new flooring and secure storage space.  Each studio has a slightly different ambiance, suited for various creative needs.

The Neville Austin Studio (Neville’s Nook) has approximately 1000 square feet of studio space.  It’s an airy and expansive space with a wall of windows that allow natural light to spill in.  Neville’s Nook is perfect for long-term rehearsal processes, movement or physical theatre, open workshop showings, fundraisers, parties, acting, movement, yoga, or vocal classes.

Studio B has approximately 550 square feet of studio space and a more intimate, private feel.  Studio B is perfect for rehearsals with smaller casts, solo shows, table work, company meetings, acting coaching or one-on-one tutoring, writing retreats, choirs, or for use as a break-out space from Neville’s Nook.

 (look at all that light and space. Seriously. A gorgeous place to work. I was by there yesterday and there is a great vibe to it, an amazing feeling.

but wait! There’s more!)

Other Events:  Both studios are fitted with basic lighting and sound equipment, which makes them excellent options as performance venues as well.  Blackout curtains can be provided for rehearsals/performances requiring darkness.

Both studios are also equipped to accommodate community events, board meetings, seminars, office retreats, and training sessions.

So pack up your performers, gather up your board members, and head out of the house – there`s a new space in town!

To book the Creation Lab, or take a tour, contact Claire Wynveen:


October 17, 2011

The Revolution will be Photographed

As I mentioned yesterday, two of my favourite people were out at Occupy Toronto on Sunday, taking photographs. Both have an excellent eye for finding the story behind an image, making you want to look longer and a little bit harder.

It led to an interesting discussion at dinner the other night, the difference between a documented photo (wow, what a lot of people!) to the shots that find the people, find the individuality in the masses and hopefully take you a step further in your understanding of who was there and why. This of course led to the rules of photography, the rule of threes and, you got it – art.

Most of the photos I take move towards the documentation end of the spectrum, which is why thy tend to have an expository paragraph alongside them – the image is a bonus or an impetus to my usual medium of writing. They back up the written words.

These photos, on the other hand, tell stories of their own, without words. Whether you agree with some, none, or all of the events occurring and the principles behind them  – these are some pretty great images.

As always, I’m going to point you over to the fine folks at Torontoist who are live blogging the events.

Black and white photos  by Colette Stevenson.  Colour photos by Lawrence Bayne.

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October 16, 2011

Sunday Roundup – October 16

There’s been something big and good almost every day this week. Just sayin’.

New webpage went up – Grants+Things with links to start you off in finding funding, and links to grants I can help you with.

Buy A Theatre task force and hopefully solutions for the three downtown theatres the city is looking to sell.

Your Passion, Your Vision – a great day at Entrepreneuse School, where visions became clearer and articulate.

Nearly Everyone Has Taken a Dance break at Least Once  – finding on how communities engage with the Arts courtesy the Ontario Arts Council .

Occupy Toronto began yesterday – two of my favourite people were there and took some amazing pictures – I have permission to post them all here and will do that tomorrow but here’s one in the meantime. Photo by Colette Stevenson.


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