The Art Gardner

Artist Spotlight: Don Robson
February 28, 2010, 11:48 pm
Filed under: Artist Spotlight | Tags: ,
Bear Baiter and Bear

Bear Baiter and Bear

I am lucky enough to have many friends who are far more talented than I when it comes to art. One of those friends is Don Robson. In addition to my painting classes at Callanwolde, I have been taking private lessons with Don. He’s a wonderful teacher and, as you can see, a talented painter. Right now, Don has his work in a show at Wonderroot called Film Noir. It’s up for another week if you want to check it out. More of Don’s work is below.     


Be a cultural butterfly
February 26, 2010, 10:34 pm
Filed under: General | Tags: , , ,

I just wanted to give a shout out to Atlanta PlanIt – a website dedicated to arts and cultural events in Atlanta. So you Atlantans get off the couch and go get cultured.

From the website:

Atlanta PlanIt is a unique Web site exclusively dedicated to arts and cultural entertainment events and organizations in the metro Atlanta region. Atlanta PlanIt was created by the Metropolitan Atlanta Arts and Culture Coalition (MAACC) in the summer of 2004. In July 2009, PlanIt transferred to Public Broadcasting Atlanta (PBA) to serve as the arts and culture component for Lens on Atlanta, set to officially launch in 2010.

Tootsie rolls and nonprofit link-o-rama

granting writing with tootsie rolls
Grant research class with Tootsie rolls

With a belly full of Tootsie rolls courtesy of a fellow classmate, I am ready to share my knowledge about grant research with the world. Today consisted of lots of web surfing–my favorite pastime. Jack showed us all kinds of sites that are invaluable to nonprofit professionals and grant writers in particular. Maybe you’ve heard of these, but if not–drink up:   


Guidestar ( is a shining beacon of light for the nonprofit professional and appeals to the super sleuth in me. Most notably, you can get 990’s (tax forms) for nonprofits and foundations alike. Want to know what organizations got the grant that rejected you last year, how much money the ED of your agency makes, or the names of the board from your local community charity? It’s all there, baby.    

Leader to Leader Institute ( is an entity started by Peter Drucker. Some folks think of him as “the father of nonprofit management.” He wrote the nonprofit “Bible” Managing the Nonprofit Organization. The Institute awards innovation in nonprofit programming and posts a summary of the winners’ innovative programming on this site. It’s a great place to brainstorm grant ideas and see how your concepts measure up.    

If you want to see some actual sample grant proposals, you can go to They are all education based, but even if that’s not your bag it’s a great resource to see the structure of some funded proposals.    

Techsoup ( has cheap software for nonprofits.    

Idealist ( is like Guidestar, but here nonprofits list themselves. As a result, it is the largest database of active nonprofits. Tends towards a younger crowd of users. A great resource for volunteer opportunities and occasionally jobs.    

The Chronicle of Philanthropy ( is like the New York Times of the nonprofit world. Loads of great content and also a “Guide to Grants” section where you can look up foundations and awarded grants.    

There are lots more, but I can’t give away ALL my secrets. Ta-Ra for now.

Grant Writing Success and A Rather Horrifying Painting
February 24, 2010, 10:15 pm
Filed under: Grant Writing, Oil Painting

lantern painting

My second ever oil painting


So in addition to my quest for fulfilling work in a nonprofit, I am also trying to nurture my creative side. I don’t consider myself an artist, because I don’t do it outside of classes. I minored in Art in college where I studied both drawing and ceramics. I always had to have an art class each semester to keep my sanity. So now that I’m out of school why should it be any different? I have decided that I need to create and create on a weekly– if not daily– basis. Since I had never painted before I was keen to give oil painting a try.   

I am taking intro to oil painting at Callanwolde. My first painting was of a jaunty pear in a little blue room. The pear is now my avatar here on The Art Gardner. The painting above is a work in progress. Truth be told, I’d rather be painting people and animals, but I guess you have to start somewhere. In this case with a comedy lantern and a rather sad-looking hat.   

I almost didn’t make it to class tonight. I was up into the wee hours writing my proposal for grant writing class today. I have been talking to the folks at the Center for Puppetry Arts about doing a marketing/development internship. I mentioned to them that I was taking the grant writing program at Emory and needed a “project” to write about. They obligingly gave me their development folder full of material. I came up with an imaginary program and wrote a full proposal with budget in a day. We submitted our proposals in class today for a peer review and mine got the highest score in the class! I’m feeling pretty good about my new direction.   

By the way, I would highly recommend the Emory Grant Writing Certificate Program.  Jack Smith is the instructor and he really knows his stuff.

Trial By Fire
February 23, 2010, 7:57 pm
Filed under: Grant Writing

I am using my first official blog post for The Art Gardner to decompress. In my quest to transition from corporate marketing/sales into nonprofit marketing/development, I am trying to become as well-rounded and educated about the nonprofit world as possible.

This week, I am taking classes for a program through Emory to become a Certified Grant Writer. I took the Intro to Grant Writing portion of the program a few weeks ago at the Alpharetta campus and decided that I liked it enough to invest in the full program. I also learned that my next position had better not require me to get on the Atlanta highways for my commute. I had forgotten how hellish 85 is during rush hour. Luckily, most arts organizations are inside the perimeter–score.

As I pulled up to the Emory Briarcliff campus early this morning and encountered a series of buildings that can only be described as communist-block, Alpharetta started to look better. But thankfully, the classrooms are cosy and clean with state-of-the-art facilities. The class is a two-day intensive “hands-on” workshop. I come to find out that this means I have to write an entire proposal by tomorrow at 2 pm. Well, I guess that’s how the real world works. I’m up for the challenge. I just hope I have made enough progress by dinner to watch American Idol’s Top 24 show. Such is the life of The Art Gardner–juggling work with reality TV.

Welcome to The Art Gardner!
February 22, 2010, 3:29 pm
Filed under: General

I created The Art Gardner as a means to chronicle my transition from corporate marketing and sales to nonprofit marketing and development. My passion is for the arts. With The Art Gardner I invite you to come with me on my journey. Watch as my career aspirations grow and hopefully I will reap what I sow!