The Color Run Phoenix



The Color Run, also known as the Happiest 5K on the Planet, is a unique event that celebrates healthiness, happiness, and individuality. Now the largest running series in the world, The Color Run has been experienced by over 7 million runners worldwide in 40+ countries.

This was a fun run I got to do with Cornerstone Young Professionals. The Color Run comes to Phoenix every year and does these crazy 5K’s where you get doused with colored powered. Then you run through bubbles at the end. This tour was their Dream Tour and it was held at Rawhide Western Town in Chandler. I wore my multi-colored wig and had fun doing this 5K with good friends.

Art, Love, and Beauty: Lecture V


Beauty Will Make the World

“Music gives a soul to the universe, wings to the mind, flight to the imagination and life to everything.” – Plato

“Beauty will save the world” – The Idiot, Fyodor Dostoevsky

Click on the video below to be redirected to vimeo to watch lecture

Art, Love, and Beauty: Lecture IV

* – from IAM website

Makoto Fujimura will continue his lecture series on “Art, Love, and Beauty” with this 4th live broadcast focusing on Gretchen Bender’s media installations.
This month, we are privileged to have with us Soo Bae, a world class cellist.

soo bae

Soo Bae at Space 38|39

(I don’t have a video of this lecture so below is one of Makoto’s writings on Gretchen Bender)


by Makoto Fujimura


Bill T. Jones started to sing, as he stepped out from the audience. He sang an old spiritual, and he slowly stepped down the stairs moving into the main stage, and his body swayed, his feet began to tap. The Kitchen, a black-box theatre located in Chelsea, Manhattan, a catalyst for much of experimental art and music on recent times, was his stage, his artistic home. And yet, he was not here to perform, he was not here to start a new program, he was here for a memorial service.

Gretchen Bender had passed away at the age of 53, to the shock of her friends and colleagues who came to honor her on that cold January day. Many influential figures of the art world, like Cindy Sherman, Robert Longo and Elizabeth Streb were present. Her sister Valerie Godwin, whose husband Clyde pastored my home church, The Village Church, introduced us in 1999. Gretchen then graciously took part in my TriBeCa Temporary project, which I curated after September 11th, 2001.

Gretchen, as many participants in the service recalled, remained in the background of the emerging media art phenomena in the eighties. She was a pioneer in this new form as New York Times’ critic Roberta Smith wrote in her obituary. She was part of “the generation of early 1980’s Pictures Artists…Combining aspects of Conceptual Art and Pop Art, these artists used the images of popular culture to dissect its powerful codes, especially regarding gender and sexuality. “ Many credit her today with pioneering “the rapid-fire hyperediting now pervasive in film, television and video art.”

Her accomplishments range from PBS documentary to museum retrospectives. But to me, her public work of 1990’s collaboration with Miran Fukuda, in the Tameike-Sanno station in Tokyo continue to be etched in my mind.

Tameike-Sanno Collaboration appropriated, ironically, the images of the World Trade Towers. When I visited her studio, located in Southstreet Seaport near Ground Zero, she told me of her experience after 9/11: “I was sitting on the steps in front of my studio, reading an article in a newspaper about the ‘butterflies’ the Russians had dropped all over Afghanistan in the last war and I looked up from the paper and stared blankly as I tried to comprehend the meaning of the article: what kind of cruelty was it that children picked up these ‘butterflies’ floating down and were blown apart… A sense of general despair for the world began to creep into my whole being when, suddenly, two feet in front of me, a REAL butterfly floated by my face. I couldn’t move in astonishment. I had never seen a butterfly in all my years on South Street and it was November and it was ground zero air quality and where did this fragile emanation appear from? All those souls lifting out of the white dust, off the collapsed shards – a sacrifice, a gift, a hope, for a spiritual shift in the world.”

She then created an installation for TriBeCa Temporary project that became a highlight of our six months effort to “create an oasis of collaboration for Ground Zero artists.” She folded hundreds of white origami butterflies, and carefully arranged them on the floor, re-presenting her experience that, she repeatedly told me, was her “resurrection moment”.
Then she told me something remarkable: “I could never do this in Chelsea galleries or museums.” I asked her “why?” She answered “well, it’s too tender, and beautiful.”

One of her friends reminded me, at the memorial, this was the last work that she ever exhibited.

It was evident to those who attended the memorial service how much she struggled with the hype, the greed and the back-stabbing that characterized the art world. She was too sensitive, too vulnerable, and too unguarded. Her long time partner Mitchell Wagenberg, shared how he wrote down pages and pages of how the art world had destroyed her, but then felt to restrain his comments. He nevertheless wanted to convey how she was victimized and swallowed up by the vicious realities of the art world, and felt betrayed. But perhaps Mitchell did not have to share the details his notes. The service started to take on a confessional tone, where one after another, emotive expressions by artists recalled her delicate nature, giving account of their personal struggles in their relationships with her, and with each other. Perhaps the language used in describing the scene was too brutally honest for some. One of my friends commented afterwards: “I’ve never heard so many four-letter words at a memorial service!”

After Bill T Jones spoke and sang, one of Gretchen’s assistants stood to share a song. It was a song that Gretchen listened to in her studio on her tape player. The worn-out tape is by an underground artist I’ve never heard before called Daniel Johnston1, but the assistant said, “it’s from First Corinthians 13 in the Bible.” I was surprised, as I knew how much Gretchen struggled with the church and Christianity. And yet when he started to sing, almost everyone in the room knew the tune, except, ironically, those of us who were Christians. We knew the words well, but not the tune. “Love is patient and kind, love is not jealous or boastful. It is not arrogant or rude. Love does not insist on its own way…Love never ends.”

Perhaps Gretchen herself was “too tender and beautiful” for the art world after all. Perhaps she saw herself in that butterfly, a lone specter of a strange mystery in terrible dark days. Where would a creative butterfly like Gretchen migrate to? Would the art world continue to alienate and divide in our Darwinian grasp for a flash of spotlight? Would we then miss the small “resurrection moments” of our ordinary days? Gretchen, at last, saw the butterfly. Perhaps we would miss it or ignore it even if it flew in front of our eyes. Perhaps what we wanted to acknowledge on that cold day in January was the reality of how far we have fallen short of our own expectations and, even, our desires.

If Elaine Scarry (Beauty and Being Just, Princeton Press) is correct, true beauty forces us to admit our errors. Perhaps, in missing Gretchen, would we admit the vulnerability, and unguarded innocence of a true artistic experience? Would a community of broken, brutally honest, creative people lead the way for admission of our errors? The small, avant-garde theatre in Chelsea, for but a fleeting moment, became one communal confessional box, filling it with hymns and spiritual songs.

As I left The Kitchen (only to return in a few months later to do a collaboration called, ironically, Shangri-La), I felt certain of Jesus’ presence in that room. As the author and fulfillment of that song by Daniel Johnston, He would have invited himself there, as the manifestation of the “unknown, rejected” singer of a worn out tape of old. And there, his “dancing has turned into mourning” (Lamentations 5:15). At that moment, he would certainly have been unguarded, and perhaps as vulnerable as a single monarch flying in the ashes of Sept. 11th.

Art, Love, and Beauty: Lecture III


Phenomonolgy of Art

In the next lecture of the Art, Love, and Beauty series on Culture Care, Makoto Fujimura interviewed Jacob Marshall of the band MAE and MORE partnerships on the resources needed to start a movement. All three in the triangle below need to be present.

Cultural Capital Triangle



“How Not to Paint” – Paul Kasmir

* – notes from Makoto’s lecture

“There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment. The one who fears is not made perfect in love.” – 1 John 4:18

Love is an impossibility if all we do is survive. We must acknowledge fear, guilt and shame. We seek what is impossible. Without faith it is impossible to create.

“Immature poets imitate; mature poets steal” – T.S. Eliot, The Sacred Wood

Stealing in art is to incarnate the greater master in your own and requires love. Imitation is based in fear.

Art is a faithful way of knowing the world and each person has their own unique path to that journey. 

* – some notes from Makoto Fujimura’s lecture can also be found here

Click on the video below to be redirected to vimeo to watch lecture

Art, Love, and Beauty: Lecture II


How do we define art?

“The attempt to ‘define’ art is limited at best in understanding what art is. We need artists because artists can tap into this “irrational and of a magical nature” in life.”

* – full notes from Makoto Fujimura’s lecture can be found here


“Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen”   Hebrews 11:1

“culture may even be described simply as that which makes life worth living.” – T.S. Eliot

It is Grace. We stalk on life (not just art) by standing under it, no over it. This is faith.

“Knowing is perhaps a bit like a marriage. First you bind yourself with promises to love, honor and obey.” – Esther Meek

Art is a faithful way of knowing the world.

We need to link “what is art” to the bigger question “what is life”. We must abandon our lust for certainty and be on our faith journey toward the mystery of our being. We stalk and wait on our art.

Click on the video below to be redirected to vimeo to watch lecture

Art, Love, and Beauty


Makoto Fujimura

The assumption behind utilitarian pragmatism is that human endeavors are only deemed worthwhile if they are useful to the whole, whether that be a company, family or community.  In such a world, those who are disabled, those who are oppressed, or those who are without voice are seen as “useless” and disposable.  We have a disposable culture that has made usefulness the sole measure of value.  This metric declares that the arts are useless.  No-the reverse is true. The arts are completely indispensable precisely because they are useless in the utilitarian sense.

– Makoto Fujimura “On Becoming Generative”  

This is lecture 1 of a 6 part lecture series by Makoto Fujimura on Art, Love and Beauty. In this lecture broadcasted live from Space 38l39 in New York City, Mako explores the relationship between Art and Beauty. These lectures will pave the way to implementing Culture Care strategy in the IAM movement. The recently released booklet On Becoming Generative: An Introduction to Culture Care is an abbreviated version of Makoto Fujimura’s upcoming book Culture Care due to come out later next year.

– full notes from Makoto Fujimura’s lecture can be found here

LOVE & Mexican Food

LOVE was designed by Robert Indiana during the Pop art movement in 1964 for a Christmas card. It became a symbol for peace during the Vietnam war. Now many sculptures are present all over the world, some in different languages. The original sculpture is in Indianapolis. I’ve always been fascinated with the LOVE art. I have seen two of these sculptures in person, one in Philadelphia and one here in Scottsdale at the civic center.

While visiting the arts center, I had dinner at one of my favorite little restaurants in Scottsdale, Los Olivos Mexican Patio. This little family owned establishment has been serving up fine Mexican food by the Corral family over 60 years ago. Throughout the years, they have maintained their family traditions in hand rolling their own tortillas and serving up their own unique flavors. Tucked away next to the Scottsdale Arts Center, this restaurant has a unique architectural design that helps brings an intimate family feel environment to it. On some nights, you can catch mariachi bands performing. I’ve been dining here for years and this place has always been special to me. Esta casa es su casa y vuelvan pronto.

Los Olivos in Scottsdale

Los Olivos Mexican Patio Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Here’s a little history on the LOVE sculptures I’ve visited..

Edmund Bacon (who is related to actor Kevin Bacon) conceived Philadelphia’s LOVE Park in the 1930’s. It was constructed and finished in 1965.The plaza was dedicated to JFK not too long after that. In the 80’s, it became a popular skateboarding hang-out for kids due the curves of the concrete. ESPN’s X games were held in the park on a couple of occasions due to the popularity of skateboarding there. Controversy erupted in the 2002 when the city then banned all skateboarding at the park. This in turn produced many demonstrations. Even Edmund Bacon rode a skateboard through the park at age 92 to voice his opinion. This brought about the Free LOVE park campaign that is still going on today to bring back skateboarding to the park. Scottsdale purchased theirs through the Scottsdale Public Art Program with support from Pascal and Sylvie de Sarthe, Scottsdale and Simon and Gilian Salama-Caro, New York, in 2002, LOVE is a 144″ (h) x144″ (w) x72″ (d) sculpture made of poly-chromed red and blue aluminum, weighing 3,800 lbs.

LOVE park in Philadelphia

LOVE sculpture in Scottsdale

Romeo’s Euro Cafe

Our amazing night wasn’t over. After proposing to Christin, we headed down to Gilbert to have some dessert at Liberty Market. They happened to be closed, so we went to Romeo’s Euro Cafe instead. They had quite a variety of desserts to choose from. We had a delicious chocolate cake and lemon pie with a latte. What a perfect ending to the most amazing night of my life!

Romeo's Euro Cafe Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato