"I feel there is nothing more truly artistic than to love people."
My favorite artist, vincent van gogh.

I am so pleased to be a recipient of a 2012 Lackawanna County Arts and Culture Grant. Last night I attended the ceremony held at the Scranton Cultural Center and I felt so pleased and proud to be among so many prolific, talented people. 

I love art. I love supporting First Friday in Scranton and talented artist friends. I didn't use to consider myself an artist because I cannot paint or draw but then I realized that I was being way too narrow in my view of what art is. I'm sure that people's ideas and opinions on what is art or who is an artist varies. I think a simple definition of art is anything that is put forth as a form of individual expression. I would add that art also has the amazing and special ability to captivate people's attention, to engage their minds, hearts and souls. Art is the focus of conversation, controversy, arguments, battles and often the centerpiece of love and pain.

I now think of myself as an artist. I write. I write comedy. I perform comedy. I express my creativity in very colorful, fun ways. I have vision. I connect dots to bring things to life. I balance business and creativity and that, I am quickly learning, is an art in and of itself!

As a recipient of one of the grants awarded by Lackawanna County this year, I will write a children's story called "Wartz and All." I will reunite with Clarks Summit artist Mindy Mendicino, who illustrated my first book "He's Not Prince Charming When..." to share my vision with her and direct her in illustrating the characters for Wartz and All - the story of animals living near a swamp  - a setting inspired by a real swamp along a Lackawanna trail in Archbald. Together, Mindy and I will create a book that is intended to spread the message of acceptance - accepting one's own "warts" or flaws and accepting others' so we can get along, respect one another and form valuable relationships. Once the book is finished I will give copies to each of the County's 10 locations and I will do two public readings. The first reading is planned for National Trails Day on June 2 on the trail in Archbald and the second is scheduled to take place in November - a time recognized for Anti-bullying events - at the Nancy K Holmes Library in the Green Ridge section of Scranton. 

The book will be aimed at children ages 5 - 8 and will allow them to put their own mark on it by coloring the characters and engaging in some other fun activities included. I hope that children and adults enjoy the story and remember the message that we all have warts but we can still love each other "Warts and All."

One should either be a work of art, or wear a work of art.
Oscar Wilde

In art the hand can never execute anything higher than the heart can inspire
Ralph Waldo Emerson

Art enables us to find ourselves and lose ourselves at the same time.
Thomas Merton

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