Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Mile Marker: 2

Today marks the second anniversary of my start at Phoenix Art Museum. 33 exhibitions and counting and I'm still learning each day. Which for me is great, because that's exactly what I want to be doing.

I want to be getting my hands dirty, on the front lines and feeling the winds of change as they rustle up a dust devil. I want to be helping. I am, I think. I can't say everything has been easy, some stuff has been truly hard. But everything that has happened over the past two years has built a foundation for future success, and made steering the museum toward it's pending digital future a little easier. We're marketing smarter than ever before, and it's really only going to get better. There's still a lot of work to be done, and some tough issues to suss out, but I feel like things are headed in the right direction.

No one can make change alone. I have an incredibly supportive supervisor. I work with people whom I can respect and look up to. Smart, intuitive, passionate people. I get to talk about where we can push boundaries and how to solve problems, and people listen. Occasionally anyway. Still, that's more than a lot of people my age can say about their gigs. Many are still trying to earn their employer's trust. I'm trying to keep it.

I don't normally write so candidly about any place where I work, but I feel like something truly special is coming for us and I'm excited by the internal discussions we've had about reaching the right audiences, improving our focus and giving Phoenix more reasons to be proud. I like that I can share that enthusiasm with you here. Woo hoo!!

Seriously though, being at a museum has opened my eyes to a different kind of work, one where you see the results every time someone takes a #MuseumSelfie or the doors open. They say millennials are driven to work by fulfillment, not finances. Well I've certainly found fulfilling work.

Two years.


Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Chicken Sausage Gumbo

If you follow me elsewhere online, you probably know that I dabble in cookery. Well, dabble's not really the right word. Chef was my first profession of choice, up until about the 11th grade. I've always loved food and what it can do for the heart, mind, and especially what it does for the stomach.

So anyway last week I was talking to my sister on the phone and she asked what I'd had for dinner. I hadn't made anything yet but as I peered into the fridge and read off the list of ingredients in my possession she brought up the idea of making gumbo. Now, I've never made gumbo before, but my cousin married a lovely Jamaican-American queen so I've had my fair share (and probably a couple other people's too). I knew from watching a ton of Food Network that the two essential components were a lot of patience and a fantastic roux. Food is pretty much my go-to website for new recipes, but I like to combine parts from multiple sources to fit what I have and what I have time for. 

For this recipe I used the following:
  • 4 maple chicken sausage links, split open 
  • 3 slices of bacon
  • 6 tablespoons of butter
  • 1 cup of flour
  • 10 baby bella mushrooms, sliced
  • 1 bell pepper, diced
  • 2 stalks of celery, diced
  • 2 tablespoons of minced garlic
  • 1 diced white or yellow onion
  • 2 carrots, diced
  • 1 squash, diced
  • 1 zucchini, diced
  • 2 roma tomatoes, diced
  • 2 cups of chick broth
  • 1 cup of water
  • Cumin
  • Cayenne pepper
  • Black pepper
  • Salt
  • Basil
  • Sage
  • Coriander
  • Fennel
  • Anise seed
  • Old Bay 
  • Chili powder 
  • Ginger 
The first thing you want to do is make the roux. Every recipe I looked at said a different time for this part so here's where you patience comes in. I let the fat cook off the bacon first, then removed it and dried it with a paper towel. Next I melted the butter in the bacon fat and whisked in the flour until it began to bubble, about 4 minutes. Then I chopped up the bacon and added it with the maple sausage to the roux and let it simmer on medium low for 30-40 minutes.

Primary Veggies
While it simmered I separated my vegetables into two bowls, primary and secondary. The primary vegetables are your mushrooms, onions, celery (I didn't have any though), bell pepper, and garlic. 

Secondary Veggie
Secondary veggies are the carrots, zucchini, squash and tomatoes. I added the primary veggies in first because they either need more time to cook or need to go in first to add a foundational layer of flavor. 

After my roux had simmered, I stirred in the primary veggies and about half of my spice mix. Let simmer for 3 minutes, then I stirred in the secondary veggies and the additional spice mix. 
Primaries + roux!
Once that had melded together all nicely and everything was evenly coated with the spice mix, I added the broth and water. I then brought it to a boil on high, covered it and let it simmer for about 45 minutes to an hour. 
Secondaries + chicken broth + water!
By this point my patience was wearing thin and my kitchen smelled AMAZING! I lifted up the lid and luckily, my pot was filled with this beautiful mixture.
To serve it I simply ladled it into a bowl with a couple spoonfuls of brown rice (from a previous dinner so it was already made) and sliced green onions on top. 


Thursday, July 17, 2014

This May Be the Coolest Thing to Happen To Me All Week.

Last night, I got this tweet.
Now there are a lot of things that make this tweet cool. To start, here we have an artist responding to a tweet about a customer showing off their work. He's proud to have made it! The purchaser is glad he bought it!

But for me, I'm glad to get to see an integrated marketing plan come together. You see, marketing was never meant to be a stand alone thing. It's part digital, yes, but another part of it is very real. Like knowing who your audience is, and that they like things like costumes from movies. Then tying cool things like super dope posters into a costume exhibition because they're fun, and carrying those posters in your store. Or making it easy to buy those posters, and telling people about it.

Now I don't know that @ZacAtherton bought those posters because he saw that email, or because I cat-shamed him into coming to see the exhibition (hmm, maybe that's where better data would come in)
but I do know he visited the museum and he had a great time, and even took himself home a coupla cool souvenirs.

It's not all about what's done online, although I'm proud of that work too. But integrated marketing is about the entire experience, and making that experience about something bigger than just your product. It's creating a connection with someone through their passion, bringing what's cool in their world to life. And it's about being there to share in their excitement. When you do things that way, everyone wins. The patron wins because he got to see a cool show and take home some fine work. The artist wins because he sold some fine work and connected with a fan. And we win because he made that connection at Phoenix Art Museum.

Seeing that in action might be the coolest thing that's happened to me all week.