Saturday, August 31, 2013


Game Over. Or so it seems.
Tommy Murphy is outraged;
“It isn’t fair” he screams.
Once again the result is staged,
Yet we execute each play:
Run, cut, fake and catch the Pass.
Another Cereal Bowl in the books on a fine Autumn day
With time left over to go to 5 o’clock Mass.
In the cold grey dawn,
The rules are never disputed.
Like Kennedys on the lawn;
Roses are red, Weeds are rooted,
In the end it doesn’t matter if you win.
All the world is a stage;
The play is the thing;.
The best of times at such an age.
It’s how you play the game you see;
No effort goes unrewarded, stay on the field.
What happens under the Buckeye tree,
You think isn’t fair but in time it may be revealed;
In Shoreway seminars to and from Edgewater Drive,
Or in Reading the newspaper before you arrive,
Or between those hours - Nine until Five.
Between the hours of nine and five.
Type, Keyline, Flap and Tissue,
Caxton Building loading dock
Delivered right, that’s the issue.
East Side, West Side all around the clock
Attention to production and design,
Annual Reports arrived last night.
Photography and Illustration with a fine line
Because of Jim, the job is done right (and on time).
We are the dreamers of dreams 
And we cherish each moment as it goes by.
Life is too short but the legacy lives in the gleams
Of Sons and Daughters who wonder why
The great man passes.  
Murph was right: It isn’t fair.
The great man passes.
Bang! All of us were there

To Mom: The Show Will Go On.

Race to the moon, civil rights, protests in the news.
A New year’s noise on copper-bottom pot and pans.  
Sloppy Joes served as chairs rattle loose screws.
The times they are a changing. We’re making plans.
Black & White programming of political views
Swimming lessons, coloring books and Kool-Aid stands.

Church keys opening Shasta flavored pops.
Little theaters and museums of the arts.
Stainless steel counters with built-in stovetops.  
School clothes filling up shopping carts.
Historic sites, parades and hometown teams.
After school the Stooges, cartoons on television starts.
Barnaby, Captain Penny, Jingle-ling, Holiday themes.

A Baby Grand piano, trumpet, banjo, drums and guitar.
Sterling Silver, Bunnykins, Royal Daulton Figurines,
Screwdrivers. Cigarettes. Makeup. Jelly Jars.
Time, Newsweek, Life and Look Magazines.
Board games. Sparkling wine. Martinis. Chanel Number 5
Steak and SauSea Shrimp at dinner in the pantry nook.
The remarkable and mystical Edgewater Drive.
"Do your homework. Kitchen is closed. You know I hate to cook."

Backyard sunning for a Coppertone tan.
Extensions a plenty, never far from a phone.
Reading a book and drinking Coke from a can.  
In the Wonderful World of Ohio you’re never alone.
Cedar Point, Sandusky, a Summer cottage rental.
The Football Hall of Fame, Mystery Hill and Firestone;
Buckle up and away we go in the Lincoln Continental.
But first, “No ice cream in the car. Finish your cone.”
Ordinary things, of which we become sentimental

“I’ll do anything for you kids - as long as you remember.”
Silver goblets, meat loaf, tuna casserole, chicken soup,
Hough Bakery cakes from Spring until September.
On a continuous loop.
The birthdays, they come and they go.
We remember the routine and the ordinary.
How did she know?
A life lived and a life extraordinary.

Read, Enunciate, project, pronounce
Improvise the method. The talent is a fact.
Study, debate, articulate and announce.
You must believe, if you think you can act.
There are no small roles. You’ll stand out among the rest
Listen to the words and listen well,
“Oh honey, you always know what’s best.”
When to pause, when to gesture, you can always tell.

To Dream the Impossible Dream.
Everything is rehearsed: scene by scene.
Coffee cup and saucer: Black. No sugar. No cream.
The play is a hit, but what does it mean?
Acting, directing and winning your heart.
The final curtain. Bravo! The audience is for you,
“Always do your best. Understand. Play the part.”
Carry on and excel in everything you do.

Thunderous enthusiastic applause.
As cheer and joy arise.
The audience approves without pause.
Good to know, but not a surprise .
Prepare and be ready for your que  
Face each day. The show must go on.
You know exactly what to do.
House lights go up and suddenly you are gone.  

We are an ensemble cast.
We knew that one day,
The performance would be your last.   
You were great Mom; it was your way.
On to the future, with regard for the past.
The show will go on.
Thanks Mom.
We will go on.

Monday, August 26, 2013

My Dad. R.I.P.

James O’Connell Morgan
(July 21, 1918 – August 20, 2013)

James O’Connell Morgan was an artist, a veteran of WWII, a loyal husband and father of six. Morgan was founder of Morgan Studio in Cleveland, Ohio, the advertising, art and photography business he started and ran for the better part of four decades. The Cleveland native, later in life, lived in the village of Key Biscayne, Miami Florida and Keller, Texas with his wife Mary until her passing in May of 2011. He then moved to Tampa, Florida.   

He Graduated from St. Ignatius High School in Cleveland. (He was an average student, but showed early talent as a promising artist and illustrator.) He Graduated from John Carroll University where he was a Three-year letter winner and two-year starter as both offensive and defensive lineman on John Carroll's first and only Big Four championship team in 1939. Team record was 13-3-1 (.794) in his two years as a starter. (He was 60-minute Morgan at John Carroll University in Cleveland). Years after he graduated, he was installed in JCU’s sports Hall of Fame.

He studied at Pratt Institute of Design in New York where he began to solidify his career path before the call of military duty caused him to take a detour. The year at Pratt and the time he spent in New York City influenced him greatly.

He was a soldier during World War II. First enlisting and later entering officer candidate school (OCS). He served as a leader of a camouflage unit and led Black troops (at a time when the army was still segregated). He went wherever they asked him to go and yet was able to stay out of harm’s way. He served his country with honor for over four years.

After his time in the U.S. Army, he began his career at Malmquist Studio as a commercial artist until he left to start his own business in Cleveland, Ohio. He founded Morgan Studio in 1951 as “the architects of the printed page.” He was convinced that design was a noble and worthy profession. Along the way, Morgan Studio served a roster of blue chip clients including Ohio Bell Telephone, Youngstown Steel Door, Cleveland Electric Illuminating Company, L’erin Cosmetics, Ernst & Ernst, Glidden Paint, Stouffers Restaurants, Lake Erie Screw Corporation, Mooney Chemicals, Cleveland Federal Savings and Bonne Bell Cosmetics.

He was a devoted husband to Mary Francis Lawton Morgan (Jim and Mary were married in December of 1942 –Mary died May 2011. They were married for nearly 70 years.)

James O’C. Morgan and his wife had six children: Sundance (formerly James O’Connell Morgan Jr. – born 1944), Mary Lynn (born 1952), Wesley (born 1955), Gregory (born 1956), Daniel (Born 1958) and Robert Morgan (born 1959). 
James is survived by nine grandchildren:
Lynn’s children
James O’Connell Varney   
Philip Varney
(James is married to Susan and they have two children Colleen and Lane)

Wes’ children
Lindsey Morgan Dewey
John Benjamin Morgan
(Wes is married to Lynn)

Greg’s children
Wesley Morgan
Matthew Morgan

(Greg is married to Ellen and he has two stepchildren, Lauren and Michael)

Rob’s children
Megan Morgan
Tara Morgan
Kevin Morgan
(Rob is married to Joy)

Monday, August 12, 2013

A bit about Trova

Recently, The St. Louis Post-Dispatch published a front page article (Sunday July 21, 2013) with headline , “Untreasured Trovas.” The article calls into question the care of the 40 works of sculpture by Ernest Trova. In defense of the park, I would make two comments: 1. The park has six (6) Trova pieces on display which are fine examples of his work. 2. The park owes a debt of gratitude to Trova, since the very existence of the park might not be without his generosity. The 40 Trova works gifted to the county in 1976 set the sculpture park on a course to become public-private foundation partnership celebrating monumental sculpture and contemporary art. Without this gift, the Laumeier Sculpture Park might not have been possible.

Today, there are six (6) Trova works on display at the park (including one from Grace Brod, given this year, posthumously). Nine or ten are in storage and the rest are on loan to a variety of places: The Missouri Botanical Gardens, Saint Louis University, City of Webster Groves, Webster University, John Burroughs School, Clayton Century Foundation, Central West End Association, Lewis & Clark Community College, GenAmerica, Winghaven and the Warren County Fine Arts Commission. The loans make it possible for people to view the work where it might not be practical to install, display and maintain at Laumeier.

In the late 1960s and early 1970s, Ernest Trova was among the most widely acknowledged sculptors working in the United States. He was invited to exhibit in three Whitney Annuals, three Venice Biennales, and Documenta 4 in Kassel, Germany. In 1969 his work was heralded by the New York Times as “among the best of contemporary American sculpture.” Throughout those decades examples of his art were prominently displayed in dozens of major museums including the Museum of Modern Art, the Whitney Museum of American Art, and the Walker Art Center in Minneapolis. Trova’s life-size bronze, Study/Falling Man (Wheelman), once greeted visitors at the Guggenheim’s 5th Avenue entrance, and for more than twenty years he was represented by the estimable Pace Gallery, which inaugurated its first New York space with an exhibition of his work.

Ernest Tino Trova (February 19, 1927 – March 8, 2009) was a self-trained surrealist and pop art painter and sculptor. Trova is a local success story. He was born here and attended Clayton High School and St. Louis University High School. Trova lived in the St. Louis area his entire life and has a star on the St. Louis Walk of Fame.

Sunday, August 11, 2013

Marketing Communications for Laumeier

Outline for Marketing Communications
 Prepared for Laumeier Sculpture Park on March 4, 2013 and revised April 22, 2013

The first order of business will be focused on developing a plan-of-action for public relations, sales and marketing designed to grow the business and engage all key stakeholders/audiences. A written plan to formalize a sustainable and scalable marketing communications program will go a long way toward setting priorities in spite of limited resources. The existence of the physical document will help you evaluate and modify initiatives in months and years to come. The development of a formal written plan which becomes the roadmap (and a benchmark). The points outlined here represent areas for development of a comprehensive marketing communications program.

Discovery Phase - A discussion of specific targets: decision-makers, influencers, industry leaders. A thorough and complete understanding of the organizational vision is essential.

Market Overview - Development of an overview of the market and opportunities can come from secondary research (industry trend data, association research, etc). This is an important part of the plan as it includes assumptions about the market potential. A summary of findings will be included in the plan document.  

Research - The development of our market overview will coincide with our assessment of market opportunity. Our ongoing efforts should be guided by a couple of critical research areas. We want to have a thorough and complete understanding of our target audience and we want a thorough understanding of our brands (as perceived today). A systematic advisory panel and/or ongoing focus group research will be explored as a way to keep the company on strategy. Quantitative and Qualitative research needs will be evaluated as a research plan is developed. We have a number of audiences of course. Members/visitors, benefactors, volunteers, community/corporate etc.    

Development – a specific and targeted plan for identifying individuals, business opportunities and infrastructure for ongoing business development (BD). The marketing plan should include an understanding of how the organization plans to effectively manage repeat business (retention) and new business (acquisition). A summary of BD structure will be in the plan document. Note that Development (fundraising, cultivation of patronage and ongoing sustaining activity is an important part of the broader term implied by BD).

Personnel/Staffing - Identification of appropriate team and leadership to pursue opportunities. Marketing, Communications and Development will need to work effectively together. A list of BD needs and proposed marketing support will be included in the plan document, including any sales training that may be worth exploring.

Print Advertising/Media Relations – We need to audit, discuss and review all targeted media: interactive/social media/print/broadcast/and other media regarded by our targets and their decision makers/influencers. We need to develop a list that will guide advertising and public relations planning. Paid media will be limited but a balanced approach to paid and editorial interface with media will be necessary. Creative strategy and messaging should be incorporated early on.

Public Relations – A careful review of editorial calendars, opportunities to feature expertise, case studies and testimonials will help to build our PR strategy. Emphasis will be on programs designed to earn credibility and trust. This is will be accomplished with ongoing efforts. Part of this initiative may include arranging for a clipping service to monitor placements and a system for tracking output and results. Message strategy, boilerplate and talking point development is key as well.

Direct Response/Collateral/Catalogues/Literature – Development of a format for ongoing direct mail to prospects, supporters and visitors in data base (contact management system). This includes creative strategy for content as well as a format and budgeting for ongoing communication. The content developed for this effort will also be repurposed for interactive use such as e-mail blasts and social media. The DM program will have application for managing trade show/conference leads and may also include high-impact 3-D mailers that are memorable and engaging for our best prospects.

Sales Presentation/Proposal development – Develop a meaningful process for timely response to opportunities, (a well-crafted overview of the company and its brand offerings). Part of this exercise will be to develop a format for customization of relevant materials, testimonials, case studies, articles, etc.

Website – Naturally a web/interactive/digital strategy will be a part of the effort. As with Print, Direct Response and Sales Presentation elements, digital content needs to be edited and prepared for the medium. Web/Internet strategy must be an ongoing process that is managed effectively and creatively. Blogs, video, FAQ, SEO and testimonials are just a few topics that should be reviewed often. A discussion of this will be included in the plan along with a list of anticipated deliverables within the calendar year.

Social Media – Leveraging fans, supporters, opinion leaders, contributors and others we can structure a conversation around critical issues/topics. The key is to deliver value that keeps prospects coming back to us as we lead a dialogue/conversation. LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Pinterest, Google+ and e-mail marketing are tactics we can cultivate.  

Trade Shows/Conventions – As specific targets (segments/geography) are identified, a system for managing ongoing efforts must be in place. A schedule of trade shows, conventions, conferences and/or annual meetings will be developed. A schedule and support for participation will need to include collateral support for exhibits at shows, pre-show and post show activity. In some cases additional sponsorships or prizes/contests can add some excitement. Speaking engagements and or presentation opportunities should be pursued as part of the planning/scheduling each year. 

Telemarketing – A carefully orchestrated effort to engage customers as membership renewal decisions approach should include script development and special offers. On Hold and recorded messaging could be a part of this initiative as well.

Geography – Start with a regional effort to work though the system and how ongoing efforts become routine for business development. The marketing plan will always be looking to identify “scalable solutions” that may be considered for additional implementation and company-wide growth opportunities. Schools could be an important part of this regional effort.

Budgeting – The discovery phase and the market overview bullets at the beginning of this process will be essential for the team projections on the opportunities in terms of revenue and profitability. Reasonable assumptions of future revenue should be considered. Budgeting for marketing is always a challenge. Strategies that may be explored:

o   Percent of sales

o   Competitive Share of Voice

o   Pre-emptive

o   Investment

o   Development goals/expectations

The plan will only be as good as the true commitment to work though the details of each area and stick with it for a full calendar or fiscal year. A seasoned marketing communications leader in place will give the company the greatest chance for success at managing and growing that plan from year to year.  

KEY POINT SUMMARY: Build a plan and put it in writing so each year is one in which you build upon best practices and fund initiatives that produce results.

Monday, August 5, 2013

Family Tour at Laumeier

Another remarkable Sunday at Laumeier Sculpture Park

“We’ll be joining you on the tour. But first, I promised my boy I’d play catch with him.” Says Brian as he turns to engage his six-year old son in Judith Shea’s Heartland Garden adjacent to Laumeier Sculpture Park's museum shop. Two docents standing by (Ferda and Wes) are planning a strategy for who-ever shows up for the Sunday Tour (August 4, 2013). Soon enough we meet the rest of Brian’s family: in addition to six year old Ben, Lynn (mom) and baby brother Patrick are along. Then we have another family of four joining us: two boys (teenagers) and a girl (20-something) and an adult male.

“Welcome to the Laumeier Sculpture Park,” begins Wes. The Group is engaged. Maybe Brian is the only one in the group familiar with the St. Louis Post Dispatch front page story about the disposition of Ernest Trova works, but it is top of mind as Ferda and Wes have been talking about it.  The Falling Man sculpture outside the museum shop is as good a place as any to begin our tour today. Grace Brod’s gift of Trova’s Falling Man/Study (Wrapped Manscape Figure) is just a few steps away as the tour is on the move south. We ponder and talk a little about Ken Lum’s The Space Between Scott & Plessy busts. The natural pull is to Tony Tasset’s Eyeball and a sense of adventure leads us from there into the Trova woods and Ernest Trova’s Poet by a Tree.  An opening in the trees allows us to talk about di Suvero’s grand abstract expressions in sculpture Bornibus and Destino.  Soon we make our way to Charles Ginnever’s Crete and Liberman’s The Way on the South Lawn. Route 27 by Bernard Williams and yet another Ernest Trova Profile Canto IV. On to that space beyond The Way. We all enjoy the Vito Acconci Face of the Earth. (I could not resist coaxing young Ben to step inside the nose as a setup. “That makes you a booger.”  The punch line is received with smiles and groans from the group.) Richard Lobe’s Palm at the Edge of the Parking Lot, a little discussion of Donald Judd’s work (under repair behind chain link fencing) and the beams of minimalism by Robert Morris.  A question about the Whitaker Trail results in a collective decision to traverse that pathway back to Isaac Witkin’s Hawthorne Tree. The 20-something is smiling. “I know you said there is no art on display on this trail but this is God’s Design,” she says. “Well said,” I add with a glance. “You are absolutely right.”  Back to the clearing, a few moments with Matts Leiderstam’s panorama viewer on its tripod. Onto the popular Dre Wapenaar Tree Tent. (Three Kids climb the ladder while some find a seat on the tree trunk seats, nearby).

We wind up in back of the estate house with a few words about Joseph Havel’s Twins. Two families, two docents and the Joseph Havel Twins. The sculpture reminds our visitors of the Statue of Liberty because of the greenish color and the flowing nature of bed-sheets cast as a sculpture and stretching skyward.

Another beautiful day at the park.  Brian and Lynn love the idea of those young children seeing art at such a young age. They have recently visited the St. Louis Art Museum and are planning a family trip by train to Chicago and the Art Institute.