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Brand Values

In the #MeettheMakerChallenge- next up is Brand Values. When forming Create Art 4 Good, I worked really hard at defining what this was all meant to be. For me going into business was an opportunity. It was an opportunity to not only create art, and support the art of others, but it was also a way to be aware of the world around me and use my talents for good. I give a portion of every single sale to a local charity. It doesn’t matter if it is a greeting card from my card business – Greetings 4 Good, or a large painting, each piece I have created is used to pay it forward. 

Toward that end, I created “the thoughtfulness project”. It is a project that seeks to pay it forward, give back, and create joy. It is a project that can be as simple as paying for someone’s coffee, dropping off hundreds of cards to a nursing home, or sending something to a stranger in need. Last year (2021) I sent literally thousands of cards, through the mail, dropped off, or otherwise. Most were sent to 97% strangers. The whole idea is to SHARE THE LOVE!

The best of what we are can be joyfully shared with others to support and celebrate! Life can be hard, but we as humans who care can make a difference. That is just what I seek to do. 

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Happy New Year!

It has taken me a day or two to catch up with the fact that the new year has presented itself. A brand new, shiny, clean new year.  In the past, I have always looked at the new year as a fresh slate. This year, circumstances don’t necessarily present that optimism as clearly for me.

It is also a time of reflection on the year past. From what I observe online, many are suggesting that 2021 was a horrific year. I agree, it certainly had its challenges. I am discouraged that it is so easy to discard an entire year as horrific. 

Before you get defensive, I know there has been great loss. I know that we are tired. I know that the world is STILL in a global pandemic. I know that our lives have changed in order to manage that pandemic. I know. I know that likely every single one of you reading this knows someone who is suffering from covid, cancer, or some other horrible affliction. I am keenly aware that the challenges are great. I might even suggest that I am pretty aware of the same. 

Yet. I cannot dismiss three hundred and sixty-five days as all bad. When I reflect upon the past year, I see the personal growth I have worked towards. I see my children blooming in their relationships, their careers, and their humanity. I see my business changing and growing. I see many positive things happening. I see good deeds, good people, generosity of souls, kindness, and caring.

I won’t pretend that I ignore the darkness. There has been so much loss, so much illness, not just Covid, but cancer, and other scary things. Sometimes I am overwhelmed by the darkness. But these are the times I actively seek the light. I try to do my best to ramp up the courage and a healthy dose of hope. 

As I said, I take time each new year to reflect. Reflect on accomplishments, on lessons learned, on growth, on the joys, on… well many things. I think it would be easy for me to see only the darkness if I didn’t consciously seek gratitude for all of the good, for the joys, for the kindnesses. I saw something recently where someone suggested that we don’t have bad days, we have bad moments. Rarely is every single minute of a day horrible.  This offered an interesting perspective that I try to adhere to. 

The year presented us with some really horrible things. I know that many are weary. Many have faced giant mountains. I only seek to suggest that we see how many of those mountains have been conquered. How many moments of joy have stitched us together. How many blessings have we received? 

So… seek the light, my friends- it is not that we won’t have challenges this year, but I believe that we can meet those challenges more successfully if we focus on the light, even if it is a sliver of light in the darkest darkness. 

Happy New Year- sending you so much love, 

Susan

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In the right place…

Be sure you put your feet in the right place, then stand firm. A. Lincoln

I have had to ponder this for a bit, it all felt too jumbled emotionally to share. I honestly couldn’t decide if I was happy or sad or both. At this point, I feel the emotion just “was” and defining it ultimately served no real purpose. It was instead an opportunity to move through it and find a way to the other side. 

A few weeks ago, would have been my tenth anniversary having a studio at the Hungerford. I bring this up only because leaving the Hungerford marked a huge transition for me. I made note of the date literally the day before. As I said above, I wasn’t sure if I felt happy, sad, or otherwise. 

The Hungerford was my first “real” studio. I made a studio space into a gallery. I embraced the esthetic of not so long ago industrial and created my own real-world gallery.  I supported artists there. I had a new exhibit with a guest artist (or artists) every single month. I held workshops there. I held events that supported and reached out to the homeless, women in crisis, and those being treated for cancer. I held meetings to support small business Marketing, Artisan Socials, and more. 

I worked so hard there… I grew as an artist and a person there… I made some dear friends there… it was home. 

In January of 2020, I made the decision that it was time for a change. I love(d) what I was doing- but something in me knew it was time for a big change. I had a lot of time to think about this as I spontaneously drove to Florida by myself (after an invitation twelve hours earlier from my son and bonus daughter) to spend a week with them.  I did it! (If you only knew how out of character this was for me) 

When I got home about ten days later I knew that change was in the wind. It was happening, I just wasn’t sure how. ( The last time I felt this way I went back to college.)

Enter a Facebook post by Brandi Marino. Brandi shared about a new collective at the Piano Works Mall. I decided to go check it out. My original intention was to see it and if I liked it, consider opening a second site for Create Art 4 Good. Perhaps I would hold workshops there. 

Two days later, after seeing the space twice, I made the decision to move from the Hungerford to Central Creatives. (My husband was not pleased, but thankfully he was supportive) 

Somewhere in the back of my mind, I knew this wasn’t just about changing location. It was about changing the business altogether. 

The universe must have agreed because out of the thin air I had people volunteering to move me. SO many people! It was really quite amazing. (talk about grateful!) I moved in on February 23, and on February 29th, we as a collective had our first big opening. 

Then… the global pandemic hit, and we shut down. 

Why on earth am I telling you all this? Well… you see, I changed far more than location. I changed the business. While I still try to support my fellow artists, I do not have a new exhibit every month (who could in a pandemic?) This forced me to make some changes. I am certainly not suggesting that I love the pandemic, but as my mother would have said, “There’s always something to be grateful for.”

What I am grateful for is that I have found a way to prioritize my own work. I have taken quite seriously my art, my greeting card company, and my mission. I still pay it forward with a portion of the profits going to charity. I still support other artists- I am a pretty good cheerleader, but also I have taken over Rochester Artisans started by the ever wonderful Stefani Tadio. This is a group that assists other artists with all things business. It gives me joy to facilitate that group. I even still do a workshop or two. During the height of the pandemic- zoom became a very handy tool. So the changes are there, but maybe it is more of a shift. Perhaps it was time. 

So, I might not be at the Hungerford. But I am celebrating a business that is twelve years old. I am celebrating my own personal and professional growth. I am celebrating surviving and even having moments of thriving in the pandemic world. I am grateful for the opportunity to take my own work more seriously, and the courage to do so. I am grateful for you.

(whew, this was a long one, wasn’t it?)

I believe, with my whole heart, I am in the right place.

The best is yet to be… 

Thanks for listening! With so much love, 

Susan

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Welcome, July

Hello July
Hello July
Welcome July in a sassy way! It’s going to be a great month!

 

Well, hello there! Welcome to July. I wanted to take a moment to share all the fun things going on in my life. 

First, I am not (typically) one to make a big deal out of my own birthday, however, this year, this month, both my husband and myself are turning sixty. I admit, I kind of don’t believe it. There are days my body sure does feel at LEAST sixty, but I feel like I am just getting started in so many ways. But, regardless of what is ahead, I am celebrating. I feel like more than ever, I am in awe of the preciousness of life, the countless gifts I have received, and the love that I have in my life. I AM one blessed human. I am ever so grateful. 

That said! I am celebrating with a one-woman show at Sylvan Starlight Creations. I have been creating for a long time (see above) and I want to celebrate that! I am grateful to Sylvia Serry who owns the gallery for this invitational. The opening is on the fifteenth of July and should be downright fun! I will be demonstrating mixed media art as it is my great love! (one of them anyway) Sylvan Starlight Creations is found at 50 State St bldg c, Pittsford, NY 14534. The opening will be from 4-8 pm.  The show will be up through September! 

Celebrating sixty years of life and creation!

 

Next, I have updated my workshops. At this point, I am very willing to facilitate workshops in person at the gallery or on a video chat. It is important everyone feels comfortable, but by all means, let’s be creative together! 

you can find the listings on the website here: Create With Me

Join the Central Creatives for an open house!

Next up, (so much fun to share, isn’t there?) My beloved new home (well sorta new) is having an opening on July 30th! You can come to visit between 5-9 pm that evening. If that doesn’t work, PLEASE make an appointment- I would love to show you around! This is becoming my happy place! Make an appointment here: Susan Carmen-Duffy

 

Lastly, I HAVE SO MUCH FUN NEWS! I am going to press soon AND that means I will be offering a new subscription plan! Stay tuned! I think it is going to be really nifty and fun!  There are several to choose from right now- find them @ Greetings4Good.org

REALLY lastly, I hope you are doing okay. Covid has paused the world in such an unbelievable way. I feel like the ramifications are far-reaching for each of us. Personally, there have been struggles, sadness, and loss. What has profoundly saved me has been the practice of gratitude, my art, my family, (chosen and gifted family as well!). Be gentle with yourself. Be kind to others. If never before we understood that we are all in this together – we sure as heck should now. 

A blue heart on a white background.
sending you love

That said… I am sending you big giant love. 

Happy July! 

Susan

 

 

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Open Hours!

hi there!

the red door to Central Creatives
This red door is to the left of the golf pro shop

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

You have been asking for hours to visit- so here they are!  Beginning in May- Mondays & Thursdays 11 am – 4 pm (except for Memorial Day)

I am beginning on the modest side, but please know that you are always welcome to make an appointment.  Appointments are best made via email: Susan

Park between Ferrari’s and the Golf pro shop- enter our building through this red door! follow the hall to the elevator (there are also stairs) make your way to the second floor. The main central Creatives door is directly in front of you- Suite #2795.  The main entrance to my gallery is to the right of that door. Please text when you arrive (as the hall doors are generally locked)  585.210.3161 – is the gallery phone! 

Please wear a mask in the building. I have hand sanitizer available for your use!

I am truly excited to see you!

Blessings & Love, 

Susan

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Checking in

Hey there, how are you?

Today the rain is falling steadily in Rochester, New York. Today, I love the rain, it is cleansing and can be so beautiful. The fresh scent fills me. It nourishes the earth- which seems especially important these days. 

Spring has arrived. Those beautiful yellow-greens are popping up everywhere I look. Grass, trees, plants, they all seem to have the courage of spring.

This season feels more hopeful to me than any others have in quite some time. The path might not be linear but,  I seem to have made peace with the “new normal”. I am diligently trying to function, grow, and even bloom. I am doing the work, both personally and professionally. It is not always pretty, I assure you, (have I shared about the painting I started about a month ago that now has about 37 layers of paint on it with seemingly no success?!) *insert frustrated face here*

One of the things I am working on is my greeting card website. (Greetings 4 Good) I am sure you have heard the story no less than a thousand times.

The motivation to begin a greeting card company began decades ago. (truth be told, it was about half a century ago!) It is funny how life sometimes brings you full circle. Since I was a young child, creating cards has been a “thing”. I remember being quite young and visiting my great-grandmother. She was gravely ill. I was convinced that making cards would heal her. While the idea might be slightly naive, I do believe there was validity in the intent. I made her several cards, some from folded paper, some from leftover Christmas cards, each was filled with great love. Each made that sweet woman’s lips part in a quiet smile. 

For me, greeting cards are about thoughtful intent. It is about sharing my art and my heart. It is about creating connections. Celebrating victories, mourning losses, reaching out to those who might be alone (or just lonely), saying your sorry when you have been wrong; it is about reaching out (even and especially during a pandemic) to share your love. Greetings 4 Good is not just a way to share my work, it is about sharing my love. (and encouraging you to do the very same!)

I believe that my business life just finally caught up with my heart.

 So today, I just wanted to check on you, while I spend the day working on my big dream! (I am up to eight pages of products!) I hope you are feeling warmth and of course, loved. I hope you feel your life is also full of the courage of spring. It might just be time to bloom my friends…

Sending you so much love, 

Susan

The rain is inspiring. Drops in the puddle are like swirling worlds
Spring rain washes the soul and nourishes the earth
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Celebrating ten years

My mother passed away in January of 2010, I honestly wasn’t sure what to do with myself at that time. Losing your mother is so profound. You are with her for longer than anyone else in your life. I needed a place to put my energy. I needed a way to take all the lessons I have learned in my life and make them count.

Create Art 4 Good was born. 

This isn’t my first business, but I suspect it is my forever business. 

I have spent a great deal of time in reflection of this business- Here is a graphic created to share some of what has happened in the last ten years. 

Thank YOU for what you have done to support this. 

I promise… the best is yet to be.

Blessings,

Susan

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Ten years in business

It’s hard to believe, but this month marks ten years as the owner, artist, cheerleader, floor mopper at Create Art 4 Good. It honestly doesn’t feel that long, but indeed- here we are.

As you may have noticed in the past, I have much to say. 

celebration logo
Celebrating ten years as Create Art 4 Good

But I am not going to say it all right now- All I mean to say today is how grateful I am for you. Many of you have been with me since before this began. You have held my hand through the doubts, given me light when it was dark and supported me every way you knew how. 

I am so grateful. 

This celebration is about YOU, too. 

…the best is yet to be!

Susan

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grateful

In a world turned upsidedown, I am so grateful to be able to pick up a paintbrush and paint the day away. 

In a time where open windows are a necessity not just for the airing of my home, but for the airing of my head… I am so grateful

In a time where tomorrow is uncertain, I am grateful for today. 

I am grateful for this moment, for this life, for the wonder I feel . 

I am grateful.