Tag Archives: Mike Seiden

How Important Is Art?

Sandy Adler, Class 26
Realtor, Arizona Best Real Estate

The Class 26 Blog: This is a blog series about the experience and impact of Scottsdale Leadership’s core program. The program informs, inspires and empowers leaders to champion and strengthen the interests of the community.

Members of class XXVI spent a wonderful day learning about art in Scottsdale. Highlights included a tour of public art and in-depth discussion about the value of art in Scottsdale. In an economy where many people are struggling financially, is it appropriate to designate limited funds to support the arts when people have other needs that are more basic such as food, clothing and shelter?

I would argue that arts are important in any economy. I loved Mike Seiden’s opening comments when he quoted Dreiser who said, “Art is the stored honey of the soul.”  Supporting arts in Scottsdale is good for our souls and also good for our business.

Art is an important expression of who we are as a city. Why?

  • The public art pieces all around the city create a special environment here that residents enjoy every day.
  • The art all around us in our city is uplifting and encourages us to see our world as a place of beauty even when times might be tough for us individually.
  • The art in Scottsdale goes beyond just the specific pieces created by working artists.

There have been studies showing that exposure to art (music, visual art, creative arts) creates more compassion in people and increases intellectual ability. Many class members could share examples of how participating in the arts has enriched their lives. The Vietnamese children’s art that we viewed in the Young at Art gallery at the Scottsdale Center for the Arts clearly illustrated how visual art can provide cathartic release for people and tell important stories.

In addition to the intangible benefits of supporting the arts, there are important economic reasons for supporting them in Scottsdale. The city has been marketed as a place to find world class art experiences. The Scottsdale Visitor and Convention Bureau markets Scottsdale as a place to visit and do business. We learned that arts are a critically important piece of what they do and the art scene in Scottsdale has been recognized around the world for many years. The municipal art collection in Scottsdale was started in 1967 and today is comprised of hundreds of pieces.

So, what do you think?  Is Scottsdale doing the right thing by supporting the arts?

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20/20 Perfect Vision: It’s Possible!

By SUZANNE PAETZER, Class 24
President- TriAra Consulting, LLC

20/20 Vision: Our Citizen’s Prescription for the Future – Scottsdale Leadership’s annual community forum sponsored by Scottsdale Republic/The Arizona Republic, APS and Scottsdale Area Association of Realtors.

Your vision is a primary sensory source – taking in your surroundings and making key decisions.  Quickly your eyes note the meaning of facial expressions in a conversation.  Colors and textures in nature are discerned. Vast publications of knowledge are absorbed. BlackBerry’s and TV’s send us countless images that influence our lives.

Your vision is not something to take for granted. It creates wholeness in your world and isn’t seeing 20/20 the ultimate goal?

On Thursday, April 29th a distinguished group of community leaders challenged the audience at Scottsdale Leadership’s  7th Annual Community Forum to create a vision for Scottsdale.  Scottsdale hasn’t set sight on defining a citizen-driven vision for more than 20 years. What do our citizens want for the future?

The panel, facilitated by Dick Bowers, former Scottsdale city manager, consisted of: Jane Rau, co-founder of the McDowell Sonoran Conservancy, sharing an activist’s vision; Charlie Smith, former Scottsdale council member, providing a hindsight perspective; Peter Kasperski, owner of Cowboy Ciao and Kazimierz, lending a future perspective; and Trevor Barger, founder Espiritu Loci, highlighting the key components of vision.

What is Vision?
I view the path of vision like a tree.  At the very root of vision is just one idea.  Then vision takes on an element of natural growth developing one branch.  As ideas are nurtured, more branches of new ideas stem from conversations that feed the knowledge tree.  Eventually, one idea has grown and taken shape and now becomes a solid foundation upon which more growth occurs.  Sometimes the final vision is very different than the very first idea that planted the seed of thought for growth.  Vision grows naturally and can’t be forced.

Trevor Barger resonated with my tree vision when he talked about a community vision and its premise of starting with a believable idea created by looking in the present with passion to the future.  We must see the potential of an idea but not merely change an existing issue.  We need to be bold about the vision of future potential of an idea.  You know when a vision has taken hold when it culminates by influencing and inspiring people to take action because the vision touches their soul.  Just like the deep roots of a magnificent tree firmly planted, vision inspires and takes hold on solid footing and branches out and grows naturally.

It’s Time Scottsdale
There is no citizens-driven vision for Scottsdale.  We need to know where we want to go or we will never get there. A small group of seven, who in the past decided to increase the size of Scottsdale’s original one square mile, made a difference!

There are countless examples of people from the past who said, “Why not _______?” Fill the blank in with build a stadium, create an Old Towne, preserve the desert, etc.  You can make a difference.  We must gather as citizens of Scottsdale and explore the vision we want.

The Challenge to Scottsdale Leadership, Class 24
As a member of the soon-to-graduate Class 24, I propose a challenge to my esteemed classmates.

We talked about the need for a vision in Scottsdale during one of our classes.  It was even proposed by Mike Seiden, Core Program Vice-Chair for Class 25, we abandon our six community projects and all focus on creating the groundswell for Scottsdale’s vision.  Well, we all participated in six amazing and impactful projects that touched the community in so many ways.  Thank you Scottsdale Leadership for having the foresight to not heed our plea, for our projects changed our lives and impacted many others.

So, now that we are a united force of 42 with community presence, I challenge my classmates to join in the offer from Dr. Jan L. Gehler, President of Scottsdale Community College, to meet at her college and start the dialogue and groundswell for our community vision.

We can make a difference even if it is only a small group of seven.  We may not know “how” it will turn out or even “what” the vision is but isn’t that exciting?  What we do know is that it will be revealed to us as we share ideas and perspectives, conduct difficult conversations and envelope it in courageous leadership.  The time is now.  And, it’s up to us.  What better way to serve our community than to help create its future!

If you’re in, let me know.  I’m willing to take the first step to get it started with you.  Let us take our time, talents, passion, pride and leadership and create a legacy for Scottsdale.  If we don’t, who will?

“Never look down to test the ground before taking your next step; only he who keeps his eye fixed on the far horizon will find the right road.”
Dag Hammarskjold (1905-1961, Statesman and Secretary-General of the United Nations).

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