Sometimes a book, or even just a line, chapter or passage within a book can stick with us long after we’ve read its final page.  We asked some of our favorite community members to tell us about a book that’s had a meaningful impact on them.

Karon Leigh | Visual Artist, Gallery Co-owner, and Artistic Director at a nonprofit art center

I’m currently reading “Ninth Street Women” about the women artists of the New York School period in the 40’s and 50’s. The book discusses the lives of five women artists, Lee Krasner, Elaine de Kooning, Grace Hartigan, Joan Mitchell, and Helen Frankenthaler and their struggles as artists in a male dominated field and time period. It is a reminder that women artists and women in general still struggle in a male dominated society. The current statistics aren’t so great. “Nearly half (45.8%) of visual artists in the United States are women; on average, they earn 74¢ for every dollar made by male artists. (National Endowment for the Arts).” The inspiring part about the book is that these were women who knew they were artists and pursued their art making despite the their circumstances. So no matter where I’ve lived, what job I’ve held, I’ve always made art a priority in my life. Read More >> 

Sean Dowdell | Entrepreneur & Business Consultant

Atlas Shrugged By Ayn Rand This book absolutely molded my entrepreneur mindset into understanding that being a creator of a business and jobs is absolutely necessity for the free market. The “I” , is a fundamental ingredient in anything that you are doing and understanding this in addition to your “why” is all of the motivation you need as a business owner. Atlas Shrugged, changed the way I view socialism and the world at large. It helped me understand that many people in this world are charitable with others property/money and this concept at its core is the exact opposite of being altruistic or charitable. The true altruistic nature of a person is in the actions of sacrifice of giving to others without expecting anything in return and taking action within your means to help others simply for the sake of doing the right thing. This book truly changed my life. Read More >>

Ann Osgood | Artist

The Creative Habit by Twyla Tharp is one of many books that I have on my shelf. Most are art books for visual ideas by painters I admire. This book is a book for those times you need to remind yourself about the creative process. Tharp covers lots of factors in the life of a creative and gives you practical suggestions like the rituals that help you start. She lets you remember failure IS an option. She really digs into the factors that are part of being an artist, dancer, writer in a practical way that really appealed to me. Read more >>

Leah Hope Mancuso | Portrait Photographer

Everybody, Always by Bob Goff has absolutely changed my life. Within reading just a few short chapters, I knew it would be my favorite book! Bob Goff is a Christian who doesn’t focus on the “rules” of religion or being a Christ follower. His approach is to simply love people like Jesus did, that’s what matters most. We can work every day at trying to follow the rules and be the right kind of Christian, but what it’s really about is loving everybody, always. Reading this book and learning from it has helped me allow so much more grace into my life. And not just grace for others, but for myself as well. And it reminds me that the most important thing in life will always come back to loving people well and selflessly. Read More >>

Justine Mantor-Waldie | Artist and teacher

The Art Spirit by Robert Henri, originally published in 1923. The book gave me insights into how to view art making, how to critique work and ideas. The underlying impetus artists can find in their work. This book has provided me with the root structure on which the tree of my art is based. Read More >>

Mary Meyer | Visual Artist

Last summer, while working on a big new project in my studio, I read A New Earth by Eckhart Tolle. I now have the companion book Stillness Speaks, which I use for daily meditation readings. The ideas put forth by Tolle resonate profoundly with me. Notions such as our human connection with all life, the importance of presence and living in the moment, and accessing stillness through affiliation with the natural world. These ideas have long been and continue to be a powerful influence on my life and work. They are relevant especially now during this strange time of Covid-19 that brings anxiety and fear to so many. It is a time when many of us have slowed down and become more still out of necessity and safety. Gatherings and crowds are almost non-existent due to physical distancing, and traffic is significantly lighter as we stay closer to home. But, still, we are surrounded by life. I see more people spending time outdoors, enjoying the sunshine while hiking and biking the trails near my home. In conversations with friends both near and far, they notice the same. As we slow down and navigate through uncharted territory, we find new ways to connect. We may even notice that the sky is bluer, the air is cleaner and more fragrant, and the birds are singing just a little louder—maybe out of gratitude, or so I’d like to think. “[We] are not separate from nature. We are all part of the One Life that manifests itself in countless forms throughout the universe, forms that are all completely interconnected.” -Eckhart Tolle, from Stillness Speaks Read More >>

Lydia Quinones | Art Educator & Visual Artist

The Omnivore’s Dilemma, by Michael Pollan. The author of the book traces the origin of his meal and creates a meal consisting entirely of foods which he had been involved in the farming of or foraged for in the woods. As an artist, I believe that being involved in the earliest stages of production creates a deeper connection to the work. When I create textiles, it’s time consuming because I raise the animals, shear and spin the wool, and then weave it on a loom. I’ve even dug up and processed my own clay for ceramics. I feel little connection to materials purchased from a corporate retail store, so I try to use items made by myself or someone I know. I’ve found that knowledge of how to create from scratch empowers us to be self reliant. Read More >>