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  

Thursday, April 3, 2014

It Takes a Harbor - by D. Klein

Try to imagine what it would be like to plan the first of what will become an annual event and what it implies.   There’s a whole community riding on it, hoping it will be successful, for obvious reasons.

What kind of crazy people would undertake such a thing?  Hello?  Have you met Kiaralinda, Todd Ramquist, and Heather Richardson? It wasn’t enough to take a seed of an idea for a Community Center for the Arts and actually make it grow to fruition with fund raisers and hard work.  No. They had to go totally over the edge and decide that an annual Singer/Songwriter Festival would be a good idea as well.  And not just any festival, a FIRST Annual festival.  That means there will be one every year

Am I belaboring that point too much?

When I told my daughter, who’s been a road wrangler for bands for many years, I detected a note of concern in her voice.   Mommy, do they KNOW what a big concert event entails? Do they understand the challenges?  I told her that in all the years I’ve known K. and T., fear of failure was not something they ever expressed when taking on a project.   Kristin conceded that if anyone could pull it off, she supposed it would be them.  That’s something coming from my world-class cynic.

Yet, projects like this, that will potentially put Safety Harbor in good company with Austin, Texas and Newport, Rhode Island, and locally, St. Pete and Clearwater, can’t happen without help … lots of help.  It takes a village, as they say.  Safety Harbor merchants have been up to the challenge and have contributed in major ways.  So have businesses from neighboring communities, friends, and friends of friends from all over the bay area, and even the country.  

As we come down to the wire, there has been the very complex task of volunteer organization and fine-tuning by the very capable Julia Linn.  Volunteers had to volunteer to help with volunteers for Pete’s sake.  There is beer and wine to sell, crowds to manage, tickets to sell, musicians to feed and house, set ups, and tear downs, gift bags to make, flyers and posters to post, phone calls and emails to deal with.  There’s a budget to manage.  These things, ladies and gentlemen, are just the tip of the iceberg.  But this ain’t the Titanic. Nosirrreeebob.

I recently went at Dawn and Patrick’s Whistlestop where the volunteer hosts were meeting to pick up the artist gift bags for the musicians who would be staying in their homes.  It’s a big deal to assure that these very talented people feel welcome.  The gift bags were a labor of love from businesses in the community who donated goods and services. Christina and Randy Kautz took on the gift bag challenge, right down to the spreadsheets.

I asked Janet Lee and Brian Stinson, one of the host families, what they look forward to when they open their home to the band Callahan.  Janet Lee was especially excited about the impact it will have on the whole community. She wants them to feel safe and relaxed while they’re there.  “I just want them to be in a good, safe place so that they can be inspired to do what they do best, their art.” Plus, she really loves the stage pass she gets for being a host.  It is pretty cool.  All the art bags have slick stage passes for the musicians and host families. 

Bobbie Dusenberry is no stranger to having a house full of people.  She and Bill have an annual party that usually results in sleep-overs. She’s also no stranger to volunteering since she fills in on and off the air at WMNF 88.5 FM. (The best little radio station to the left of the dial.)  She and Bill will be hosting a husband and wife duo called Patchouli, from Madison, Wisconsin, as well as another duo who go by the name of Granville Automatic from Atlanta.  I asked if she’d been in touch with any of the artists. She’d talked to Julie of Patchouli, who is a vegan.  Her husband Bruce eats meat.  So Bobbie plans to make vegetable lasagna for them.  Her home is pet-free, which is important.  Many of the artists are allergic to pet hair.  There are so many things to consider when opening one’s home for an event such as this, so the logistics of matching the best host house for all the different artists proved to be challenging.

Cyndy Von Haden Peer and her husband will actually have family there at the same time, with a new four month old grand-baby.  She’s excited to be hosting Barrett Smith and his wife Nicole.  “We want to impart the same welcoming feeling that we experienced when we first moved here and got to know the SHAMc collective of people.  We want them to feel as connected to the people here as we feel we are. I’m actually writing a letter to them to let them know a little about us.” Cyndy confided.  “I hope I don’t ramble on too long in it though!”
The gift bags were quite a project too.   First, there were lots of phone calls and visits to various businesses in the bay area to see if they would contribute to them. (Think a sort of Welcome Wagon for hip people.) Almost everyone was willing and happy to contribute gift certificates for goods and services, beer cozies, insulated mugs, toiletries, pieces of art, and even a paper maraca from Earthbound Trading.  Todd and Kiaralindaeven made their famous wire hearts for each one. 

Who’s in the bag?   I’ll tell you who.  (I was tempted to grab one and run…)  Calm Community Acupuncture, Safety Harbor Dentistry, Safety Harbor Optical, Seadog Cottages, Courtyard Marriott of Oldsmar, Earthbound Trading, WMNF, Living Social, Pilot Moon Films, Fleur de Lis, 8th Avenue Pub, Brady’s BBQ, Carmel’s, Destination Magazine, Kelly’s Dunedin, Nature’s Food Patch, Nolan’s Pub, Parts of Paris, Pizzeria Gregario, Southern Fresh, Starbucks, Sweet Ida Mae’s Bakery, Tapping the Vine, The Sandwich on Main, Tupelo’s on Fourth, Whimzeyland, and Whistlestop.   WHEW! 

The artists are coming to town to put beautiful music in our ears that will travel to our brains and translate into all kinds of good food for our souls.  The very least we can do is make them feel comfortable and welcome.  The hosts and the community will experience a perfect symbiotic relationship for several magical days the first week and weekend of April. One heart.