Higher Ground | Michelle Micalizzi, Artist
(All rights Reserved)
It is my sincere belief that there is no greater calling in life than to help others earn a living and make a rewarding life. Furthermore, I believe that business owners who give back are in many ways the backbone of our country. There are countless worthy causes to support, and businesses that have a mission that transcends making a profit are truly what makes the world go around.
I also believe that artists are business owners. No one mentioned this fact to me when I was in art school or in business school for that matter. I only became comfortable with this fact as a byproduct of creating the Art of Fearlessly Doing Business (AoFDB) series. Check out AoFDB.com to learn more about that project and meet the thirty-nine Valley of the Sun business owners I have featured so far.
In the process of interviewing business owners over three years for the AoFDB Series, I have come to a deep understanding that business is art and art is business. I have also discovered, much to my surprise, that my passion for art, business and community is one in the same. Thankfully, the AoFDB forced me to apply the work ethic I have always applied to my businesses and community service to the creation of art. As a result, I gained a rock solid confidence that comes from truly knowing what my purpose is on this planet. Through this project I uncovered not only a meaningful way to give back but more importantly, I found myself. The process of creating the work helped me to finally articulate simultaneously who I am as an artist, a business person and a human being.
I am a socially responsible creative entrepreneur and a visual journalist. I tell stories using words and images and my primary muses are entrepreneurs. The purpose to all of this is to inspire people to be FEARLESS and reach outside of the box for their dreams.
The Art of Fearlessly Giving Back (AoFGB) is my next fearless art project incarnation. I invited fellow fearless entrepreneur with a heart, Tyler Butler, CEO of 11Eleven Consulting, to team up with me on this community awareness series that focuses on one company’s social responsibility mission and the charities that they support. The goal of the project is to creatively demonstrate through visual journalism how giving back to communities is not only smart business, but the real reason most companies are even in business. 11Eleven Consulting inspires companies who operate with a conscience. 11Eleven enhances humanity while creating a brighter future for organizations to promote and steward rewardable reputations. Check out 11elevenconsulting.com to learn more about Tyler and her life’s work. I am sure you will be as impressed as I was when I invited her to be one of the Fearless Thirteen entrepreneurs I featured for AoFDB III.
I am extremely excited that the company that we have chosen to work with on this project is WebPT. With a 30-percent market share and 99-percent retention rate, WebPT is the leading rehab therapy platform for enhancing patient care and fueling business growth. Launched in 2008, the company is based in downtown Phoenix’s historic Warehouse District. The organizations that WebPT has chosen to champion in this project are Conscious Capitalism, PT Day of Service, Support My Club, The Arizona Science Center Girls in STEAM initiative, United Blood Services and the Desert Labrador Retriever Rescue.
WebPT is my kind of company and Heidi Jannenga is my kind of leader. She is an inspiration because she personifies the power of what one individual can do to positively impact the world. Like every great entrepreneur, she saw a problem in her industry and she was compelled to solve that problem. She and her cofounder started in the back of a coffee shop with only a laptop and a dream. In just nine years, two employees who bootstrapped their way to greatness became three hundred. Client number one has multiplied into ten thousand. Heidi is humble. She does not claim that success came easy, in fact, quite the contrary. The values that she and her employees declared important speak to doing business in the real world with real people. In the tradition of author Robert Fulghum’s, All I Need to Know I Learned in Kindergarden, WebPT’s values are simple: make friends, say you’re sorry, work hard, be nice, think smart, share, be thrifty and take care of yourself. Isn’t that refreshing? I think so.
In this series, I will be focusing on WebPT’s core values and how each charity exemplifies those values. Over the next fourteen weeks, I will interview the leadership team of WebPT. A blog highlighting five key takeaways and a painting/sculpture will follow each interview. These paintings are deliberately big, measuring 36” x 60”. Each WebPT conversation will be followed by an interview with each organization’s leadership. Those interviews will also inspire a blog with five key takeaways and a 30” x 30” painting or sculpture in the case of the Arizona Science Center.
At the end of the series there will be an art opening featuring fifteen paintings and at least one sculpture at my new gallery Fearless Art Works that is located in Historic Spanish Village in the town of Carefree. The work will be auctioned in gallery and on line for the benefit of the six charities. Concurrently, there will also be a small works show created by the Fearless Artist Core: Alex McDonell, Bob Diercksmeier, Casey Cheuvront, Cindy Moses, Jennifer Hoffman, Judith Rothenstein-Putzer, Laura Thurbon, Lucretia Torva, Megan Somerville, Meryl P Epstein, Michelle B Hultz, Pat O’Brien, Rick Allen and Ted Loomis. Ten percent of the sales from the small works will be split between the six charities equally. Finally there will be a retail store available online of items featuring all the work in the show.
With this blog post the fourth fearless art project is officially in motion. Keep your eyes open for Facebook live ticklers for each interview as well as my work sessions in my gallery. I encourage you to comment and share your thoughts on my Fearlessly Deliver blog, Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, Google+, LinkedIn and Instagram. You can find links to all my social media pages and sign up for the fearless newsletter on fearelesslydeliver.com/contactus.
It is my hope that this project encourages you to work, live, grow and FEARLESSLY GIVE BACK on purpose.
This post ironically lands on Labor Day weekend, a weekend that we all anticipate as a well-deserved day off that also includes the unofficial end of summer. Officially, per the United States DEPARTMENT OF LABOR, this holiday is defined as follows.
Labor Day, the first Monday in September, is a creation of the labor movement and is dedicated to the social and economic achievements of American workers. It constitutes a yearly national tribute to the contributions workers have made to the strength, prosperity, and well-being of our country.
It is evident in what these organizations do on a daily basis definitively contributes to our nation’s strength, prosperity, and (most importantly) well-being.
As I was thinking about each of the organizations I am about to highlight in this series and their individual missions; a mountain range naturally came to mind because all of us have our own mountain to climb. We all have peaks to surmount, while simultaneously sharing the same bird’s-eye view from our respective pinnacles.
On my first trip to Arizona, I was awestruck by the McDowell Mountain Range. Once I moved here, I took a ride on my Harley up Route 89 to Prescott and upon taking in that quintessential mouth-dropping Arizona view; I was overwhelmed with its presence. Anyone who has been to Sedona or the Grand Canyon knows that Arizona is a land of extremes. This phenomenon intrigued me so I started to explore that idea, and after a Google search on “mountain ranges,” I found the following information in Wikipedia, which made me chuckle.
A mountain range or hill range is a series of mountains or hills ranged in a line and connected by high ground. A mountain system or mountain belt is a group of mountain ranges with similarity in form, structure and alignment that have arisen from the same cause, usually an orogeny.
An orogeny is an event that leads to a large structural deformation of the Earth’s lithosphere (crust and uppermost mantle) due to the interaction between tectonic plates. An orogen or orogenic belt develops when a continental plate crumples and is pushed upwards to form one or more mountain ranges; this involves many geological processes collectively called orogenesis.
Having a Higher Ground is exactly what all of us have in common. Like Stevie Wonder sings in his song “Higher Ground,” none of us are stopping until we reach that higher ground. I also reflected about the idea of what an orogeny actually is. The fact that the earth literally had to crumble to form every mountain range is genuinely powerful. That fact resonates for each contributing organization because every group has a problem to solve, and as a result, every day we do move mountains. We are all proud disrupters. Each of us acknowledges that only disruptors can move and climb mountains.
Another irony that struck me personally is that if I had not torn my Achilles tendon while running up the back of Tom’s Thumb in 2013; this entire project would not have taken place because I would not have had to reinvent myself AGAIN. Yes, mountains can undo us but not for long because we always get back up on our feet and climb another day!
OPENING & AUCTION
Show Hangs through Jan 3, 2018
Fearless Art Works
7211 E. Ho Rd, #17
Care Free, AZ
M-F 11-4PM | Sat 11-3PM or by appointment
Michelle Micalizzi is a creative entrepreneur and the owner of Fearlessly Deliver. She balances her businesses mind and creative skills in all that she does as a Gallery Owner, a Painter, a Visual Journalist, a Curator, an Art Rep. and a Business Executor. Her strong belief in community and collective engagement lead her to found the Art of Fearlessly Doing Business, the Art of Fearlessly Giving Back, Fearless Pop up Projects and Tavas Yoga. Michelle’s latest exciting endeavor the Fearless Art Works is an art gallery and a space for good works of all kind that connects Art + Community + Business.
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