Exploring The Modern Art Community

The cultural arts community is made up of many kinds of artists and of people that have only their talent for knowing great art and artists when they see it. Photography has been an art form since the introduction of the camera and today, you can find images from talented photographers everywhere. The internet, magazines and newspapers are only a few of the platforms used by photographers. Art galleries and museums around the globe include photographic images to some of their finest collections as well.Sculpting can be done in many ways, some of them unusual and alluring to the eye. Sculptors have been known to use various materials for producing art forms that can be tiny to the ones that are larger than a vehicle. Sculptors have been a part of the art community for thousands of years and have certainly made an indelible mark upon many art lovers both old and young. Sculptors have the talent to create three dimensional art works that can go beyond the traditional decoration.Many artists, some of which are included in many museums around the world, simply sketch with a pencil. Sketchers are spontaneous artists and like to know they can capture an image or scene right on the spot no matter where they may be. These are the artists you might see carrying a satchel filled with pencils and a plain sketch book. Leonardo DaVinci was one of the greatest sketching artists in history.Dancers and performers make up a huge part of the art world. Playwrights and stage players have been around for a long time and have always been a distinct group. Consider the importance of Broadway to the city of New York. Without the dedication of dancers and talented choreographers, Broadway may have never become what it is today. Certainly the actors and actresses that have performed on stage can appreciate this kind of ambitious love of the arts and cultural scene.Most everyone thinks about an artist as someone with a palette, paintbrush and a canvas. The number of people involved in this form of art are many and some have been in history for hundreds of years. However, one important aspect of famous painters becoming famous is the people in the art lovers community caring about them.The museums all over the world are made up of a special breed of art lovers, taking time to dedicate time and money to the preservation and display of great art forms. Without these people in communities around the globe, the art forms most everyone is familiar today may not be so familiar after all.Art and culture go hand in hand when it comes to diversity and tastes. The person visiting a small town out of their home country can learn a great deal from chatting with the people that are in the business of preserving art and cultural history surrounding it. Many of the most famous attractions in major cities are created and dedicated by the people that love art. Visiting a town or country has included visiting art filled attraction that would not be there if not for the people that have dedicated their lives to the art community.

Summer Educational Ideas for Parents to Bridge the Achievement Gap

One thing that I find troubling is the lack of access that is afforded to many parents with regards to educating their children. An ability to speak more than one language, a defined curriculum of math and science, as well as, an understanding of the workings of the world outside of American shores will give our children an advantage in the world that they will inherit as adults. Is this a secret to anyone? When we compare the idea-learning curriculum to the curriculum offered in many public schools, we can see a drastic difference. If you are reading this and wondering if I am bashing teachers or public schools then let me assure you, I am not. I am a former public school teacher and have worked in urban as well as suburban public schools in both New Jersey and Maryland. I am also a mother of four children.My son attended private school and for a time was home schooled. My two oldest daughters are both in public school. And as I child, I attended both Catholic school, and public school. The fact of the matter is the educational gap between the idea curriculum, and the general curriculum offered to our students, which on a large part is based on socioeconomic status. Many working parents simply cannot afford the language immersion classes, robotics training, or early chemist programs that are being offered in more affluent school districts. The solution cannot be a simple bashing secession, but a plural marriage between policy makers, teachers, and parents for the best practices for all American children. Until that agenda is realized and acted upon, the question for parents become what can I do now to bridge the gap. With summer, being just around the corner the ground is fertile to put plan to action with your child. With awareness, patience and a little ingenuity you can begin to incorporate the missing elements; thereby adding depth to your child’s education. Until, the country as a whole get together and decide that all children deserve the highest education possible we as parents must do our best to link the missing pieces. So if you are asking, “What are we going to do”, then read the Three S’s below.Start Small
Retrieve all of the class work, homework, tests and quizzes that your child completed throughout the course of the year. Have them re-do each assignment and practice each skill being addressed. Practice makes perfect, and repetition solidifies learning making each level of advancement easier to master as your child progresses.
Get a copy of the curriculum from your child’s classroom teacher or from the board of education. Most boards list the standards or skills covered by grade level on their website. Identify and review deficit areas.
Ask teacher for summer work or activities to reinforce skills. The purpose of this is not to lose learning skills while on vacation.Steer Ahead
Obtain a copy of high achieving private school and/or public school curriculums. Identify gaps between your child’s curriculum and those from the high achieving more affluent school districts.
Explore learned academic concepts and find relevance in your child’s everyday life. Math is used consistently in our lives For example, fractions in the kitchen when baking cookies, to algebra when calculating distance and time to grandma’s house.
Hire an older student within your own community to work with your child on particular subject content areas. Children have a way of communicating, that is unique to their generation and in some instances, may be able to teach academic skills in a way that is effective and easily understood. In doing so, your child not only gets a few extra skills under their belt, but a chance to see a positive model which reinforces the idea of, “If this person can do this, then so can I”.Soar High
Make use of the skills and talent within your community. Is there a songwriter, visual artist, or author in the neighborhood? What skills do you posses? Are you good at writing poems or stories? Are you able to sew or enjoy making fragrant soaps in your spare time? Coming together as a community to share skills and talents with the youth follows the adage; it takes a village to raise a child. In the process, our children develop skills beyond learning the ABC’s of traditional schooling. And we begin to not only shape their minds but moral values as well.
Research colleges within your city to identify continuing educational courses offered to young children during the summer vacation. There are many programs to supplement the general educational model. Find one that compliments the personality and ambitions of your child. The costs vary and it is very likely that you will find a course that is affordable and beneficial.
Take advantage of the summer months by exposing your child to different cultures. Visit neighborhoods with different ethnic groups than your own. If your primary mode of transportation is by car, venture out on a Saturday using public transportation. Go to cultural events or visit online websites that show the diversity in the world. These early glimpses of the world outside of a child’s everyday environment is a great first step at improving your child’s cultural intelligence, and can lead to him or her becoming more compassionate towards children of different ethnicities and/or children with special needs.

What Are “the Three T’s” of Property Investment and How Do They Make You Money?

The novice property investor will read up on all the best things to look for in an investment property, but rarely will the literature they read cover any of the truly crucial factors which need to be either identified or utilised before settling on the best property to purchase.Regardless of the type of property you decide to buy, be absolutely certain to give due respect and time to the astute use of “The 3 T’s”.What are the 3 T’s? They are the Tenant, the Taxman and Time, and should you neglect any one of them you stand to potentially lose a large portion of the returns you may have initially THOUGHT you were going to receive.O.K., everyone understands that you need a tenant to pay rent which helps you service any borrowings you may have needed to purchase the property in the first place. The important thing to remember in regard to tenants is NEVER to get greedy with the amount of rent you ask for the property. The logic here is this:- if you keep the rent well within market parameters, you will have many more prospective tenants wanting to live in your investment property and therefore have a much greater chance of acquiring a first class tenant who will tend to stay longer due to the “reasonable” rent being asked.I learnt many years ago from an extremely experienced and knowledgeable property manager that if you ask a bit less than market for your rent you will usually have a top class tenant who will maintain the property impeccably and hence add value to your property. This particular property manager said an overall 30% increase in return could be expected due to very little property maintenance being expected and also due to the property always being presented in a first class condition, thereby maintaining the property’s value over and above the average market increase.The Taxman is an entity which is rarely utilised to it’s highest and best use. Most novice investors will simply wait until the end of the financial year and let their tax agent or accountant crunch the numbers and claim only what you tell him/her what you have spent on the property by way of maintenance and interest on borrowings.One of the best things you can ever do to increase the returns from your investment property portfolio is to have a depreciation report completed by a qualified and competent construction cost expert or quantity surveyor. The initial cost will be returned many times over throughout the course of your property ownership. ESSENTIAL!The last of “the 3 T’s” is Time!I’m going to tell you something for nothing right here and I want you to “jack-hammer” it into your brain so you never forget it.Time is the factor which will return you the most and cost you the least! Now repeat after me…”time is the factor which will return you the most and cost you the least”. Well Done!So what does this then say to you? It says the sooner you begin to invest in property and the longer you hold your portfolio, the more income and capital growth you are going to make. Simple.So enter the arena now and buy as many properties as you can, while you can!

Six Questions to Ask Yourself Before You Hire a Property Manager

Being a landlord can be an agonizing and very rewarding business. I have been a landlord for over 14 years and currently have 55 rental units. I happen to love it, but it is not all roses all the time. Surprisingly, being a landlord is not that tough and you can manage many units without a lot of work, but you have to have your business set up correctly. You can scale your landlord business with or without professional property management. I happen to think property managers are expensive for what they do, but I also understand the tremendous value they can bring. There are many different reasons you should consider using a property manager, but before you make that decision consider these 6 questions:Where are your properties located? I have tried long distance management and can tell you it is tough. For it to work, you need great systems in place, which is not easy to set up when you are not on the ground. You will also most likely be relying, at least to some extent, on other people who are not licensed to do what you need them to do. This could include anything from signing a lease, to collecting rent, to fixing a faucet. In my business, I feel it is worth the money to hire property managers to manage all my out of state properties.How many properties do you have?You can manage a lot of properties with just a few hours of work a month. I manage all my in state properties myself because it is easy to do and is not worth it to me to pay someone else to do it. In fact, when you are getting started, I would strongly encourage you to manage your own properties. This will help you gain valuable experience, even if you want to eventually turn them over to a manger. To manage multiple properties, you need good systems. This includes a team to do your handy work (basic handyman, plumber, electrician, appliance repair, etc.) Obviously, this is all outsourced so you don’t need employees for this to work. You also need a great leasing agent. A leasing agent is someone who will typically give you advice on what needs to be done to get a unit ready and they will market, show, and negotiate your property. You can have them do the lease signing too, although I would recommend you do that so you get a chance to meet the tenant. Other systems you will need to implement include; rent collection, evictions, move ins and outs, maintenance requests, property improvements, enforcing the lease, transferring utilities, etc. I would consider a manager if I got so many properties that I felt overwhelmed, and in this case I would hand select properties to turn over.Are you organized?Here is where you have to be honest with yourself, which is not always easy to do. To manage multiple properties you really do need to be organized. You will have payments coming in for rent and going out for maintenance, mortgages, utilities and more. You will be getting maintenance requests, requests to add or remove people from the lease, request from government agencies, and requests from a slew of others. If you cannot stay on top of this, it is time to hire some professional help.Do you have a problem property?These are the worst and you won’t know you bought one until after you own it for a while. I have a few that give me trouble. Although I still manage them myself, those few problem properties take up more of my time than everything else I have combined. This is one time that I would consider a manager for a local property.Can you afford it?As I mentioned, property management can be expensive. You should expect to pay ½ or more of the first month’s rent in a leasing fee, 6-10 percent of the gross rent amount in a management fee, and additional costs for maintenance (this is usually marked up). I would try to look at this as if the property can afford it, not you. You really don’t want to get into the habit of feeding your investments, so if there is not enough cash flow from the property, then you might consider managing it yourself until you can get your expenses down or your rents up.Do you have the time?Because it only takes a handful of hours a month, my guess is you do have the time. The real question is, do you want to be managing the property with that time? As you get older and your goals change, it might make since to start to step away from your landlord business. Retiring is the obvious example. At that point in your life, you will most likely be deciding between professional management and liquidation.