Wednesday, January 7, 2015

A SHAMc Update

As Kiaralinda and Catherine Ventura are at Whimzey using colorful plastic bottle caps, corks and pop tabs for a SHAMc bathroom ceiling, Woody the contractor works diligently at SHAMc, and sings to a rock ‘n’ roll song playing on a nearby boombox. He's raking the ground in preparation for new parking spaces. 

Catherine is visiting from Japan!

I approach him, my voice loud so I don’t cause any strange accidents. “Hi!” I call, “How’s it coming along?”

Woody turns, rake in hand and smiles. “The project is proceeding once again.”

If you’ve driven by this past week, you’ve probably noticed the artsy construction fence has been taken down and a large Dumpster has been set in the street.

“We’re excited that the parking and sidewalks will be in soon,” Woody says. He explains that the restrooms are about ready, “if all goes well with upcoming meetings with the city . . . things should go really well though.”

It’s a quick update but I figured you all would like to know about the progress.

Todd says, “Our  short-term goal is to have it open by Songfest so we can have music there.”

Exciting, huh?

Thursday, October 30, 2014

Sideshow's first workshop (and more are coming!)

People have been asking when they'll be able to take workshops at the art and music center. Since the building is not yet ready for such things, Todd, Kiaralinda and Heather decided to rent a side space, behind SHAMc. It's a patio venue in the back of the building at 737 Main Street, the same building where Tapping the Vine is, adjacent to the large parking lot next to Cello's Charhouse. They're calling it Sideshow, and they're already planning more workshops, write-ins, and performances there.

Just this past weekend 15 women attended a mosaic workshop taught by Heather Richardson. Even though I had helped with several of the SHAMc building's panels and also participated in the Safety Harbor Library's mosaic fundraising project last year (also facilitated by Heather), I had never grouted.  I wanted to learn the process step by step, from beginning to end.

It was amazing how no two of us had the same idea for our pieces. We also got to create a collaborative community piece for a local business. Details about that will be forthcoming (stay tuned!). Heather encouraged us, advised us, and she was a great teacher!                                         

Scroll down and take a look at the following photos, share the blog with friends, and if you're interested in taking a workshop like this one, or something different, make sure to connect with the SHAMc mailing list.  This workshop filled up fast, so if you see something you'd like to take, be sure to  sign up right away! 

               Upcoming Sideshow Events: 

NaNoWriMo write-ins are happening at Sideshow throughout November for National Novel Writing Month. Want to know more? Read my article in Articulate Suncoast or LIKE the Safety Harbor Writers & Poets on Facebook.
November 1, 11 a.m. to 2 p.m., November 11, 1:00 - 4 p.m.
November 25, 3 to 6 p.m.

November 9, 3 to 5 p.m. - Crafternoon ($20 per person)
Exercise your collage skills while making yourself
an original work of art and pitch in to create a group
collage. Get to know Victoria Vox at Crafternoon before her Sideshow performance at 7:30 p.m. ($20 admission)
Click here  to purchase tickets. Vox is an accomplished musician who is passionate about the ukelele.  You won't want to miss it! Doors open at 6:30.
Drinks will be available for purchase.

November 16, 7:30 p.m. - Charlie Mars ($20 admission) 
Singer-songwriter Charlie Mars will be performing
at Sideshow this fall! Mars has played at festivals
like South by Southwest and Austin City Limits.

January 23, 2015
Kris Allen (Admission price TBD)
Mark your calendar for this American Idol winner
Kris Allen will be tearing it up at Sideshow in January!

Heather, thank you for an excellent class. I felt informed and guided throughout the entire process, never at a loss as to how to do anything. You have a true gift as a facilitator of art expression, gained from years of patient experience. I am so delighted with my experience and my product. I look forward to participating with more friends in the future.  With fond waves of warmed sunshine to embrace your soul with happiness. -  Blythin L.

The mosaic workshop was really wonderful. Heather was great teacher and we learned a lot. The pieces of tile and glass and mirror available to us made it so easy to begin our journey to create a beautiful piece of art and to learn the process from start to finish was a great experience. I can't wait to do another workshop   - Nancy V.
Today was my first day mosaic-ing. At first glance I thought I'd never decide what to do. When I finally did, it occurred to me that it might take me all night. Somehow, with bursts of deep concentration and the continued distraction of getting to know some very cool and interesting women, I actually finished my first 18" square.  I had so much fun and felt so energized after spending time with such fun people, that I'm now ready to mosaic my entire house. - Rebecca G.

Wow- this was more than I'd hoped. I'm new to the area and was hoping for a little social activity ... okay, yes, this was social and inspiring and creative and connecting and so much more.  I've made friends that I didn't have yesterday and I feel like I can accomplish something creative that I had no idea I could do. Thank you for giving me this - an accomplishment of self and a connection to people and place.  
I look forward to seeing you all again!   - Tamara S.

More than just an art class ... no judgement for beginners. I felt fully embraced by the experts and learned so much ... just the beginning of my involvement. I feel so inspired!    - Kelly S.

      I'm not artistic but I felt like I was for this class. It's a very 'forgiving' art. You can make something beautiful - it's almost impossible not to make something beautiful! -Rebecca G.

Great class - having been wanting to try mosaics for a long time!  Learned a lot and will be attending more classes in the future!  Heather was very patient with my slow and meticulous style.   Debbie E.  Safety Harbor (30 yr resident)

I hardly ever get to do something for myself. This was an amazing day. Not only was it artistically inspiring, it was with a group of lovely people, enjoying the experience just as much as I. Kiaralinda and Heather created this magnificent event, the first for SHAMc, and it was totally the best kept secret around. Absolutely Awesome Day!        Beth B.   (Dunedin)

And this is me, with my finished piece. What a blast it was.  I think I'm addicted to this creative outlet! maybe I'll set up a mosaic studio in my garage. 

What kinds of workshops or shows would you like to attend or participate in at Sideshow? Let us know in the comments below. 

May you find lots of creativity and inspiration this week too!  - Laura

Monday, June 9, 2014

Stay Awhile - by Debbie Klein

Stay Awhile

The pillows were fluffed.
The linens were fresh.
The hosts were anticipating
very special guests.
They were writers and singers-
musicians on route
to the Safety Harbor Songwriter Festival,
to see what was afoot.

The Peers stocked the fridge for          
Barrett Smith and Emily Kopp.
This party was no flop.
The hugs felt really nice.
They even took a harbor cruise
out on the Peer-a-dise.
Fine music filled the balmy breeze,
sun washed in purple hues,
the pontoons slapped the waves
applauding the swell view.


The Duffys drove to TIA
where an airplane delivered David Jacob Strain.
He got off the plane a stranger,
his music in his soul-
He left the Harbor’s fold
with the whole town in his pocket,
it was like he put the Duffys’ hearts
in a little silver locket.
And as the rhyme about friends goes-
about new friends and old,
one is surely silver, and the other is pure gold.

Just wait until I tell you now
of Ryan Montbleau
from Masachusetts …
maybe it was Boston?
He stayed with Eric and Alicia
and played music for us often.
He played in St. Pete as well.
But he thought our little town
was just as cool as Austin.

He encountered a huge Century plant on the corner of 5th. and 2nd.
It rose up without warning.
at 5-ish in the morning.
Although he’d never met his hosts
before the music fest,
he wrote their song
eight years ago-
of this I would not jest.
It’s amazing how things happen
when the universe unfolds.

Shannon Whitworth  has a dog
Her name is Patsy Cline.
She asked the Kepners to baby-sit
while she sang her songs so fine.
They worried that their boy dog
wouldn’t be a friendly guy,
but Bacchus was the perfect host
And Patsy Cline was fine.

                                And speaking of the universe
                                and the gifts it does bestow,
                                when Callaghan came to sing for us
                                on those sultry song-filled nights,
                                how would we ever know
                                that Janet Lee and Brian
                               would make a friend for life?

Then Callaghan gave a song-gift
to Janet Lee at Whimzey
and took us all along with her
a place that made us dizzy, [in a good way]
 a place somewhere

Thanks to everyone who helped make the first Safety Harbor Singer Songwriter Festival a success. We know there were so many host families and we would love to hear your stories in the comments below. Was there a fun experience, a funny moment, or something really special that happened?

Tuesday, May 6, 2014

Funding Options for Writers - a guest blog by C. Hope Clark

Dear writers, artists, and SHAMc supporters,  I first learned about  C. Hope Clark through her website after reading Writers Digest's 101 Best Websites for Writers. I owe much to Hope. Because of her writings I had the courage to introduce myself as a "Writer" when I moved to Safety Harbor in 2008 and continued to pursue my dream. Her  weekly e-zine is where I found a call for queries by my agent, and her writing advice has been more valuable than I've read or heard since I decided to take my writing seriously. Thank you for this guest post, Hope. I am inspired once again and I know that this will help our readers.  ~ Laura

Writers struggle to earn a living doing what they love. There’s no doubting that. The grand majority of writers have a day job, part-time job or other means of support, because writing takes time to generate an income.
But what are these income options? The Catch 22 rears its head right off the bat. We need credibility to be taken seriously, but we can hardly afford to invest the serious time to write because we have bills, rent and family expenses. We can’t afford to write, but can’t write enough to earn sufficient funds to exist as a writer.
FundsforWriters is a website I developed to post many of these resources, and each week readers learn about calls for submissions from grants, contests, markets, agents, publishers, and more. But let’s get more precise, and more serious. Let’s break down where you might find income for your work, some of which you probably never heard of, many of which can serve you well.

Individual Grants

    In the United States, the income tax code caters to nonprofits, educational institutions and small government entities when it comes to grants. But there are still a few grant opportunities for the arts. They are competitive, and you have to apply for them like you would apply for a loan, seek employment , or enter a contest. You petition someone via an application. No two grants are alike and no two applications are the same, so you have to focus on putting your best face forward, making the judges wish they were you in your proposal. Some of the individual grants out there are at:

Fiscal Agent Funding

    Since nonprofits acquire grants easier than you or I, you might consider letting a nonprofit be your fiscal agent, where they receive the grant to fund your project. Of course the grant has to match the goals of the nonprofit in some manner, but they serve as your sponsor and handle the funds. For instance, a writer might write a book on Revolutionary War history and get the Daughters of the American Revolution to act as a fiscal agent. Of course, the DAR would need to have a purpose for the book to serve their needs as well. That’s not a real scenario, but it does serve as a good example. Learn more about how fiscal agents work here:


    Anyone who’s ever collected money to support a child’s sports team or civic organization knows how to ask businesses to become sponsors. Same goes for writing a book or initiating a writing project. Sure, it’s gutsy to request financial backing, but if you are fired up and confident enough about your writing, you can pass that enthusiasm on to others so that they want to support you. This is best used for very specific projects, and you better be prepared to have a package of information that proves you are capable of succeeding.


    Investors are sponsors, except they own a piece of the pie. There have been cases where  authors offer royalty percentages for financial support. Of course you need to ask an attorney to draw up such a contract. Determine what one percent of your royalties is worth, prepare a package selling your goal, then offer shares to businesses, friends and family.


    Crowdfunding is hot and popular because writers are empowered and in more control. You post your project online, offer incentives/rewards for contributions, then when you collect enough pledges, you are off and running. Then when your project comes to fruition, you provide those rewards to your contributors. The wonderful part of crowdfunding is that anyone can donate, and any amount is acceptable. A dollar, ten dollars, a hundred dollars, or more. The contributor decides, and your reward offerings are used to entice him to donate more. Take time to study existing projects on crowdfunding sites such as:


Any type of writer ought to consider writing for magazines. Stop and consider the fact that more readers will read your feature story and bio in a magazine in one weekend than will read your book in a year. Magazines can help establish you as a writer, an expert, or a journalist. Your clips in these periodicals give you credibility. To find these markets, subscribe to one or more of the following:


    You may not feel qualified to speak, but sooner or later as an author or writer, you will be asked to stand before people. Consider an artist-in-residence or artist-in-education position via your arts council. You get paid to present to schools and educational institutions. Use your expertise to approach groups and conferences. After you obtain a little experience, consider joining a speakers bureau. Request compensation when you appear at libraries, museums, civic organizations, banquets or conferences.
Writers are usually frightened of such appearances, which is why I wrote The Shy Writer Reborn: An Introverted Writer’s Wake-Up Call. It carries many tricks to help you pull off the speaking gig, regardless of how nervous you are.

    Don’t think that because you are writing a book, that a book is your only source of income. That would take years. Funding comes from all types of innovative directions, as long as you envision your writing career as entrepreneurial, not just art.

NOTE: An excellent book on funding for all sorts of artists is: The Artists Guide to Grant Writing by Gigi Rosenberg.

C. Hope Clark is editor of, recognized by Writer’s Digest Magazine in its 101 Best Websites for Writers for the past 14 years. Hope is also a mystery author, with her latest release being Palmetto Poison, by Bell Bridge Books Publishing.

For information on opportunities, events and writing classes in Safety Harbor, visit