Monday, July 30, 2012

SixTwleve Is On the Move!

The past couple of weeks have been big for SixTwelve! As reported, Ron Ferrell has agreed to be a board member and last Wednesday, James went before the OKC Urban Design Commission to request approval for new balconies, landscaping, a wheelchair ramp, stairs and a new door for wheelchair accessibility. We received unanimous approval for all of our requests. We're so, so excited!!!! For the past two years, we've been working with the city to obtain the necessary approvals for the changes we need to make to the building and lot. We've experienced a steady stream of applications, meetings, hearings, etc. and we really couldn't do much more than we have without taking these steps. It would have been terrible to spend money on renovations, only to be told that we hadn't followed procedure and then have to tear things out and start again. So we've followed the proper path of progress and it's all about to pay off!

James has done such a great job, especially when you consider that neither one of us has ever done anything like this before. We've had so much help along the way and couldn't be more grateful for the support of people like Catherine Montgomery, Harry Simms, Brian Fitzsimmons and all of the people on the staff and commissions we've met with in OKC. Because of their guidance and voice of reason, we are now going to be able to move forward in our renovations and that will take us closer to our dream of opening our doors!

The next steps include changes we need to make to the building and lot, asking two more people to be on our board, filling out the non-profit application, creating policies, procedures, bylaws, etc. and then building our staff and programs! We've come so far and that helps to give us confidence that we have what it takes to accomplish these goals. I'm realizing more and more everyday that it's a real blessing to work towards our dreams. We're taking it one day at a time, but each day is an adventure and getting to do this with James makes it even more fun. So proud of him! I'm proud of both of us.

Happy Monday everybody!

Thursday, July 19, 2012

SixTwelve Has a New Board Member: Ron Ferrell!

James and I are so excited to announce that we have a third board member on the SixTwelve team! We took Ron Ferrell to Cheever's yesterday and asked him if he'd be willing to join us and he said, "Yes!" Ron is not only kind, generous and a wonderful artist, he's also a sustainability leader here in OKC. He truly cares about our community and wants to do whatever he can to make people aware of changes we can all make it our lives that will bring happiness. This is what SixTwelve is all about! I was also surprised to find out yesterday that he has a masters in education. Yes! Yes! Yes! We are so fortunate and honored to have his guidance.

Ron and Trey (our second board member to accept) are both incredibly knowledgeable of sustainability issues and organizations, not only in OKC, but all over the country. As soon as we started talking to both of them, they started giving us suggestions on places to research and people to contact so that we could tie into a network of like-minded people who could help us to reach our dreams. So we will be taking some trips over the next year to meet people, observe ways and best practices of doing things, and to get ideas. I'm so grateful!!!

Ron has been approached by a couple of filmmakers, in hopes that he would be willing to make a series of educational videos on how to grow your food and live sustainably. They have an indiegogo project and all of the money raised to the $2,000 goal will go towards those videos. If they raise anything above that mark, the money will go to Closer to Earth, wonderful youth group in the Central Park neighborhood that is raising food right in the middle of the city! Kids learn so many great things and we will definitely be looking to them for a model of how to do it right at SixTwelve.

Check out this video so you'll know a little more about who Ron Ferrell is and then if you feel compelled, donate a little to this awesome project! Click Here!

Thank you so much Ron, for agreeing to work with us! We're really honored!!!!

Monday, July 16, 2012

I'm Speaking at OKC's Midtown Rotary Tomorrow Night!

Over the past couple of months, I have rested, regrouped, traveled, and indulged in the fact that I can now quit treating 612 like a mistress, like I did when I was in school. I always felt like I was cheating on my studies when I would attend meetings, commission hearings or even daydream about what I wanted our wonderful place to be like when we finally opened our doors. I could hear my dad's voice in my head, "Amy, focus on school. This has to be your main objective! There will be time for all of this when you are finished." I was always torn, because this project of ours has picked up speed and momentum all on its own. I continually felt pulled in multiple directions at one time and guilty that I couldn't direct all of my energy towards school or the dream of 612.

But now, I don't have to feel guilty at all. My life, like everyone's, is a balancing act, choosing between serving our community and keeping some time for family, friends and personal endeavors. The best part is that my personal endeavors include the arts in OKC and my passion is 612. So work doesn't seem like work anymore. It's fun to have this blank canvas in front of me and know that I can paint whatever I think is best on it. James and I can plan and organize whatever we feel will be good for our community in our space and it's going to be a blast to grow (ourselves) alongside the maturation of this community center. I know we will learn so much.

And there's some proof that I've grown in my confidence, too. I've been invited to speak at the OKC Midtown Rotary club tomorrow night and while I did spend a little time getting nervous about my talk, I'm actually really honored and excited to share the vision for 612! Instead of worrying about tomorrow night, fearing that people are going to instantly realize that I'm not a business guru, I am embracing this opportunity to present our plan to a group of people who care about and support the arts in OKC. And the more that I think about what I want to say, the more I get excited about it all!!! I'm hoping that this little, twenty minute talk will be the first of many chances to include people in the journey, because I want to share it with as many as possible. I have so much gratitude for opportunities like this, those that just come to us. They help me to feel like we're on the right path.

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Feeling Great + Beach House!

Yesterday was the first day that I woke up and realized that I was beginning to forget the stress of grad school. I think it had something to do with the fact that I knew I'd be spending time with my awesome friend from class, Netha, last night. We went to the Beach House show at Cain's Ballroom in Tulsa! I knew that we would discuss issues related to the stress of school and I would think to myself, "Self, you don't have to worry about that anymore." Ahhhhh, yes! It was a great litmus test for me to realize that I am letting it go. It took a while. And, of course, now I have a different kind of stress, i.e. learning how to start a nonprofit and getting this building renovated, but I've decided to look at that project in a different way than I experienced school.

I HAVE FINALLY FOUND MY CONFIDENCE. I don't immediately interpret everyone's questions about the project as judgement and I have embraced the pace of working with the city as time to get the board formed, the paperwork filled out and a chance to research programming so that we can provide the very best for our community. Plus, no one else is doing this besides me and James.  We know what we need to do and how we need to proceed, even if it's just figuring out the next step, one move at a time. I'm really proud of how far we've come and I am no longer scared of the future.

I think it took going through grad school and that thesis process to find this confidence. It was rough, but I'm so glad that I had that opportunity. It's not that I think a Masters in Art History qualifies me to run a business. I'll be taking lots of classes at the Oklahoma Center for Nonprofits. Now I just believe in myself and my ability to keep pushing until I figure out how to reach my goals. I won't give up!

I held the camera really, really high to get this shot! Glad it worked! Ha!
It was great to spend time with Netha last night, and I'm beyond grateful for the chance to see one of my ALL TIME FAVORITE BANDS here in Oklahoma.  Cain's was packed, but I stood next to really nice people who let me scoot over every now and then so I could catch a glimpse of Victoria and Alex. (They also had a drummer with them who was excellent!) I'm so in love with their music. The category is labeled, "Dream Pop," and their angsty beauty always has my heart soaring when I listen. I think the electronic aspect of their tunes, in combination with my favorite instruments: slide guitar, organ, high fretwork on the bass, percussion and the gorgeous harmonies those two produce all just add up to result in an amalgamation of everything I loved about music from my high school and early college years and everything I love now.

IMAGINE STANDING IN A BALLROOM WITH THE MUSIC PLAYING LIVE OVER THOSE AWESOME SPEAKERS!!!!! Because I'm so short, I usually can't see performers in a venue like that, so most of the time I just close my eyes, sway to the music and get a little lost in it all. I imagine that I'm the only one there and that the group is playing just for me. It's actually just as much fun as being able to see the stage and I feel like I'm getting the full musical experience that way too. Here's a video of a song that I love off of their new album. Hope anyone reading this loves it too.