Monday, December 29, 2014

BIG IDEAS for 2015 from 1871 CEO Howard Tullman - Blue Sky Originals

Emphasis on device-charging; outsourcing customer service to customers


   Howard Tullman, CEO, 1871 

Tullman divided the Big Ideas question into two categories: products and services.

This may be the year that battery makers solve the problem of lightweight long-lasting batteries. If it isn’t, the growing array of technology that relies on battery power will be in trouble, Tullman said.

Manufacturers of wearable devices are finding that users abandon them quickly if battery recharging is problematic, Tullman said. One option may be refinement of kinetic charging devices that use motion to generate power.

“We could create portable chargers and we’ll be in a position where this stuff never goes out of style,” he said.

As for services, Tullman sees companies continuing their effort to delegate more service tasks to customers themselves.

“We’re only beginning to understand how much of the work of every transaction is going to be imposed on the customer,” he said. “If they do it right, we really appreciate it. If they do it wrong, we get very frustrated.”

Tullman said Amazon is “way on top of this” and suggested that consumers will move toward automating their regular, commodity-type purchases — soap, detergent, etc. — which will change the way in-store retail outlets look.

Saturday, December 27, 2014

Dr. Hal M. Lewis Reflects on What It Means to Spend Hanukkah at the White House

Reflections on Hanukkah at the White House

Rabbi Buchdahl and the Obamas
Dr. Hal M. Lewis Reflects on 
What It Means to Spend 
Hanukkah at the White House
When the invitation to attend the White House Hanukkah Party arrived in my inbox, I suspected one of my more tech-savvy friends was playing a joke. But the invitation was real and what I had at first believed to be a well-played deception turned out to be one of my life’s truly special moments.
On Wednesday, December 17, 2014, the second night of Hanukkah, my wife Mary and I had the great honor of attending the White House reception hosted by President and Mrs. Obama.
Hal and Mary Lewis at White HouseIt is difficult to describe the experience, which by almost every measure would have, under other circumstances, grated on my nerves or worse: hundreds of people, many of whom are too self-referential for my taste, long lines in the freezing cold to get through security (no TSA precheck at the White House), too much pushing at the buffet table, and only blended whisky at the bar. And yet, having had the experience, I cannot think of any place I would have preferred to be.

Throughout the evening, I kept thinking of my parents, of blessed memory, who surely would have gotten a lot of mileage out of telling people that their son had been invited to the White House. But beyond that, my father, an interior decorator, would have treasured the pure aesthetic of the historic White House rooms, bedecked in full holiday splendor. And my mom, from whom I inherited a love of logistics, orchestration, and attention to detail (to say nothing of American politics) would have marveled at the organization of the evening. These people know how to throw a party! From the honor guards to the a cappella choirs, from the catering staff to the folks handling the coat check, no evidence of government inefficiency was on view that night.

White House chandelierThe ceremony itself moved me in ways I did not expect. Perhaps it was the confluence of events from earlier that day. To be at the White House anytime is a gift. To be at the White House Hanukkah Party with the President, on the very day he announced the release of Alan Gross after five years in Cuban captivity, was an emotional experience beyond words.
What touched me about the ceremony, however, went far beyond the news. The President, accompanied by a radiant First Lady, spoke briefly about the Hanukkah story before introducing Rabbi Angela Buchdahl to light the candles. Rabbi Buchdahl, whose work I have long admired, was accompanied by Dr. Adam Levine, a physician, recently returned from treating Ebola patients in Liberia, as well as Ataklit Tesfaye, a 23-year-old Israeli immigrant from Ethiopia. As the first Asian-American rabbi, Buchdahl alluded to what many of us were thinking. Among the nissim(miracles) to be celebrated this Hanukkah, surely a United States in which an African-American President hosts a strictly kosher reception for Jews from across the ideological spectrum, featuring a candle-lighting ceremony with an Asian-American woman rabbi, a young Israeli from Ethiopia, and a life-saving doctor from Rhode Island, is at the top of anyone’s list. I am not embarrassed to confess I fought back tears as we chanted the brahot(blessings). We were, at least for that brief moment, one enormously diverse, yet wholly (holy?) unified kehilla (community).
Rest assured however, the evening was not only about peak spiritual moments. There was, at least for me, more than a bit of star-gazing as well. Though I missed Gwyneth Paltrow, who was there but apparently didn’t think it was important enough to meet the Spertus President, I had several encounters worth sharing.
Because Mary and I were fortunate to be very close to the podium, I was able to shake hands with the President during his quick foray along the “rope line.” In a comment I rehearsed for days leading up to the event, I told him that we love him in Chicago. (I know it’s not universally true, but I didn’t think it was my place to ruin the festive mood.) He responded by saying that I should “tell all the folks back home I say hi.” When the President tells you to do something, you don’t mess around. So, Chicago, the President says, “Hi.”
Hal Lewis with Debbie Wasserman SchultzI met Florida Congresswoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz, Chair of the Democratic National Committee. She was at the White House event and hosted an “after party” at the Library of Congress. We found her to be gracious and extremely personable, and though clearly a politician, she impressed us with her warmth.
Hal with Emmy Rossum
Then, thanks to Mary, I met one of my favorite actresses — Emmy Rossum, Fiona on Shameless and Christine in Phantom of the Opera. For years I have been more than a bit gaga over her. Though I was talking to Emmy at the dessert table, it wasn't until Mary mouthed F-I-O-N-A that I realized who she was. I’m sure I’m not the first aging Jewish Studies professor to fall apart in her presence. To her credit, she didn’t seem to mind. She was lovely and appeared to be quite amused by my tongue-tied blathering.
I also saw several friends of Spertus, including Spertus Alumnus Rabbi Capers Funnye, a cousin of Michelle Obama’s.
As the evening drew to a close, I found myself — the guy who usually can’t wait to leave a party — wishing I could hang out longer. Perhaps it was the headiness of the evening. (Or perhaps it was that this year’s White House Hanukkah Party fell on the eve of our 37th wedding anniversary, and with all the excitement I forgot to pick up a card. Somehow it didn’t seem to bother Mrs. Lewis this year—one more Hanukkah miracle to celebrate. Thank you, Mr. President. Thank you, Mrs. Obama.)
In the days since my evening at the Obama’s, I have found myself returning to one thought above all else. (Okay, if I’m being honest, two thoughts. But you don’t really need to hear about how Emmy Rossum is even more gorgeous in person than on television.) The story of Hanukkah, once you get past the rabbinic mythos about long-lasting oil and the like, is at its heart, a story about pride in identity. The real enemies of the Maccabees were not the Greeks, but the Hellenized Jews who sought desperately to blend in, to become like the dominant society around them. They shunned their particularism and the distinctive religious practices, which in many ways served to separate them from others.
This is a story that has repeated itself throughout history, even in America. That night at the White House the room was filled with the children and grandchildren of Jews who came to this country believing the best way to Americanize was to distance themselves from anything “too Jewish.” They changed their names, cried shah shtill, and ceased many traditional practices in order to become part of the larger American melting pot. Today, however, we know a different way. Today in contemporary America, even amidst the Christmas trees and ornamentation of the White House, proud Jews, engaged Jews, committed Jews, Jews who reject the proposition that to be fully American is to reject Jewishness, gather in the “People’s House” every year at the invitation of presidents from both political parties, to celebrate with pride and joy. Today in the United States the Maccabees have won again.
Monday, December 22, 2014


At the evening reception, guests were welcomed by the sounds of the Penn Shabbatones, a Jewish a cappella group from the University of Pennsylvania.
The President and Mrs. Obama joined guests in the Grand Foyer for remarks and the candle lighting.

In his remarks, President Obama introduced the two candlelighters: Dr. Adam Levine, recently returned from helping to fight Ebola in Liberia, and Atakalit Tesfaye, a graduate of the Yemin Orde Jewish youth village near Haifa. Yemin Orde was founded in 1953 to provide a safe haven to Holocaust orphans and children who immigrated to Israel in the 1950s. Today, Yemin Orde is home to over 400 children from around the world, including Ethiopia, Iran, India, Yemen, Eastern Europe, and South America.
The President said, "Yemin Orde is just one village. But the story of Hanukkah teaches us that there's no such thing as a futile act of courage, or a small act of faith. One doctor can save a life. One school can help a child. That life, that child may change a village. One person can be the spark that changes the world."


The menorah was made by the children of Yemin Orde. The houses that hold the candles represent the diverse Jewish ancestry of Yemin Orde's residents. The shamash is made of iron and shaped like a cherub from the Tabernacle. The base of the menorah bears an inscription from Isaiah 60:4: "Lift up your eyes all around, and see; they all gather together…."

Photo top left: Michael Obama, Rabbi Angela Buchdahl, and President Obama, courtesy the Washington Post | Photo top right, Dr. Adam Levine and Atakalit Tesfaye, courtesy of AP. | Photo with chandelier courtesy of the White House. 
All other photos courtesy Hal and Mary Lewis and their cell phones: Hal and Mary Lewis at the White House | Hal Lewis with Florida Congresswoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz | Hal with actresses Emmy Rossum | Hal with Rabbi Capers Funnye.

1871 CEO Howard Tullman Joins Shawn Mobley on January 20th for Opening One-2-One Panel at 13th Annual CRE Forecast Conference

Education Thought Leaders Gather at 2015 International CES to Showcase EdTech

Education Thought Leaders Gather at 2015 International CES to Showcase EdTech

TransformingEDU, Produced by Living in Digital Times, Examines Emerging Technologies Impacting Pre-K through 20 Education

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New hardware, from tablets to brain sensing software and smart pens to LCD projectors, have changed the landscape of education.
New York, NY (PRWEB) December 01, 2014
Robotics, adaptive platforms, sensors, laboratories, incubators, Big Data, mobility, and augmented reality: no, this isn’t a futuristic industrial setting, but rather the technologies shaping the high-tech classrooms of today. TransformingEDU, presented by Living in Digital Times at 2015 International CES®, brings together the leading experts, educators, entrepreneurs and investors to share the latest advances and changes taking place in pre-K through 20 education. The full day conference, sponsored by McGraw-Hill Education, will take place on January 8, 2015 in Las Vegas (8:30am – 5:00pm in the Venetian, Level 2, Bellini 2006).
The latest products in education technology can also be seen at the TransformingEDU marketplace exhibits, January 6th through the 9th at the Sands Expo and Convention Center in Las Vegas.
“CES provides a great backdrop for us to explore what it means to be a student in digital times.” said Robin Raskin, founder and president of Living in Digital Times. “New hardware, from tablets to brain sensing software and smart pens to LCD projectors, have changed the landscape of education. And new software that provides long distance instruction, collaboration and access to shared tools and ideas have jump started an educational renaissance.”
“From pre-K to higher education to lifelong learning, billions of dollars are being spent both by schools and by consumers, making education one of the most robust markets for development,” said Kerry Goldstein, producer of the TransformingEDU Summit. “CES is a unique place to come see the latest in ed tech innovation.”
TransformingEDU informative sessions focus on demonstrating and discussing the emerging technologies impacting pre-K through 20 education for students, educators, administrators and parents.
Highlights include: 
  •     Mobility, Open Platforms and Measurable Outcomes with David Levin, president and CEO of McGraw-Hill Education.
  •     Online Education Report Card from MOOC innovators and online learning sector visionaries like Ryan Craig of University Ventures.
  •     Meet the Pioneers debuting new ed-tech thinking by Anne Vance, professor at Austin Community College; Peter Smith, president of Open College by Kaplan University; Heather Hiles, president of Pathbrite; and Gregor Freund, founder of Versal.
  •     Can We Remove Barriers and Improve Student Outcomes?: College Board’s senior vice president of AP and Instruction, Trevor Packer, shows us how.
  •     Technology Incubators Hit the Ed Sector thanks to the support from Devry Online Services’ President Eric Dirst and 1871’s CEO Howard Tullman.
For updates on the intersection of technology and education, follow TransformingEDU on Twitter at@Transform_EDU, “like” TransformingEDU on Facebook and follow the hashtag #TransformEduCES.
About Living in Digital Times
Founded by veteran technology journalist Robin Raskin, Living in Digital Times brings together the most knowledgeable leaders and the latest innovations impacting both technology and lifestyle. It helps companies identify and act on emerging trends, create compelling company narratives, and do better business through strong network connections. Living in Digital Times produces technology conferences, exhibits and events at the International CES and other locations throughout the year by lifestyle verticals. Core brands include Digital Health Summit, Fitness Tech Summit, Lifelong Tech, Kids@Play Summit, Family Tech Summit, TransformingEDU, MommyTech TV, Wearables and FashionWare runway show, Mobile Apps Showdown, Last Gadget Standing, Battle of the Bands, and the KAPi Awards. The company also works with various foundations and manages the Appreneur Scholar awards program for budding mobile entrepreneurs. For more information, visit and keep up with our latest news on Twitter, LinkedIn and Facebook.
About CES
The International CES is the world’s gathering place for all who thrive on the business of consumer technologies. It has served as the proving ground for innovators and breakthrough technologies for more than 40 years—the global stage where next-generation innovations are introduced to the marketplace. As the largest hands-on event of its kind, CES features all aspects of the industry. And because it is owned and produced by the Consumer Electronics Association (CEA), the technology trade association representing the $211 billion U.S. consumer electronics industry, it attracts the world’s business leaders and pioneering thinkers to a forum where the industry’s most relevant issues are addressed. Follow CES online at and through social media:

New Art from Erica Ciganek for the Tullman Collection



The Artist's Gaze: Erica Elan Ciganek

Interview with Erica Elan Ciganek
The Artist's Gaze
Curated by Victoria Selbach
Sirona Fine Art Gallery
Erica Elan Ciganek is a painter living and working in Chicago.  Erica graduated from North Park University (class of 2013) where she majored in Art as well as Conflict Transformation.  She primarily works with oil paint, but explores with drawing, writing music, and photography.  Her work currently explores what it means to truly see people and the transformative power of doing so.
Erica Elan Ciganek is a painter living and working in Chicago.  Erica graduated from North Park University (class of 2013) where she majored in Art as well as Conflict Transformation.  She primarily works with oil paint, but explores with drawing, writing music, and photography.  Her work currently explores what it means to truly see people and the transformative power of doing so. 
What compels you to the specific women you choose to paint?
I choose to paint women who I know in some way.  It is important to me that I be familiar with my subjects on a relational level prior to painting them, this impacts the process significantly.  I am not merely contemplating a visual subject but an emotional and spiritual human.

When do you know you have made a significant connection to your subject and what does that feel or look like from your perspective?
There is a moment in each painting where something is happening that feels it is beyond my control.  That all of the sudden something has come into being that I could not have predicted or chosen, but has presented itself as existing. It is in that shift that I feel like the deep observation of someone has allowed me to connect with them in a mysterious way.  

Tell us about a strong reaction you have received to your work and the impact you sense it has made on the subject, viewer or the greater cultural landscape.
It was during the painting of "Wait" that someone observed and said it offered the experience of being alone with someone.  This experience of course is unattainable, but moved me that they would suggest that.  I had recently begun to focus on painting the subjects with their eyes closed due to it seeming less confrontational and more invitational.  This reaction was powerful and encouraging because it spoke of a moment of intimacy that I hope allows us to engage people on a deeper level.  

What is it about your personal journey that has brought your gaze to focus so deeply on women.
I have grown up around very strong women who have mentored, empowered, and taught in countless ways.  I predominantly paint women because of the deep impact they have in my life, as well as a desire to continue to learn to truly see women in a culture that has skewed lenses and expectations of doing so.  

Why this visual dialogue? What do you hope to accomplish through your work?
I hope to emphasize the transformational power of seeing someone.  I also hope to pursue humility toward the subject. 

How does your subject make a change in your artist's gaze?
I desire for the subject to determine the piece that emerges.  The more I can intimately look at the colors and shapes and movements of the skin, folds, or shifts in tone, I can allow the subject to speak.  The subject creates mystery for me in the entire process of painting.  

Tell us about your current series or work and how it may be different from the work submitted for the show.
I am currently exploring the use of more water obscuring the face in portraits paired with a darker ambiguous background.

Thursday, December 25, 2014

The Artist's Gaze curated by Victoria Selbach

The Artist's Gaze curated by Victoria Selbach
Publication and Gallery Event February 21, 2015

Paintings by Ryan Shultz, Daliah Ammar, Krista Smith, and Susannah Martin
Paintings by Ryan Shultz, Daliah Ammar, Krista Smith, and Susannah Martin

“I guess a collector starts to grow up when he finally learns to appreciate paintings he can't own.”

This has always been one of my favorite statements for a variety of reasons. First, while I have certainly aged over the last 45 years of collecting, I’m not sure that I have really grown up or matured because I still find such total – almost childlike - delight in discovering an exciting new work by an unknown young artist and also in seeing the growth and continued development of the artists I have been privileged to work with over so many years. I still break into a sweat and the feeling is totally visceral when I happen upon a work that just takes my breath away. If losing that kind of connection or passion is a part of growing up, then I’m totally with Peter Pan and I’m never going there. But, at the same time, as I reviewed the list of participating artists in this project, and found myself bemoaning my stupidity in not already owning examples of some of their works – Aleah Chapin and Susannah Martin come especially to mind – I bit my tongue and reminded myself that the most important consideration is not what’s on my walls, but what’s out there for the world to appreciate and enjoy. And that’s a blessing for all of us – collectors – creators – and civilians as well. So I will try to be a good sport and soldier on. The fact that I do have wonderful pieces by so many of the artists in the show – many of whom Didi brought to my attention – is only the smallest solace.

- Howard Tullman December 15, 2014

Seeing Women in the Twenty-first Century 

Hollis Dunlap
Matthew Cherry
Alyssa Monks

Mary Beth McKenzie
Bernardo Torrens
Park Hyun Jin
Stephen Wright

Patrick Earl Hammie
Tim Okamura
Jason Bard Yarmosky
Michelle Doll
Susannah Martin
Daniel Maidman
Stephen Early
Dorielle Caimi
Lauren Levato Coyne
Christian Johnson
Erin Anderson
Aleah Chapin
Mia Bergeron
Maria Kreyn
Jeff Faerber
Krista Louise Smith
Melinda Whitmore
Brian Booth Craig

Reuben Negron
Will Kurtz
Victoria Selbach

Cesar Santos
Daliah Ammar
Ryan Shultz
Nadine Robbins

Alison Lambert
Delita  Martin
Richard Thomas Scott
Wesley Wofford
Cindy Bernhard
Nick Ward
Erica Elan Ciganek
Judith Peck
Jennifer Balkan
Jamie Valero
Mark Horst

Curator: Victoria Selbach
Deadline: November 15, 2014
Publication: February 2015
Accompanying Exhibition: Sirona Fine Art Show
Dates: February 21 to March 22, 2015

Opening Reception: February 21, 2015

Each artist gazes through a complex prism of contemporary thought and imagery. Although we ride one torrent of zeitgeist each view is unique and shaded by thoughts and choices solely our own. What we choose to see and what we lay on canvas tells as much about ourselves as the muse. What does this work capture about the artist we are and the women we choose to see? How will history view the image of women we propel forward? This survey will be assembled from both male and female painters who through their unique gaze capture the complexity of contemporary women in their work. This publication will be accompanied by an exhibition at Sirona Fine Art Gallery.

Sirona Fine Art
Sirona Fine Art is a showcase for the work of artists who skillfully present their ideas and personalities with a masterly hand that fully resonates with the modernist landscape in which their work is viewed. The 6000 sq ft. gallery can accommodate oversized pieces as well as small to medium works so there are no size restrictions on the paintings you may submit. Work sold at Sirona Fine Art will be at a 50/50 gallery/artist split based on your list price. Additional information regarding logistics will be forwarded to those artists with work accepted into the publication. For more information about Sirona Fine Art
visit or sironafineart.

Questions or enquiries regarding show and publication details should go through PoetsArtists. Email didimenendez at
Victoria Selbach, as a painter of women, is fascinated by the minds behind the chosen visual dialogue of her contemporaries. She seeks to satisfy her continuing curiosity through the discovery of new works and perspectives while assembling the pieces for this publication and exhibition. Selbach’s work has shown in museums and collections across the country including the Heckscher Museum of Art, The Butler Institute of American Art and the Tullman Art Collection. Her work is presently available through Sirona Fine Art in Florida and Dacia Gallery in New York City. Victoria Selbach welcomes visits to her studio in New York and presents an archive of her work for review at

Video of Thea Singing Jerusalem of Gold

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