Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Lisa Sonora Beam, The Creative Entrepreneur: How I Have Fun, Do Good

The eleventh guest blogger in my have fun do good series is Lisa Sonora Beam.  

Lisa is the author of The Creative Entrepreneur, an award-winning book on creativity and business for creatives who want to do what they love, and make a difference.  She is a lifelong artist, and was a therapist working in psychiatric hospitals before she made the leap into advertising (long story).  

In 2000, she realized that she could use her marketing and advertising superpowers for good, and founded Digital Hive EcoLogical Design, the first communications firm to specialize in promoting green and social products and enterprises.  You can follow Lisa on her blog (lisasonorabeam.com), Twitter (@lisasonorabeam), and on The Creative Entrepreneur Facebook page.

Lisa Sonora Beam, The Creative Entrepreneur: How I Have Fun, Do Good 

Buy art from artists. In your neighborhood...and all around the world!

One of the most fun ways to do good is to buy art and hand crafts directly from artists and artisans. The Internet makes this so easy now, but what's even more fun is to step away from the computer and go out and find artists where they work, live and exhibit.

I combine my passion for travel, art and teaching by taking people to off-the-beaten path places that have lively arts and handcrafts scenes. After many discovery trips to search out the artists and nearby accommodations, I put together a workshop that is part cultural tour and part art-making extravaganza for the participants. We eat, sleep and make art 24/7. To me, it's the best way to take a vacation and really recharge my creativity all at once.

Very often, someone attending my workshop is going abroad for the very first time. They need a passport! It's exciting and scary all at once. I absolutely love taking first time travelers abroad and introducing them to the wide and amazing world beyond the borders of our own wide and amazing country.

Art is a healing force in the world, and on an individual level. Many cultures still view art-making as an integral part of their spirituality, culture and traditions. Art crosses so many of the barriers that keep people separate: not just geographical borders, but differences in race, religion, language and customs. When we connect with people through arts and culture, the sense of "other" falls away. We recognize how much we have in common. We bond over our mutual humanity.

Curiosity about other people and places promotes peace, understanding, tolerance...and very often lifelong friendships. Learning about an artist's work is the best history, sociology, foreign language and anthropology lesson you can get. All for way less than a college course! As a bonus, you'll take home adornments for home, fashion, beauty and style, bought directly from the people who made them.

When you visit me in my art studio, you'll drink tea out of cups I've bought from Marrakesh, and eat tapas from dishes handmade in Spain. You'll see a small oil painting from a favorite Parisian painter, and folk art from five continents and counting. All bought from an artist so grateful to be earning money from their work. All with a story (sometimes about how the stuff actually made it home) and an unforgettable experience that lives on in the sharing.

If you'd like to join Lisa on her next Creative Entrepreneur reTREAT in Mexico
, click here to view more details. (Full disclosure: I am a member of Lisa's affiliate program).

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