The Houston Chronicle published Ed Wulfe's op-ed piece yesterday and it sure takes me back to the days when Ed was on the Greater East End District board of directors. "Make (the) most of the Houston factor" is vintage Wulfe, an optimist, salesman and visionary like few others. I used to call him when a hard vote was coming before the district board and urge his attendance because his spirit could move the room in what I considered the 'right direction.'
Ed always said you never gave up until you'd asked at least seven times and I've found that a sure fire way to get things done. In fact, that's why I am writing about Ed's op-ed. It explains why 'Second Seating' is working so well. This art installation is definitely a Houston kind of show. 'Second Seating' is enterprising, based on commerce and industry. Houston's a business town, built with oil, yes, but built by developers who had visions of what it could be.
'Second Seating' is a lot like Houston. The idea was a vision that appeared shortly after I left my job as president of the Greater East End District. I knew a lot about East End businesses and the people who ran them. It seemed a natural thing to turn their products into art, thereby promoting the East End community I've grown to love.
It also seemed natural to ask for their help. I've spent a year asking for it all: money, in-kind services, advice, product and collaborations. Never doubting that in most cases, their answer would be yes. And the answer has been yes, far more times than I've heard the word no. And when I do hear a no, I simply wait awhile and think of another way to ask. And ask again. That's following Ed's 'seven times' idea.
'Second Seating' is working. I raised almost enough money to do just about anything I need to do for the exhibition. I've engaged half a dozen other artists who are skilled in painting, ceramics, assemblage. 'Second Seating' has partnerships with Houston Community College Eastside and with Ripley House-Neighborhood Centers, Inc. I found a studio space up on Harrisburg in which to work. I got a grant from The Idea Fund, a program of Diverse Works funded by The Andy Warhol Foundation.
And I found reasons that inspired well over a dozen East End companies to partner with me to make 'Second Seating' a reality. Who could ask for more? Is it hard work? You bet. But, it's also like playing a wonderful game, racking up points, securing a position, relying on others, fostering appreciation, giving lots of thanks to all the players. There are so many that are making it happen.
Here's what Ed wrote and I agree with every word. It works for me.
"Positive energy and passion go a long way — the Houston Factor. So, what’s your mindset? Are you working on expanding your network? We live in a friendly and open city. Now, more than ever, you should be reaching out and growing your relationships and contacts in your field and in our civic and cultural community.
Houstonians know how to work harder and understand that you must be aggressive and make things happen. They know they need to add value. That’s the Houston Factor. They understand the need to get out there and concentrate on what you’re doing and on your business, whether you are an employee or employer.
Houstonians believe in themselves, their business, and their city. They are leaders and innovators who are eager to learn more and grow as a person. Now is when you must become better informed and better equipped. Build your skills. Volunteer and help others. Be a team player. Be both responsive and responsible. That’s the Houston Factor. Besides your business and job, are you marketing yourself? Most people don’t look at themselves as a brand. And they don’t consider how to market that brand. We all should be doing that and, at the same time, marketing the Houston Factor."
Ed Wulfe askes, "Are you envisioning what’s next? Visioning is a big part of the Houston Factor. Where do you want to be when this ends? Because it will end and we’ll be back in new ways for exciting times. Houstonians are always ready to seize the moment. We have the Houston Factor on our side. Are you capitalizing on it?"
Yes. That's my answer.