Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Building Homes, Building Hope

Building Homes, Building Hope...
(at Greater Springfield Habitat for Humanity of course)

I am taking my new AmeriCorps VISTA position as the Community and Faith Relations
Coordinator at Greater Springfield Habitat for Humanity to the Generation Sustain Venture Space! Thank you and welcome Habitat! Check out www.habitatspringfield.org or give us a call at 413-739-5503 for upcoming events and ways to get involved, build homes, change lives, and transform neighborhoods!


All. Good. Things. Springfield.

Yes Shelburne Falls has it made but don't forget, things are moving and shaking down in Springfield, MA at our sister-incubator space, Gasoline Alley! Operating out of two abandoned auto garages, Rob Thomas and Joe Sibilia believe "business can be a tool for social change," and they are well on their way towards creating the greenest, most self sufficient, recycled, reused, and innovative space for events and local businesses. Check them out at www.gasolinealleyfoundation.org for more and to plug their monthly events into your calendar.

Tonight they are hosting authors Ed & Deb Shapiro, William Spear and Bernie Glassman as they discuss "Be The Change," a book written by Ed & Deb about the life changing power of meditation. Last month I was captured by their film showing of Frederick Marx's "Journey from Zanskar," a documentary on 2 monks and 17 children on their seemingly impossible and dangerous trek across the Himalayas towards school and futures dedicated to preserving the Tibetan Buddhist tradition (narrated by Richard Gere and prompted by His Holiness The Dalai Lama.)

...Food is growing outside and there is always beer on tap and popcorn popping...

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

New Shots of the Space in Shelburne Falls

Mckenzie Rollins who also wrote the article below took these photos of our space last Friday to prepare for our new website. Look for more posts by Mckenzie, but for now, enjoy these images from a cloudy November day.

Friday, November 6, 2009

All Things Alie Ward...

A peculiar child at birth, the mystery that is Alie Ward has followed her into adulthood. Ward is the leading lady of Curiology, an umbrella company that she established as a forum for her painting and custom tattoo shirts, and is based in Los Angeles. Ward also confides to me that she was in dire need of a company to front a Bolivian organ trade operation that she was running on the side. Originally, this was bringing her more monetary stability than the sale of her paintings, shirts, and writing gigs as the Events Editor at Metromix LA (which is now Brand-X). Mostly she explains, “it was stolen from prostitutes,” and Curiology was initially established to sideline the feds and hide the abundance of money that was suddenly in her hands. However, the organ trade has subsided, and Ward can now focus solely on the other aspects of her business

Ward uses a hefty amount of text in her art, so Curiology embodies not only its literal meaning of “writing with pictures,” but also perfectly defines Ward as an artist. She “approaches her paintings like a roadside sign or a billboard.” Her marriage of verbal and visual elements, specific or ambiguous, has become her own language. She communicates with ideas and has basically centered her world on writing and pictures. Oh, and I can’t forget to tell you about her extensive collection of insects. Yep, let me say that again, this lady collects the creepy crawlies. Her love of science and all things with multiple legs has long influenced her work. “I make so many anatomical illustrations in paintings, and I sometimes letter my text on my paintings (particularly the dichotomy series) like a scientist would a specimen.”

Ward is clearly a very busy little lady. How does one balance the production of art, customized shirts, and a full time gig keeping LA shamelessly aware of all things hot and new? Well, schedule your life in hour blocks. That’s what Alie Ward does. A self proclaimed total slob by nature; Ward steadily instills a “hyper anal challenge” upon herself.

“Because I have too many jobs on my plate, some things fall to the wayside (eyebrow plucking, vacuuming my car, calling my mom etc) which is why it took McKenzie, 2 weeks, 3 voicemails and 1 Facebook comment threatening a cowboy boot up and orifice to get this interview.”

But I hold no grudges as any time, in person or on the phone with Miss Ward, is well worth the wait. These sessions always result in spastic fits of laughter occasionally followed by the necessary use of a diaper, squeals of joy, and a rampant exchange of horror stories in all possible fashions of life. Thanks Alie Ward for your honesty, your humility, and your overall perfect adoration of all things dork.

*Side note: Alie has decided that if Curiology fails, and life in LA becomes too much, she and I will live in a loft while perfecting the genealogy of Unicorns, breeding them for our own whimsical magical adventures. Sounds good to me.

Check out Alie Ward’s paintings, custom shirts, and wildly humorous blog at,