Monday, April 30, 2007

Important Announcements from The Princeton Review

The Princeton Review Announces Changes to its Board of Directors

NEW YORK, April 27 /PRNewswire-FirstCall/ -- The Princeton Review (Nasdaq: REVU) today announced the election of two new independent members, David Lowenstein and Richard F. O'Donnell, to serve on its Board of Directors. They replace directors, Sheree Speakman and John Reid, who have tendered their resignations, effective May 13, 2007 and June 14, 2007, respectively. Ms. Speakman and Mr. Reid have resigned due to new employment that prohibits them from serving on the board of directors of a for-profit corporation. Ms. Speakman has accepted a position in evaluation for a large philanthropic organization, and Mr. Reid has accepted a position in the education department of a large state.

"We are pleased to welcome Dave and Rick to our Board of Directors," said John Katzman, Chief Executive Officer. "Their collective experience will provide valuable insight as we continue to transform the Company. We are grateful to both Sheree and John for their years of service. They have been trusted advisors during a time of growth and change at the Company, and we are fortunate to have benefited from their expert counsel and business acumen. We wish them all the best in their new endeavors."

Mr. Lowenstein, 45, has served as the President of Federated Network Technologies, a start-up software company, since August 2006. In December 1995, Mr. Lowenstein co-founded SOURCECORP, Incorporated (formerly known as F.Y.I. Incorporated), a business process outsourcing and consulting firm, and served as its Director, Executive Vice President Corporate Development, Chief Financial Officer and Treasurer from February 1995 to December 1997, its Director, Executive Vice President Corporate Development from December 1997 to December 1999 and its Director, Mergers and Acquisition Consultant from January 2000 to July 2006. From March 1990 through February 1995, Mr. Lowenstein worked at Laidlaw, Inc., supplier of environmental and bus transportation services, where he served as Vice President, Business Development (Laidlaw Waste Systems Inc.) from February 1994 until February 1995, as Director, Corporate Development from March 1993 until January 1994, as Manager, Corporate Development, from April 1991 until February 1993 and as Business Development Analyst from March 1990 until March 1991. Mr. Lowenstein received his Honors Bachelor of Arts from Sir Wilfred University and a Master of Science of Public Policy and Business Administration from Carnegie Mellon University.

Mr. O'Donnell, 36, has served as the President of The Fund for Colorado's Future, a nonprofit organization involved in the raising of the achievement levels of Colorado's students, since March 2000. Since January 2007, Mr. O'Donnell has served as an education consultant on education policy and reform for Donegal Enterprises LLC. From April 2005 to November 2006, Mr. O'Donnell was a candidate for the U.S. House of Representatives. From April 2004 until April 2006, he served as the Chief Executive Officer of the Colorado Department of Higher Education and from January 2003 until June 2004, he served as the Chief Executive Officer of the Colorado Department of Regulatory Agencies. From January 1999 until August 2003, Mr. O'Donnell served as the Director, Office Policy & Initiatives and the Deputy Chief of Staff in the Office of Governor Bill Owens of Colorado. Mr. O'Donnell received a Bachelor of Arts from The Colorado College.

About The Princeton Review

The Princeton Review (Nasdaq: REVU) is a pioneer in the world of education. Founded in 1981 and headquartered in New York City, the Company offers private tutoring and classroom and online test preparation to help students improve their scores in college and graduate school admissions tests. The Company's free website, , helps over half of university-bound students research, apply to, prepare for, and learn how to pay for their higher education, and helps hundreds of colleges and universities streamline their admissions and recruiting activities. In addition, The Princeton Review works with school districts around the U.S. to measurably strengthen students' academic skills by connecting ongoing assessment with professional development and instruction and by providing districts with college and career resources for both students and guidance counselors. The Company also authors more than 200 print and software titles on test preparation, college and graduate school selection and admissions, and related topics.

SOURCE The Princeton Review

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Sunday, April 29, 2007

Day Four - Art Chicago 2007 - Wrap-Up

Right under the wire and last, but not least for the day, a new artist for the Collection from Utah, Ian Strawn, with a piece that just stopped me cold in my rather hurried tracks called "The Eyes Have It." I couldn't agree more. Take a minute and click on the image to expand it and you will see what I mean.

Day Four - Part 2 - Art Chicago 2007

Well, it's been another busy day - Art Tour at the loft in the morning for several groups. Chris and Sheila Kennedy and some friends from Jackson Hole stopped by - not much photographic evidence on our side, but hopefully the Mart's professional photog got some good shots. Here's the best we came up with:

Chris noted that I seem to have an affinity for the female form. Not that I didn't notice him taking a few good ganders himself.

And the afternoon was spent grabbing a few more great pieces.

I have admired Till Freiwald's work for a while on a huge scale and was lucky enough to find a medium-sized piece at Jack Shainman Gallery which was really special. He uses no photographic assistance and paints for life in usually a dozen sittings.
This piece is entitled "J.S."

The shot above was my digital shot from the show. Even with the shadow from the shelf above, I think it better reflects the warmth of the piece than the gallery's reference shot below.

Bert Green from Los Angeles is another dealer with a great eye and I always like to see what new artists he has brought to the shows. He had two strong pieces from Scott Seidman (and a whole bunch more back at the gallery) and I bought one for the moment called "The Three Graces" and had the same issue with my shot and the gallery reference shot. I think that it must be that I'm adjusting for the light conditions on the spot. It just seems like the images are less flat and a lot warmer. In any case, here're both versions.

It's a close call because the gallery shot has more precise detail and better blues.

Here's Scott's Artist's Statement

New Art from a New Young Artist

This is a nice new piece by Deborah Hamon entitled: "He Loves Me, He Loves Me Not, He Loves Me". Website is or click on title to this post.

More News on Experiencia and Exchange City

There was a decent Press Release by Johnson & Wales about our new Exchange City site which will open in May on their campus. It was typically misleading and claimed a lot too much credit and scope for themselves, but it did finally mention who created and provided the program to them at the end. It's a source of some concern when they tell foundations and others that they have a "national" program and one that includes Earthworks which really isn't true, but we're working on trying to restrain their enthusiasm and their bullshit.

Exchange City is on the Rise in Rhode Island
New grants and donations get things off the ground

PROVIDENCE, R.I. – November 28, 2006 – A new city is on the rise in Rhode Island thanks in part to new grants and donations. Exchange City, an innovative interactive educational and entrepreneurial project for middle and high school students, housed on the campus of Johnson & Wales University, has received a $375,000 grant from The Champlin Foundations, and a contribution of $50,000 from the United Way of Rhode Island, according to Ken Fish, executive director.

"The Champlin Foundations enables us to build a promising future for the young people of Rhode Island," Fish says. "In addition, the generous donation from the United Way adds a valuable endorsement to what Exchange City represents. We are very grateful to both The Champlin Foundations and the United Way for their contributions."

"This is an exciting opportunity for young people in Rhode Island to apply classroom learnings in a practical forum," said Anthony Maione, president and chief executive officer of United Way of Rhode Island. "We're excited to be involved with training the leaders of tomorrow."

Exchange City is recognized nationally for its pioneering economics, government and civics programs that support a new vision of teaching and learning about American enterprise, entrepreneurism and government. Both a hands-on learning lab site and a curriculum that is used in the classroom and in the home, Exchange City combines a seven-week classroom experience with a state-of-the art interactive government and free enterprise laboratory. The Exchange City experience helps students learn and apply rigorous academic standards in math, civics, social studies, language arts and technology in real-life roles as citizens of their very own mini-town.

Keith Lang, executive director, The Champlin Foundations, notes that one of his organization's key focus areas is education. "We viewed Exchange City as a tremendous hands-on, educational experience for Rhode Island's young students. It's been proven in other parts of the country, and we thought it was time now for Rhode Island to have one of its own," he says. "We are pleased to support it and look forward to its opening."

In 2003, the Cody Foundation, a non-profit education foundation opened the first Exchange City in New England. Located in Portsmouth, N.H., more than 15,000 students participate annually.

In January 2006, Johnson & Wales' Providence Campus partnered with the Cody Foundation of Portsmouth, N.H., to establish the nationwide project in Rhode Island. The University has contributed $800,000 through renovations within its historic Paramount Building located at its Harborside Campus where Exchange City resides.

"Inherent to the mission of Exchange City is creating an opportunity for young people to acquire the skills they will need for successful careers," stated Dr. Irving Schneider, president of Johnson & Wales University's Providence campus. "A symbiotic relationship exists between Johnson & Wales, as America's Career University® and Rhode Island's Exchange City program. We are proud to be their host site, as we firmly believe in their mission, vision and goals. Additionally, we believe both organizations will benefit from the interaction of our programs."

The University is developing academic programs so that its students and faculty can both teach and train at the new site for which construction has already begun. The University will encourage its students, who are required to fulfill a community service program during their time with the University, to engage their time with Exchange City.

Exchange City will be housed on the second floor of the Paramount Building, a 200,000 square-foot building that recently underwent an extensive $8.5 million renovation. The building, as rich in history as it is in technology today, once housed Kaiser Shipbuilders, New England's center for the production of "Liberty" ships used during World War II. Today, it is home to the University's world-famous Culinary Archives & Museum, a state-of-the-art culinary library, and other University administrative offices. Exchange City will occupy 20,000 square feet of the building's second floor.

"Exchange City has a profound and life-long impact on students who participate in it. Our goal is to bring Exchange City and the EarthWorks science program to 100,000 middle and high school students in New England each year," Philip Ross, executive director, Exchange City, Portsmouth, says. "Johnson & Wales University has taken a visionary and leadership position in making sure that these two remarkable programs will be available to students throughout New England. With the support of The Champlin Foundations and the United Way, we can get things off the ground, and build a profitable foundation for entrepreneurship within Rhode Island."

Exchange City was created in 1980 in response to employers' and community leaders' concerns that students lacked the basic understanding of government, economics and skills needed for future roles in the workplace.

In 1994, the first Exchange City license was granted to Junior Achievement of Central Indiana, Inc. Since that date, more than 26 licenses have been granted in 16 states. There currently are 21 Exchange City programs operating nationally and serving approximately 150,000 young people.

Experiencia, Inc. owns and distributes the Exchange City program and its sister program, EarthWorks®. EarthWorks is a hands-on science program based on the same Immersive Learning™ model as Exchange City.

Exchange City is designed to reflect three proven themes of contemporary education: experiential learning, constructivism, and collaborative learning. The program models effective instructional practices and education reform for teachers, parents and students. This innovative learning model adds a layer of expectation and application not seen in other programs. It is indeed a unique and comprehensive design.

Johnson & Wales — America's Career University® — was founded in 1914. It is a private, nonprofit, accredited institution offering undergraduate and graduate degree programs in business, food service, education, hospitality and technology. Preparing students for successful careers is the cornerstone of the University's educational philosophy. A benchmark of the University has been its 29 consecutive year employment record — within 60 days of graduation, 98 percent of its students from the 50 states have jobs in their chosen career field. With an enrollment of more than 16,000 students, Johnson & Wales maintains campuses in Providence, R.I., North Miami, Fla., Denver, Colo., and Charlotte, N.C.

New Work from Roger Roundy

Roger Roundy


Day Four at Art Chicago 2007 - Sun Times Article

It was a doggie sorta day. The best image that I saw was by a Korean artist, Han Yeoung Ug, painted on aluminum and then the aluminum is distressed to make the dog "hairs" come alive. It just jumped off the wall.

And then I picked up a piece from Ann Nathan by Juan Perdiguero whose work I admired last year at the Fair but missed. It's another interesting process which I'm just starting to understand.


Who says art, politics don't mix?
April 29, 2007

BY KEVIN NANCE Critic-at-Large

When he bought the ailing Art Chicago art fair last year, Merchandise Mart president Chris Kennedy began his rebuilding effort by assembling a list of the top contemporary art collectors in America. He asked gallery owners to name their top 10 clients, only to find that he knew most of them -- not through the art world, to which he'd had little connection, but through Democratic Party fund-raising circles. "I'd raised enough money for Democrats in Chicago to recognize almost all of those names," recalls Kennedy, a member of the famous Democratic political family. "It was the strangest thing."

And if Kennedy didn't know some of the names, he soon found someone who did. He was at Chicago's East Bank Club, attending a fund raiser for his old friend Sheldon Whitehouse (a Democrat who was elected a few months later to the U.S. Senate from Rhode Island) when he ran into David Rosen, a Chicago consultant who had raised millions for Democratic candidates from Bill and Hillary Clinton to Rod Blagojevich. "I thought to myself, 'Wow -- this guy probably knows everybody I need to create a relationship with," Kennedy says. "And it has worked out very well."

So it has. As Merchandise Mart vice president Mark Falanga recalls it, Rosen looked at the list of collectors and said, "I know every one of these people."
It's no surprise, then, that Rosen was hired to head Art Chicago's VIP program, drawing on his network of wealthy Democratic campaign donors to draw deep-pocket collectors to Art Chicago, which continues at the Mart through Monday. He was also instrumental in convincing several top-tier Chicago collectors active in Democratic politics -- including Lewis and Susan Manilow, Howard Tullman and Jack Guthman -- to lobby skittish gallerists, collectors and arts institutions on the fair's behalf.

In an interview, Rosen down-plays the significance of his political network to his new job, emphasizing instead his skills as a VIP event planner. "We bring the buyer and seller together, not unlike what I did in political fund raising. No one gave money to President Clinton because I called them, and no one's going to come to Art Chicago because I called them. I just make it easy."

On the other hand, he allows, "A lot of people who give money to Democratic politics end up being contemporary art collectors. And the gallerists are overwhelmingly on the left."

'It's hard to deny'

All this points to a conclusion that many in the art world reached long ago but rarely speak of: Most high-end contemporary art collectors in America -- especially in the art centers of New York, Los Angeles and Chicago -- are Democrats. "It's hard to deny," says Natalie van Straaten, executive director of the Art Dealers Association of Chicago. "There isn't a lot of scientific evidence for it, and it sounds so stereotypical and a bit hard, but it's probably true."

There are exceptions, of course. The Chicago collector with the deepest pockets of all, billionaire hedge-fund manager Kenneth Griffin -- who bought a Jasper Johns painting for $80 million from Hollywood mogul David Geffen last year -- has donated primarily to Republican candidates, including President Bush. (Griffin and his wife told Portfolio magazine that they will be "involved" with U.S. Sen. Barack Obama's presidential campaign, although to what extent was unclear.)

The Griffins aside, though, the top dozen or so contemporary art collectors in Chicago have been prominent supporters of Democratic candidates, especially in presidential campaigns. The Manilows have been major donors to the Clintons and Al Gore, while Guthman championed Richard Gephardt. And led by Penny Pritzker, Obama's fund-raising chair and an art-world maven in her own right, several top local collectors have been key contributors to the senator's campaign war chest."If you look at who raised all the early money for Barack, they're all coming on Thursday night," Kennedy says of Art Chicago's opening-night preview party."If I were running someone's campaign, I would just go from art show to art show and see all my donors."

'Ahead of the curve'

What is it about affiliation with the Democratic Party that correlates to a tendency to buy contemporary art -- as opposed to, say, older work by deceased artists? "A fair portion of contemporary art is ahead of the curve in dealing with dissatisfaction with the social condition," says former Chicago art dealer Paul Klein."I think Democrats are empathic with that."

Guthman, a Chicago attorney who has amassed a large contemporary art collection over the years, agrees."I like to think it's that Democrats look for new ideas, both in their candidates and in the art world. I think we're open to the voices of new artists, who often make political art that takes issue with the status quo."

And Democrats may be more comfortable than Republicans in buying art that hasn't been pre-validated by galleries and museums, Tullman says."Some collectors prefer auctions, safe art that's been vetted, and then there are leading-edge collectors who are dealing with living, young artists who are up-and-coming, which I think is a liberal Democratic tendency. I think when you buy old dead artists, you're not helping anybody, except maybe some gallery. When you buy from a young artist, it's a kind of support system."

A quarter-century ago, he recalls, a young artist delivered a painting to his home."She was spraying the painting, and I asked her if she was using a last fixative. She said no, she was spraying Raid to get the termites and roaches out."No Republican collector, Tullman's hearty laughter implies, would be caught dead buying a painting that needed fumigation.

'We don't talk about politics'

It's a tricky if not-quite-taboo subject in the art world, especially for gallerists. Some top dealers openly support Democratic candidates; some have been known to hold fund-raising events for Democrats in their galleries.

Other dealers tend to be more circumspect."We usually don't talk about politics, especially if they aren't close clients, but sooner or later they get around to dropping a code word that you pick up on," says Thomas McCormick, a Democrat whose West Loop gallery serves many wealthy clients."And they're rarely Republicans."Klein recalls committing a serious faux pas with a collector."I made a mistake, assuming he was a Democrat, only to watch his body language when I said something about the current occupant of the White House. When I watched him cringe, I knew that I'd erred."

The Mart's use of Democratic Party networks to attract collectors even strikes McCormick as running the risk of alienating some Republican collectors. "Certainly within the art world, the more cutting-edge, maybe more difficult work is more heavily collected by liberal people, but I don't want to leave anybody out of the equation," he says."There are a lot of wealthy conservative people who may be Republicans who also have beautiful art in their houses. It may be more conservative -- an Impressionist painting or even a Picasso, which is pretty conservative in this day and age -- but does that mean they aren't just as vital to the art world? They can sit there with their Wine Spectator and their Rolls Royce in the driveway and their Picasso on the wall -- who cares?"

On the other hand, McCormick says with a sly grin, "Ann Coulter probably has a lousy art collection."

Friday, April 27, 2007

Day Three of Art Chicago 2007

I can honestly say that I don't think there was a more striking or beautiful painting in the entire show than this amazing portrait of Grace Kelly. It's painted by Nicole Hayden and it's called: "I Wish I Could Quit You". Once again Julie Baker comes up with some really exciting new art. It's really great that she's back in Chicago and at the show.

Chris Kennedy's Art Chicago Speech - 2007

I have now heard Chris deliver this speech about the importance of contemporary art to the City of Chicago and the Mart's heroic efforts to save and rebuild the Art Chicago franchise and I think it's one of the most compelling presentations I have ever heard. I decided to add it to the blog in order to share it with lots of folks who haven't had a chance to see it. I don't think Chris will mind.

Here's the link. It's a long speech but it's worth the time to watch it. You can also click on the title to this post and it will take you there.

Day Two of Art Chicago 2007

Big Day of Installs and Arrivals.

Terri Thomas and her husband from Austin,Texas came by the loft to install her painting called "Twin/Singleton". If the woman in the painting looks vaguely familiar, I'm sure you can figure it out.

In addition, John Jacobsmeyer also stopped by to unpack and install his great big piece called "I'll Have What She's Having" and we had a chance to meet and spend some time getting caught up. John said it was like Old Home Week seeing the works of so many of his friends and other artists whose work he has admired.

And the huge Wanker piece finally arrived from Germany and looks even better than I remembered. It's hard to appreciate the scale even in this photo because the loft ceilings are so high, but it's about 86 inches high and about 60 inches wide.

Events at Experiencia for Money Smart Week

Chicago Parent and Money Smart Week Events


Is your kid money smart yet?
By Susan Beacham - 4/20/2007

When it comes to raising money smart kids, we parents need all the help we can get. Faced as we are with the overwhelming consumer messages that vie for our kids’ attention and a national culture that yells "spend, spend, spend," it can be tough to get kids to hear our message that they can do more with money than simply spend it.

Once a year, we get that help from a variety of groups—ranging from the Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago to local economic education groups. Those groups come together to offer a week’s worth of programs to help make us and our kids money smart.

Money Smart Week—April 30 through May 5 this year—is one of the best and most creative educational opportunities available to help teach kids about money. The programs are taught by economic experts at sites around the city and suburbs. Best of all, many of the events are free.

Among the best free events for kids:

Money Smart Story Time and Craft. This event, sponsored by the Economic Awareness Council, Hinsdale Public Library and Park National Bank, uses storytelling to teach kids ages pre-K through second grade about earning and saving money. Kids will listen to money stories, sing a few money songs and even make their own penny jar. Parents will be provided with a list of tips about how to teach their kids to be money smart. 1-2 p.m. May 5 at the Hinsdale Public Library, 20 E. Maple St., Hinsdale.

Keep It Safe: Money Smart Investigations. This event is sponsored by the Midwest Bank, the Museum of Science and Industry and the Economic Awareness Council, a Chicago-based nonprofit that provides economic and financial education to families and children. An interactive booth for kids ages pre-K through eighth grade will feature lessons about keeping money safe. With identity theft on the rise, it’s never too early to teach kids these skills. Fun activities include using a magnifying glass to get a closer look at the changes that have been made in our American currency. Booths will be open from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. throughout the week inside the Museum of Science and Industry for paying museum-goers. On May 5, the booths move outside to the front lawn—and are free—from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. as part of the Mayor’s Kids and Kites Festival. The Museum of Science and Industry is located at 57th Street and Lake Shore Drive, Chicago.

Exchange City. Exchange City is a terrific concept for teaching kids about business that was unveiled during last year’s Money Smart Week. It will host two kid-focused events, one to teach kids ages 7-12 the basics of personal finance and the other, aimed at 8- to 14-year-olds, will offer more advanced skills.

Exchange City is a concept pioneered by Chicago-based company Experiencia. It offers a 40-hour curriculum to schoolteachers and then allows kids to spend a day running the businesses, media and political operations of the mini city.

The workshop, aimed at 7- to 12-year-olds, will teach kids how to set short- and long-term money goals and teach them they have four choices for every dollar they have: save, spend, donate or invest. Regular readers will recognize that as my mantra. Because LaSalle Bank and I agree on this concept, the bank, a sponsor of this event, will be providing one of my Money Savvy Pig savings banks to each child age 7-12 who attends the workshop. (I invented the bank, which has four slots, not just one, so kids can see how their money choices add up. I came up with the idea after spending several years teaching money skills to elementary school students.) This workshop is scheduled for 6-7:30 p.m. May 3.

The workshop aimed at 8- to 14-year-olds will offer more information about basic personal finance, including teaching kids how to write checks and how to create and keep a budget. This workshop is scheduled for 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. May 2.

A tour of Exchange City and its companion earth sciences education program, EarthWorks, is included in both programs. Both events will be held at Exchange City, 770 N. Halsted St., Chicago. Enter on Chicago Avenue. Free parking is available across the street. Advanced registration is recommended. Call Jannette Rho at (312) 733-5400 to register.

These are but a small sampling of the many quality events that are taking place during Money Smart Week. For more information on the full week’s worth of programs aimed at adults and kids, visit the Money Smart Week Web site calendar at

Thursday, April 26, 2007

Day One of Art Chicago 2007 - Cindy Wright

Pleasantly surprised to see a LOT of great work at the various galleries. Also great to see a lot of old friends and dealers who have been at the Fair for years and years. There's a real excitement and an appreciation of just how much the Mart guys have done to pull this off and present a very impressive show.

I have been waiting almost a year for a great Cindy Wright piece that wasn't one of her food studies. Mark Moore who is a real businessman finally found me one that I think is extraordinary. It's called "Sweet Dreams" and it's another very large piece (about 70" square) which will require some heavy-duty swapping of work at the loft. But it's so strong that I really couldn't pass it up.

Chicago Sun-Times Article about the ART CHICAGO 2007 Comeback

Art Chicago's big comeback

April 26, 2007

BY KEVIN NANCE Critic-at-Large

Art Chicago was all but dead. After a slow, agonizing decline, the Windy City's once-great art fair stood on the brink of extinction a year ago when exhibitors arrived to find that the tent in which the fair was to be staged had neither walls nor a floor. Four days before opening night, Art Chicago's cash-strapped owner, Tom Blackman, placed a desperate call to the Merchandise Mart.

Mart president Chris Kennedy quickly agreed to host the fair that weekend, and crews worked around the clock to make it happen. Exhibitors, some of whom had come from as far as Europe, were dazed by the sudden turn of events. "They needed time to absorb the magnitude of the change," Kennedy recalls with a smile, "and we just needed them to start moving their crates."

The fair went off with hardly a hitch, drawing 21,600 people, and arts folk and civic leaders all over town heaved a sigh of relief. Says collector Jack Guthman, "Chris avoided having Chicago get a huge black eye."

And so Art Chicago lives on. It returns this weekend, like an art world Lazarus, as the centerpiece of an expanded lineup of events under the umbrella title of Artropolis.

But if resuscitating last year's fair was a minor miracle, Kennedy knew bringing it back to international prominence would require the local equivalent of the Manhattan Project. Deep-pocket collectors had largely abandoned the fair, jetting off to more glamorous shows in Miami, New York, London and Basel, Switzerland. Top gallery owners were beyond skittish; many had bailed long before the 2006 debacle. "It was terrible," Chicago's Rhona Hoffman says bluntly, "and I wanted nothing to do with it."

The Mart bought the fair from Blackman anyway. From Kennedy's point of view, allowing a major art fair to die would be a blow to the city's reputation and, specifically, to that of the Merchandise Mart, which hosts 70 trade shows a year. "It would have made it more difficult for us to compete with folks like Orlando or Las Vegas or Atlanta or L.A.," he says, "which was something we could not countenance."

A rooster called Chicago

In the next weeks and months, Kennedy and his staff set about planning a comeback for the fair.

The first order of business was to get the endorsement of the Art Dealers Association of Chicago, whose members were divided into three camps. "One camp wanted to continue Art Chicago and wanted to do it here," Mart vice president Mark Falanga recalls. "A second group wanted to align themselves with another show producer. And the third group just wanted to say forget it."

But the Mart team won the dealers over, then began reaching out to arts institutions, tourism officials and Mayor Daley to create a fair that would take advantage of the city's cultural amenities. "Coming out of the 2006 show, we had neither the great galleries nor the great collectors, and we needed both," Kennedy says. "Which would come first, the art or the collectors? It was the classic chicken-or-the-egg dilemma. We didn't have the chicken and we didn't have the egg, but we did have a rooster, and that rooster's name is Chicago."

To bring back elite gallerists, the Mart dispatched major Chicago collectors, including Lewis Manilow and Howard Tullman, to lobby on the fair's behalf. The Mart also hired David Rosen, a former fund-raiser for Democratic candidates from Bill and Hillary Clinton to Rod Blagojevich, to head the fair's VIP program, which will furnish high-rolling collectors with car service, theater tickets, passes to the East Bank Club and other perks.

But even as the Mart was courting the art world, it also laid the foundation for a more broad-based fair by creating Artropolis. The title encompasses five shows -- Art Chicago, the Bridge Art Fair, the Intuit Show of Folk and Outsider Art, the International Antiques Fair and the Artists Project, a show of unagented artists -- along with NewInSight, an exhibit of work by graduate students at the nation's top art programs. "We didn't want it to be focused just on the super-educated and elite," Kennedy says. "We wanted to make it more democratic, and that was our solution."

'There's a real buzz'

Will Art Chicago make good on its new lease on life, or will it return to the intensive care unit? The key element -- the list of exhibitors -- is markedly improved, with several top dealers (including Chicago's Hoffman and Richard Gray) making their first appearance in years.

"There's a real buzz," says Susanne Ghez, director of the Renaissance Society at the University of Chicago. "When I was in New York at the Armory Show, people were talking about Chicago again."

Still, several major gallerists and collectors remain skeptical. "I think it turned out fine, considering it's the first year, but a lot of people are still reluctant to come back," Hoffman says. "Some people don't want to be the first people to climb on board a new activity. They wait and see, and maybe take the second ride."

Nice Article in Madison Museum of Contemporary Art magazine about our Stonehouse and Clayton Donations

Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Nice Article on the Go Picnic Girls in the Spring Issue of Kellogg Alumni News

I'm proud to say that my former roommates at Kendall (and sometime students) continue to shine and that Go Picnic continues to thrive. I'm guessing that they will provide over 2000 meals at Art Chicago 2007 and that's just the start of a really exciting new relationship with the Merchandise Mart which is one of the largest and best trade show operators in the U.S.

Risk takers, value makers

With GoPicnic venture, Stamberger and Jelaca provide a quality update to the box lunch

Some see entrepreneurship as a way out of the corporate race — a means to control their destinies. For others, entrepreneurship seems less of a choice and more of a genetic predisposition to create and build their own enterprises.

Julia Stamberger '02, who began her first business before she could drive or vote, places herself squarely in the latter category.

At age 11, she observed kids at her Oklahoma junior high school peddling gum-filled suckers to classmates. Stamberger then sweet-talked her father into driving her across town to a discount warehouse so she could buy her product at a lower rate and undercut the competition.

"I seem to have very little risk aversion for [starting businesses]," Stamberger says. "You have to have so much confidence for this line of work or you would just get pummeled."

Stamberger's latest venture, with fellow Kellogg School grad Pam Volpe Jelaca '00, is GoPicnic, a line of shelf-stable, good-for-you boxed meals aimed at travelers and others who can't get to a restaurant or a kitchen. It's a concept Stamberger first honed during her previous position with United Airlines, where she helped the air carrier carve out a for-purchase meal option when declining fortunes forced it and other airlines to axe free onboard meals.

Stamberger quickly realized the economy of creating meals that would not go bad after a single day or week. She found higher-quality, natural ingredients often make for a product with a longer shelf life than food loaded with additives and high fructose corn syrup. That's particularly true when today's state-of-the-art vacuum packaging processes are employed.

"If you dumb down your ingredients they won't last as long," she says.
Together Stamberger and Jelaca scour specialty food shows for natural and organic products and packaging to preserve them. One box, dubbed "GoFish," is loaded with an albacore tuna steak, whole grain pasta and bean salad, hummus, baked pita chips and more.

Go Picnic Boxes and a Bottle of Wine were served to all galleries at Art Chicago 2007

As the alums have pursued their venture, the Kellogg School and its Larry and Carol Levy Institute for Entrepreneurial Practice have provided support and entrepreneurial advice. One Kellogg department even became a customer when it purchased meals for an event. Says Stamberger, a graduate of the One-Year MBA Program: "Though I was only at school for a short time, an ongoing relationship with professors has been invaluable."

The year-old company has already had success selling its products to major airlines, and soon plans to target hotels, coffee shops and corporate clients after test marketing is complete.

These days Jelaca, who places herself more in the "entrepreneur by choice" category, is becoming hooked on this new career: "I'd be hard-pressed to go back to corporate life," she says. "I've never had a better time. It's amazing being in control of our destinies."

— Kari Richardson

The MIND Institute Presentation in Chicago

At the request of Larry Costin and Rich Linting, I attended an interesting presentation at the Chicago Club (where I had to wear a jacket of all things)about the work of the MIND Institute which is expanding its work with schools in Chicago after some really impressive successes at a couple of schools here.

Rich Linting opened the presentation with some comments about the school (Huff Elementary) that he, his wife Ginny and his family were supporting in Chicago.

Ted Smith, Chairman of the MIND Institute, then presented an overview of the national success story of the various programs in math and music for K-5 students.

Based on GiGi - the official mascot of the program - each of the classes at Huff Elementary made Thank You GiGis for their visitors and sponsors.

The program concluded with comments and additional presentations from Garrett Seaman who is the Technology Director at the Huff school and John Sawyer who is a senior MIND Institute Account Executive.

Tuesday, April 24, 2007

Art Chicago 2007 - Let the Games Begin !

Trying to get a slight jump on the festivities, I had the opportunity to buy an amazing and huge new piece by John Jacobsmeyer called "I'll Have What She's Having" - a reference to the scene in When Harry Met Sally - redone in a quasi-Medieval style. Hopefully it will be installed by the artist for the VIP loft tours starting on Friday morning. The only question is what's going to have to move to make room for it. At 7 feet high and 8 feet wide, it's quite a statement.

Experiencia Staff Trains with the Boy Scouts

We had two of our crack staff professionals train with the Boy Scouts (in full dress uniforms no less) in order to be better prepared and certified for some of our camp and merit badge activities. Thanks to Marcy and Lisa for making the trip and surviving.

Monday, April 23, 2007

CPS Right Now ! Show Features Exchange City

Starting tonight on cable channel 49, the current edition of CPS Right Now! features a lengthy segment on Exchange City and also the 57th Street Science Fair which included Chris B and Lisa G as judges.

Here's the link for the show or click on the title above:

We had a great time with the crew and kids from the Ella Flagg Young Elementary School filming the show and the finished piece includes lengthy comments from Elaine , Barb and Richard Doermer who was instrumental in helping us get the support from the Union League Club Civic and Arts Foundation which enabled this whole project. Some pictures from the shoot including some of the "stars" of the show appear below:

Saturday, April 21, 2007

Mayor Daley Accepts the Key to Exchange City

The video is now available of this historic moment when Mayor Richard M. Daley accepted the Key to Exchange City.

We were really pleased and honored that the Mayor was able to join us and spend some time talking about education with a small group of friends and supporters of Exchange City.

You can click on the title above to see the video or cut and paste the link which appears below:

Art Chicago 2007 is Here and the City is Jumping

New Lory Lockwood Show in New Orleans at Soren Christensen

Friday, April 20, 2007

Some New Pictures of Visitors to Exchange City

We continue to have just a terrific time with young, excited students from all over the Chicagoland area running Exchange City. Here's some shots from last week.

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