Thursday, April 21, 2016

Joe Craven's review and a video too!

Joe Craven.
Joe Craven.
Yeah, you know who I'm talkin' about.

He's the guy who walks his talk - and his talk is living an artful life.

Joe Craven has been a part of the #SongFestFamily since day one. When we saw what he wrote and posted for his SongFest review, we knew we had to share it with you here, in case you haven't seen it.

But first, were you one of the many supporters who contributed to the GoFundMe for Joe to teach kids about music improvisation to elementary school kids? He worked with the great folks at Instruments of Change and Judge PR and we can see how much fun the kids had. (I love how the class starts to giggle at the girl who spoke and then when Joe does his magic, one kid leaps backward in surprise and all of them are instantly tuned to the moment!) Well, take five to see how the kids responded to Joe's examples and then read his inspiring, insightful SongFest review and note (below). Thank you for helping to bring music and his message to these kids.

I will post a SongFest recap soon. Until then,be well, friends.
- Laura

Thanks to Judge PR for filming Joe at Hillsborough Elementary!

SHAMc and SHSongfest acknowledge the creative individual and the creative collective of us all. 
They are creativity sanctuaries where permission is provided, self expression welcomed, and personal growth harvested. As members of this unique family, I believe no doubt, we can grasp the concept that art really does save lives. Things happen here that will change people’s outlooks on themselves and the world at large.

Give yourself permission to express yourself. A creative life teaches us to learn how to think for ourselves and promotes critical thinking and flexibility. I believe learning to live a life full of creative possibility is an issue of National Security! Wouldn’t it be great if all people we elect to govern us, could have jam sessions and make art together before sitting down for discussion at the bargaining table. Art truly is the universal language and SHAMc events invite us all to learn how to speak it with creative commitment. We have the ability to have, play, and feel this vision on stages, with materials, in workshops... and the pathways of our lives.

Art invites us all to participate. For example, when you dance - you are a bridge between heaven and earth. I believe dance is integral to music because it allows the audience to answer back to musicians, creating an exchange that heightens the experience of both the performer and the listener, breaking down the barriers between the two. You are the only person you will never leave nor lose, so get up and move in your own personal, encouraging way. Find joy and confidence in your own unique movement with a musical instrument, a paint brush, a glue gun and on a dance floor.

In education, if we’re required to memorize data of the world as it is, then more difficult it is to create the world as it could be. Life begins outside your comfort zone. Pursue possibilities, look to see… and listen to hear. Ask questions and be inspired with what makes you and others creatively tick. It may well give you the life you didn't even know was already waiting for you.

Many of you reading this invested money and/or time in art and heart to be with the Safety Harbor Songfest Family this year. Why not think of your “Investment” to both SHSongfest and SHAMc as “Ourvestment”?  For gifting these experiences to yourself also make you a member in a “Community of Opportunity”. Creativity is truly the healthiest kind of oil we have on our planet for it is a social lubricant of the people. And it is also a glue that can bind us together like no other.

Thank you.

Joe Craven
Blender Logic Arts - Education Outreach and Performance
RiverTunes - Roots Music Creativity Camp

Friday, February 19, 2016

Meet Kara Tanner - 2016 poster contest winner

You may already know Kara Tanner, this year’s Safety Harbor SongFest Poster Contest winner, but we wanted to write a bit about this multi-talented artist, mom and entrepreneur. 

Kara and her husband came to the Harbor around the same time as Todd and Kiaralinda’s fencepost painting SHAMc fundraiser four years ago. She holds a Bachelors in studio art and a Masters in art therapy but says that as her kids grow up she finds more time to focus on being creative. “I enjoy doing art with my kids,” she says.

Besides winning the contest, Kara has also recently completed a flamingo for the library’s Flamingo Art Fundraiser and she’ll be one of the artists at this year’s Chalk Fest March 19-20.

“We were so excited when we saw Kara’s entry,” says Kiaralinda, “because the musical manatee sure felt right, since we have manatees right near the pier on the festival grounds. It’s a cute mascot and it would be cool if the real ones knew how to play instruments! 

“It was exciting to find out that the winner is from Safety Harbor and that she also painted a fence post that is still at SHAMc,” Kiaralinda adds. “It’s also nice to know that she is aware and watching what we are doing and is supporting the arts and getting involved.”

And Kara has definitely gotten involved in the community in the past four years! Take for example her family's new company. Every Saturday at 1:15 p.m., Kara's husband takes groups of 2 to 12 through Safety Harbor. She, her sister, brother in-law and husband started Harbor Food Tours in January and locals have been very supportive so far. “It’s been pretty successful,” she says. “We’re excited about it.” 

Kara explains that tours visit nine different restaurants, pubs, bakeries and also stops at Francie’s for a glassblowing presentation. “There is a lot of history within these places and just going out and talking to the owners, you learn so much more about where we live,” she says. 

The cost is $50 per person and the tour ends at the 8th Avenue Pub for food and a drink, which is included. All gratuities for business owners are included in the cost, (but if you’d like to tip your tour guide, that would be separate.) To read more about it and to book a tour, visit

We’ll post more information before Song Fest regarding the posters and when you can get yours.

Wednesday, February 10, 2016

WHO .... we want to thank!

Were you there? Last week I posted about Women Helping Others, an organization founded by locals Karen Errico, Lisa Kothe, Julie Brannon, Irma Cardoso and Amy Stinsman.

WHO is a group of women who meet four times a year to have some fun and help a local organization that is doing good in our community. SHAMc was fortunate to be the chosen WHO charity for the first gathering of 2016.

One-hundred sixty-five women attended the event, which was held at Whimzey, to raise funds to purchase a glass door for the art and music center. Kiaralinda had hoped enough women would attend so that we could raise $2500 to cover the door, but that  amount was pleasantly surpassed.

In a thank you email from WHO, Karen Errico wrote:  "We raised $4,432.00! (That included mailed in donations, opportunity drawing tickets, and donations at the event.) WHO bought that door and a lot more--thanks to you ladies! It was a great evening to enjoy the art and fun of WHIMZEY House. It is indeed an honor to have your support and your caring for charities in our community. What a great bunch of gals!"

So yes, thank you. Thank you all! Many of you have been on this journey with us from the day Kiaralinda and Todd thought of turning the property into a center for the arts, and many of you have joined us along the way, including many brand new to SHAMc through WHO. But no matter how long you've been part of the dream, it is finally happening, thanks to your support.

WHO had a sign-up sheet at the event, so if you added your email to a list that evening, you will receive announcements for upcoming WHO gatherings. If you were hoping to sign up for the SHAMc or Song Fest email list, or to volunteer, please head to our website and do so there. We apologize for the inconvenience, but we sure don't want to lose touch with all of you amazing 

"For all who attended, who sent in donations, Todd and I want to thank you profusely for the difference that you are making and for including us in your vision of ‘giving back to the community.’" -Kiaralinda

               Peace and Love to you all!  -Laura

Thursday, January 28, 2016

Calling all women! You're invited to Girls' Night Out with a Purpose!

Karen Errico moved to Safety Harbor almost three years ago and immediately got involved in the community.  Now she, Irma Cardoso, Lisa Kothe, Amy Stinsman and Julie Brannon are a volunteer team leading others to help our community, and guess what? SHAMc is next on their list!

The Women of WHO aren’t exclusive. They want to meet other women whose desire is to make something small turn into something big, and all by spending an evening out with other women. 

“I went through the Citizens Academy," Karen says. "Janet Hooper spoke and gave the statistics regarding poverty in Safety Harbor.  I kept thinking, ‘I want to do something, but what can one person do?’”

Now, just over a year after the first WHO gathering,  WHO―Women Helping Others―has raised much needed funds for five groups and/or non-profits based in Safety Harbor. 

“WHO Safety Harbor is a girls’ night out with a purpose,” Karen says. “And it has grown bigger than I ever imagined it would.” 

Thirty-eight women attended their first gathering and they raised $695 for the Mattie Williams Neighborhood Family Center. That was in November of 2014. Only a year later, 54 women attended and they raised $1249. for Safety Harbor Elementary School classrooms. Karen says the next WHO gathering might attract more than 100 women if all goes as planned. 

The way it works is that each woman who attends donates $20 at the door. The gatherings are four times a year and each one benefits a specific non-profit or organization in Safety Harbor. Besides the donation, women are asked to bring a bottle of wine or a dish to share. 

If you are looking for a way to help our community, to connect and make new friends, join us at Whimzey on Friday, February 5 from 7 to 9 p.m. We will be raising money for the WHO door—a glass garage door that connects the Rigsby house to the music pavilion. The door costs $2400., so everyone hopes at least 120 women will come out for the evening. 

“I am thrilled that WHO has been so well received,” says Karen. “The women of Safety Harbor, they want to help and do something for others, and they are willing to give. Many times WHO women have given more than the $20 donation we ask for. They have such good hearts.”

Besides the food, wine and fun, there is also a table full of donated baskets, gift certificates and merchandise donated by local businesses and residents. Tickets are only $1.00 or six for $5.00. 

“It's just fun,” Karen adds. “It's a feel good group. You’re meeting women and having a good time and at the same you are helping your community.”

Special thanks to Karen, Lisa, Irma, Julie and Amy for all their hard work, the fun they’ve created, and for all the great things they have in the works for the future. By the way, if you have a daughter, granddaughter, or young friend between 6 and 14, who wants to get involved, the group has already formed a Junior WHO. Check out their website for more information and we hope you’ll attend the Whimzey WHO event on February 5. 

Whimzey  is located at 1206 3rd St., Safety Harbor, FL - (One block north of Main St., 12th Ave and Okeechobee St.) Cash or checks only please. Receipts will be available. 

Friday, January 15, 2016

Founder of the Poetry Slam Movement to visit Sideshow

MARC KELLY SMITH is the founder of the international Slam Poetry movement that began at Chicago’s Green Mill Tavern in 1987. He's the guy who's spread an appreciation for stories and performance poetry throughout the world, to over 1000 cities in the US, Europe, Africa, Asia and Australia.

Todd and Kiaralinda brought him to Florida to host Open Books at Whimzey in the spring of 2013, and he was the emcee for the first Song Fest in 2014. I had the opportunity to spend an evening with him after Open Books, and he's been one of my favorite people ever since. There are times I catch myself smiling at memories of that evening with him and Todd, Kiaralinda and Heather. All five of us squished in the car, laughing and just enjoying each other.


If you've ever watched that viral YouTube video where a young man recites a moving poem about a life altering event, you've experienced the influence of Marc Kelly Smith. (Hint: there are hundreds of those types of videos.)

Smith is part of this year's Palm Beach Poetry Festival and will stop in Safety Harbor before heading back home to Chicago. We get him for one night, Tuesday, January 26. He'll teach a workshop at Sideshow, 737 Main Street, Safety Harbor, at 6:00 p.m. which will be followed by a performance at 7:30. Both the workshop and performance are free. Beer, wine and soft drinks will be available for purchase and proceeds benefit SHAMc. Donations are not required, but are gratefully accepted.

Join us! You don't need to be a poet to attend, but you'll probably feel like you are one by the time it's over.