There are so many things wrapping up for me this year:
The IT support company I started over 30 years ago, TheWalkerGroup.com, is thriving under great leadership and as a social enterprise, ensuring that one-third of any distributed profits go to employee stakeholders and one-third to the community. We hoped to formalize the transition this year to a Purpose Trust to ensure that our social enterprise structure holds into perpetuity, but it looks like there will still be some work to do in 2021.
I will also be turning the chair of reSET, the nonprofit I founded in 2007 to support the social enterprise sector here in Connecticut, over to very capable hands as I come off the board. I’m very proud of the organization it has become and look forward to seeing where it goes in the future.
And last but certainly not least, there is my son, David, who I birthed 22 years ago. While he’s still willing to listen to his mom from time to time, he is pretty much his own man these days.
That’s a lot of launching, wouldn’t you agree? And while the tough stuff is pretty much a wrap and all three seem well launched, I still have the ever-important role of cheerleader, which suits me just fine. More time for painting!
Golden Dawn, 10"x30", oil on canvas, $950
And you know what they say about windows opening when doors close…. 2020 also feels like the year I really launched my studio business. What started as a hobby became a practice, and this year it morphed into a real business with the help of my new studio manager, Kim, who is all around awesome. She’s helped me with marketing and become a friend as well as a strategic partner.
I’ve learned that being an artist is as much about process and goals as running a more traditional business, and I love that part of it. I am developing an awesome community of art buyers who have adopted one or more of my paintings and who make me feel great! Together, we’re using the sale of my art to raise money for important community organizations in Connecticut and beyond, and there are even leftover funds with which to buy paint and canvases!
I’m not sure when it occurred to me, but what I’ve got going now is a cottage social enterprise, and I love being able to pursue a passion while also making a contribution to the community. To date we’ve been able to donate nearly $6,000 to great organizations such as Interval House, the Farmington Land Trust and the Hill-Stead Museum. And the year isn’t over yet... hint, hint... take a virtual walk through my gallery.
I’ve raised thousands for good community causes;
I’ve learned a lot;
I’ve had a blast.
I’ll share more about what I’m planning for 2021 next month. Mostly, I’m just so happy to bid 2020 adieu. 2020 has taught me a little about living with uncertainty, and I’ve applied some of its lessons to painting. In particular, I’m finding joy in putting down a stroke and then letting it be. It makes for a looser, more lively painting, so I plan to keep growing in that direction next year.
And speaking of 2021… bring it on!!! While I’ve learned this year how dangerous it is to say, “How can it get any worse?” and I know there are tough times ahead, some of the big bad stuff looks to be on the way out, and for that I am very, very grateful.
I’m looking forward to continuing my journey in art next year while playing cheerleader for those people who are continuing to do the heavy lifting without me. And as we head into the solstice season, I am so grateful for the promise of returning light. A new year. A new season. New beginnings. New Hope!