Gratitude and Abundance – Playing for Change

Replaying a Classic

[Editor’s Note:] Mid-summer is a good time to bring back posts from the vault. This post is a classic because the message is as timeless as the song shown here. This video was the first created by Playing for Change organization. The fact it has 90,269,841 views on YouTube attests to its relevance and timelessness.

I have watched this replay dozens of times. It never fails to move me in the way that only art can. That is what art is supposed to do. Touch us in some meaningful way. When you put it together with a larger mission for asking for change and supporting diversity and tolerance, it’s just hard to resist.

With so much terrible news coming in seemingly without end, it’s a good time to take a minute to enjoy the soulfulness of this song and get in touch with your humanity.

Below the divider is the post from seven years ago. Some things have changed.  For instance, I finally was able to leave my job and work full-time on my art marketing and publishing career and Geico still makes funny commercials. What has changed is our world feels more dangerous and the temptation to slide into fear, anger, and divisiveness is greater. Those feelings have never been higher or more present in my lifetime.

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Just as in 2009, I’m thankful for the videos produced by Playing for Change. I’m equally thankful for the wonderful musicians worldwide who share a common bond that transcends borders, religion, nationalities and all the other things that drive us apart. Listening to them helps me reduce my anxiety about current events and to remind me why love, acceptance, and tolerance are the keys to a better future.

Like me, I’m sure you are abundantly grateful to have the talent to make something from your imagination, the drive to find others to appreciate it and the freedom to pursue both in a democracy designed to protect your rights and encourage the best from you.

Turn it up and enjoy!

When my brother sent me the link to the video above, I had to watch it several times as once was not enough. It put me in touch with so many thoughts and feelings as it reminded me how we all need someone to stand by us, how small and intertwined our world is, and how influential artists, even unsung heroes playing for change, can make an impact on our lives. It also is a powerful example of how the Internet and technology add dimension to our lives. Thanks to Jimmy for sending this video my way.

There can be lots to like about a day job

Many of you reading this are like me. That is, you may toil away at another job that gives you sustenance, stability and benefits so you can also work away at creating art, or in my case, creating a blog about the art business. While I can’t speak for you, I don’t mind saying I enjoy my day gig and get more from it than just a paycheck and benefits.

I work in sales and support for the world’s largest domain registrar. I rarely mention it here because it is not germane to thoughts on the business of art. Plus, no mention means no obligatory statement that my views posted here are my own. With a growing list of more than 50 products to understand how to sell, setup and service, Go Daddy presents a challenging and fast-paced working environment.

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Diversity offers perspective and brings balance to my art marketing pursuits.

Besides fueling the part of me that is intrigued by all things techie, especially since they relate to art and commerce, it puts me in touch with a unique cross-section of the population as represented by my fellow employees and our customers. Employment there requires a higher than average ability to juggle different types of tasks equally well. So being smart helps in getting hired, but so does being able to move from math to logic, to verbal challenges simultaneously. A resultant mix is an eclectic group of people working in a wide range of ages and backgrounds. It makes for interesting observations for an inveterate people watcher.

While the bulk of the business comes from North America, it is a global business. Today, I fielded calls from New Zealand, India, Scotland and a soldier in Iraq. What never ceases to amaze me is the unending enthusiasm I encounter from folks seeking to better their lives by jumping into business for themselves.

Calls come from neophytes looking to find a way to make some money on the Internet, or just to get more business for a landscaping business. They come from really skilled operators who are already using the Internet to make a full-time living through e-commerce, or in some cases, by buying and selling domains. Others are seeking to use the Internet not to make money, but rather to share a dream, create a memorial, or help a cause, as with the Playing for Change video above.

A spirit of abundance and hope is pervasive, prevalent and widespread.

A common thread I encounter among our domain, hosting, e-commerce and email customers is the undeniable, though most often unspoken, a spirit of abundance that is in the voice and plans of callers from around the globe. I can’t tell you how uplifting and heart-rending it is to speak to a 78-year-old grandmother making a Web site to honor a grandchild fighting a terminal disease.

I wish you could hear the lilt of the happy Scotsman, a self-professed man of God who called. He also is an author and speaker seeking to get the word about his work out. Were it not for this job, I would never have spoken to these people, and they have touched me in some small, but unique, way.

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A touch of humanity, a grand dose of gratitude

When I ended the brief call from the soldier in Iraq, I told him to take care and godspeed, and I felt a lump in my throat, and my eyes got wet just for having a moment in his life. I am a Vietnam Era vet, but did not go there, so I don’t know firsthand the experience of war on foreign soil. But, nevertheless, I was reminded today of the mostly unfelt price our soldiers overseas pay to fight our battles for us.

These things make me so appreciative of the chance to sit at a computer, with my favorite music playing the background, and pass along these thoughts to you. I am reminded nearly daily that my efforts to help artists makes a difference. For that acknowledgment, however, it arrives, I am grateful and humbled to know I have made a useful contribution. Just as I’m sure readers of this blog are thankful for the talent that gives them the means to create beautiful, compelling works of art, I’m am grateful for an ability to turn a phrase and communicate meaningful messages.

Though times are tough, there is still much we have to be thankful for

We are undeniably going through a very rough patch with our economy. Although we may be dinged financially, or be suffering from job losses and real estate setbacks, we largely all are all right. We still have it better than the majority of this planet’s inhabitants. While it may seem there are artists everywhere one turns, the truth is only a small percentage of people have the aptitude to make art on a level that attracts collectors.

What a wonderful feeling it must be for those artists who regularly receive kudos and warm thoughts from collectors and admirers … and get to get paid for their efforts, too! Had your art in some large or small way not touched your collectors, you wouldn’t be getting that kind of feedback from them.

Like me, I’m sure you are abundantly grateful to have the talent to make something from your own imagination, the drive to find others to appreciate it and the freedom to pursue both in a democracy designed to protect your rights and encourage the best from you. I’m grateful for you reading my blog right down to the bottom line.


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  1. Thanks to Fiona and Dianne for commenting on this blog. Although Art Print Issues is designed as a business blog for visual artists, I think it’s important to ocassionally add an element of personal observation to give it balance. To those who sent personal responses, thanks to you too for your kind thoughts and wishes.

  2. Music is good karma. Music is inspiring. Yet we haven’t been able to solder a pipe to move safe drinking water using music. Pipefitting and masonry have little to do with music, unless it’s the music of a healthy baby’s cry – healthy because of the work of masons and pipefitters. No guitars are heard above the din of a machine shop. Music doesn’t wash clothes. Music doesn’t vaccinate. You can’t play a tune on a mosquito net. Grizzled guys singing Kumbaya is fun, but in the end it’s only a feel-good conceit. You wanna stand by somebody, learn to sweat pipe or operate a backhoe. Dig a well or a privy – learn how to handle shit contaminated with typhoid, typhus, cholera. Then you’re standing by somebody.

  3. Barney, your blog does make a difference to me. I enjoyed this post. I also bought and read your Guerrilla marketing for artists some months ago and it’s made a difference. Thanks for writing, thanks for sharing, thanks for leaving a legacy. 😉

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