• July 2015

The Business of History

“Tell me and I forget. Teach me and I remember. Involve me and I learn,” said Benjamin Franklin, whose undeniable genius, ingenuity, and wisdom helped shape the nation we live in today.

This month, we say cheers to the courage and determination of all of America’s Founding Fathers and Mothers, whom we also have the privilege of honoring and promoting through David Bruce Smith’s Grateful American™ Foundation — an organization for which Inkandescent Public Relations has been the executive producer since 2013.

Dedicated to restoring enthusiasm in American history, the Grateful American™ Foundation uses multimedia tools — including an online magazine, a TV channel featuring videos for kids and adults, a monthly radio program, and books — to shine a spotlight on the nation’s top presidential and historic homes, whose programs and tours aim to raise the nation’s history IQ.

“The Grateful American™ Foundation is the hub in the middle of the wheel of the nation’s top organizations that celebrate American history,” says Smith, an author and publisher based in Washington, DC. Since July 4, 2014, Smith has taken his audience inside such national treasures as George Washington’s Mount Vernon and President Lincoln’s Cottage, the Smithsonian’s National Museum of American History, the New-York Historical Society, and dozens more.

The inspiration for the title of the Grateful American™ Foundation came from his father, Robert H. Smith. “He always referred to himself that way, and I admired that. The DC community and this country have been good to my family, and he never forgot it. I haven’t either. This is my way of giving back.”

As our way of giving back, we celebrate the Independence Day issue of Be Inkandescent magazine with a Q&A with one of the great American sculptors of our age — Ivan Schwartz of StudioEIS. The artworks that he and his family create grace the grounds of nearly every presidential and historic home in the country.

From the statue of Honest Abe and his horse, Old Bob, standing proud at President Lincoln’s Cottage in DC (shown here), to the much-touched bronze of Thomas Jefferson at Monticello, and the iconic statue of George and Martha Washington at Mount Vernon, Schwartz and his team are prolific and talented. It was a pleasure for David Bruce Smith and me to interview him last month at his studio in Brooklyn, NY.

Scroll down for our Q&A, and click Play to watch our video below.

Also in this issue:

  • Historian Dr. Allida Black shares Eleanor Roosevelt’s belief that “Tomorrow Is Now” by allowing us to run the essay she wrote for the introduction of Roosevelt’s book — a page-turner that is as relevant today as it was when it was published in 1962. Don’t miss their Leadership lessons.
  • George Washington University professor Dr. Faye Moskowitz shares her take on Cokie Roberts’ new book, Capital Dames.
  • We introduce you to Nick Bunker, winner of the 2015 Washington Book Prize for his original take on the Boston Tea Party in the new tome, Empire on the Edge.

  • And our newest columnist, Chef Ann Butler, offers four recipes to cook up with your kids on July 4 — including two tasty creations courtesy of the James Beard Foundation’s Better Burger Project, as well as a side of easy-to-make sweet potato fries, and a beautiful Fruity American Flag. Find out how Chef Ann teaches kids to cook — so they will be well-fed, heart-smart, and healthy for life.

In celebration of all of our gifts and freedoms as Americans, the editorial staff at Be Inkandescent magazine leaves you with this parting thought from Thomas Jefferson, who said: No government ought to be without censors; and where the press is free, no one ever will.

Happy Birthday, America! — Hope Katz Gibbs, publisher, Be Inkandescent magazine • Founder, Inkandescent Public Relations

Ivan Schwartz Is Sculpting History

JULY 2015: THE FACE OF AMERICA

For years, sculptor Ivan Schwartz and his team have been carving 3-D replicas of the nation’s most famous figures. Now, we shine a light on the man who brings the legends to life.

By Hope Katz Gibbs, Publisher, Be Inkandescent and
David Bruce Smith, Founder Grateful American™ Foundation

American sculptor Ivan Schwartz is a painter and inventor who has always been interested in what lies in his peripheral vision. That perspective is incredibly clear when you’re here in his fantastic Brooklyn studio, StudioEIS.

The initials reflect the fact that StudioEIS is a family affair (the E is for Ivan’s brother, Elliot Schwartz (pictured above, left). They also work with their sister, Debra Schwartz, whom they credit with keeping the studio running smoothly.

Last month, we toured StudioEIS and talked with the sculptor about his past and what he envisions for his future. Scroll down for our interview.

And click here to watch the video of our day at StudioEIS.


David Bruce Smith: Tell us what you mean when you refer to looking at the world from a peripheral point of view.

Ivan Schwartz: We try to differentiate between what is real and what people hold in their imagination. For example, if we were commissioned to do a sculpture of George Washington, there is a huge difference between what has been written about Washington — extensive descriptions of his personality, how he smiled a lot and had a great sense of humor, and even liked to dance — and the images we see of him. So the question we ask ourselves is how can we find the real person that is not the construct of those painters, sculptors, and photographers. And that’s what I consider to be peripheral vision: It exists, but you have to mine it.

Hope Katz Gibbs: What made you decide to become a sculptor?

Ivan Schwartz: I think a lot of artists become artists because they were influenced by others. In my case, it was a high school art teacher. He knew I had no interest in all the regular studies that would have pointed me in the direction of a premed degree. Also, I think artists are speculators, and risk takers. They want to challenge themselves with ideas and the possibility of creating something that never existed before. The confluence of those two things shaped me.

David Bruce Smith: The result has been a very diverse portfolio, including sculptures of icons ranging from James and Dolley Madison to Andy Taylor from “The Andy Griffith Show” and Samantha Stephens from “Bewitched.” How did you make the shift from one genre to another?

Ivan Schwartz: We are able to make the transition, I think, because we started the business years ago making portraits. The first set was for the Richard Nixon Library, which was creating a portrait gallery of world leaders. We worked on Soviet leaders Nikita Khrushchev and Leonid Brezhnev, and Chinese revolutionary Mao Zedong, which was cool because all of these peoples were enemies during the Cold War. Those who did work in public spaces took note, and we started getting hired by entertainment venues, architects, and designers whose work is not limited to the literal or allegorical.

Don’t stop now! Click here to read more of the Q&A on the Grateful American™ Foundation website. To improve your History IQ, click here for tips from David Bruce Smith.

How Much US History Do Americans Actually Know? Less Than You Think. The Smithsonian asks David Bruce Smith how we can fix this problem

How much do you know about American history?

A 2008 study by the Intercollegiate
Studies Institute,
which surveyed more than 2,500 Americans, found that only half of US adults could name the country’s three branches of government.

The 2014 National Assessment of Educational Progress
(NAEP) report
found that only 18 percent of 8th graders were proficient or above in US history, and only 23 percent were proficient in civics.

American author and editor David Bruce Smith, founder of the Grateful American™ Foundation, talked with reporter Saba Naseem at Smithsonian magazine recently about his foundation’s efforts to restore a passion for history in kids and adults. Scroll down for excerpts of their interview.


Smithsonian: How did you develop a passion for American History?

David Bruce Smith: I was born loving history. When I was a little boy, my grandfather said I should read biographies — especially about great people like Abraham Lincoln, Thomas Jefferson, and Benjamin Franklin. He believed that knowledge would flow into my young mind and pool into a reservoir of wisdom that I would be able to tap in the future. It was good advice. My mother was also a bibliophile. She kept me supplied with books about everyone from Madame Curie and Winston Churchill to Catherine the Great and Joseph Lister.

Smithsonian: You started the Grateful American™ Foundation in 2014 and the Grateful American™ Book Prize in 2015. What was your inspiration for these, and what do you hope to achieve through the projects?

David Bruce Smith: The Grateful American™ Book Prize for authors of kid-friendly books based on factual events and people in American history was created partially because I was becoming more aware of the multigenerational historical illiteracy in our country. The prize, and our Grateful American™ Foundation, also honors my father, Robert H. Smith, who often referred to himself as a “grateful American.” We are a fortunate family, and because of that, he felt very strongly about giving back. During the last 20 years of his life, he devoted himself to education, and nothing excited him more than to see a child excited about learning — particularly history.

Hopefully, the prize and the Foundation will move kids — and adults — to become more enthusiastic about history via videos, games, and interactive activities.

Smithsonian: What can schools and parents do to foster interest in history for their kids? What are some innovative techniques you suggest?

David Bruce Smith: The onus of making an appreciable shift is — unfortunately — on the teachers, because often, parents have as little historical literacy as their kids. Most importantly: The teacher has to be interesting and imaginative, and he or she should have an educational credential. Class materials should be fun and exciting; all history is, after all, storytelling. Primary and secondary sources should also be included; they would give immediacy to whatever is being studied. And, because funds are scarce almost everywhere, why haven’t more businesses pitched in with resources? The students are their future employees. Better to have an informed workplace than not.

Smithsonian: Do you see this lack of interest in history among kids as a problem in just the United States, or is it a problem worldwide?

David Bruce Smith: I don’t know if history malaise is a worldwide problem. Though it is a prickly issue, it is solvable. It might take 25 years to fix, but slow progress is better than none.

Smithsonian: What books do you recommend for teachers to help kids learn about American history?

David Bruce Smith: Here are some books I recommend:

  • Esther Forbes’ “Johnny Tremain” (Revolutionary War)
  • Louisa May Alcott’s “Little Women” (Civil War)
  • “The Diary of Anne Frank” (World War ll)
  • Margaret Mitchell’s “Gone With The Wind” (Civil War)
  • Mark Twain’s “Huckleberry Finn” (Civil War)
  • Leon Uris’ “Exodus” (World War ll)
  • Irving Stone’s “Those Who Love” (Abigail and John Adams)
  • “Love is Eternal” (Mary Lincoln and Abraham Lincoln)
  • “The President’s Lady” (Rachel and Andrew Jackson)

Smithsonian:: What period of American history is most intriguing to you?

David Bruce Smith: My favorite period is the Civil War. A troubled time, but also a “Second” Declaration of Independence. I believe it was the formal beginning of civil rights, and for the disenfranchised, the eventual Emancipation Proclamation was the first concrete document to push for freedom and equal protection under the laws of the Constitution. Out of all the bad, some good has come — so far it’s been a 150-year search of questioning, questioning, questioning, and trying for the most part to make a better country — even if the way forward has been more of a zigzag than a straight line.

Click here to learn more about David Bruce Smith’s Grateful American™ Foundation.

The important thing is not being afraid to take a chance. The greatest failure is to not try.”

– Debbi Fields, Mrs. Fields Cookies

Pretend that every single person you meet has a sign around his or her neck that says, ‘Make Me Feel Important.’ Not only will you succeed in sales, you will succeed in life.”

– Mary Kay Ash

In three words I can sum up everything I’ve learned about life: it goes on.

– Robert Frost

Don’t follow, lead. Don’t copy, create. Don’t start, finish. Don’t sit still, move. Don’t fit in, stand out. Don’t sit quietly, speak up. (Not all the time, sure, but more often.)”

– Seth Godin

Education is not the filling of a pail, but the lighting of a fire.”

– William Butler Yeats

When I was younger I thought success was being a star, driving nice cars, having groupies. But today I think the most important thing is to live your life with integrity.

– Ellen DeGeneres

The young man knows the rules, but the old man knows the exceptions.”

– Oliver Wendell Holmes Jr., U.S. Supreme Court justice

A lot of people have ideas, but few decide to do something about them now. Not next week. But today.”

– Nolan Bushnell, founder, Atari

To find what you seek in the road of life, leave no stone unturned.”

– Edward Bulwer Lytton

With ordinary talents and extraordinary perseverance, all things are attainable.”

– Sir Thomas Fowell Buxton

Change is a math formula. Change happens when the cost of the status quo is greater than the risk of change.”

– Alan Webber, author, "Rules of Thumb"

Many people prefer to play it safe when it comes to business matters. Are you willing to take risks in the pursuit of entrepreneurial success?”

– Steven Schussler

The best hobbies are the ones that take us furthest from our primary occupation.”

– Dr. Evelyn Vogel, Dexter

I may not be able to change what takes place, but I can always choose to change my thinking.”

– Michelle Sedas

You must learn to be still in the midst of activity 
and to be vibrantly alive in repose.”

– Indira Ghandi

You only live once. But if you do it right, once is enough.”

– Mae West

Pain is inevitable. Suffering is optional.”

– Dalai Lama

When we speak we are afraid our words will not be heard or welcomed. But when we are silent, we are still afraid. So it is better to speak.”

– Audre Lorde

Whosoever knows how to fight well is not angry. Whosoever knows how to conquer enemies does not fight them.”

– Lao Tzu, Tao Te Ching

Sometimes the dreams that come true are the dreams you never even knew you had.”

– Alice Sebold, The Lovely Bones

The less effort, the faster and more powerful you will be.”

– Bruce Lee

Success is about finding a livelihood that brings joy, self-sufficiency, and a sense of contributing.”

– Anita Roddick

It is only with the heart that one can see rightly,
 what is essential is invisible to the eye.”

– Antoine de Saint-Exupéry

To follow, without halt, one aim: There’s the secret of success.”

– Anna Pavlova

Some things are destined to be—it just takes us a couple of tries
to get there.”

– J.R. Ward, Lover Mine

Practice kindness all day to everybody and you will realize you’re already in heaven now.”

– Jack Kerouac

In the middle of difficulty lies opportunity.”

– Albert Einstein

Don’t judge each day by the harvest you reap, but by the seeds you plant.”

– Robert Louis Stevenson

Life shrinks or expands in proportion to one’s courage.”

– Anais Nin

An entrepreneur tends to bite off a little more than he can chew hoping he’ll quickly learn how to chew it.“


– Roy Ash, co-founder of Litton Industries

Once you find something you love to do, be the best at doing it.”

– Debbi Fields, Mrs. Fields Cookies

Ripeness is all.”

– William Shakespeare

A diamond is a lump of coal that stuck with it.”

– Norwegian proverb

If you think you are too small to make a difference, try going to sleep with a mosquito in your room.”

– A wisdomism

There is little success where there is little laughter.”

– Andrew Carnegie

Always bear in mind that your own resolution to succeed is more important than any one thing.”

– Abraham Lincoln

The best reason to start an organization is to create a product or service to make the world a better place.”

– Guy Kawasaki

‎Excellence is to do a common thing in an uncommon way.”

– Booker T. Washington

Education is the ability to listen to almost anything without losing your temper or your self-confidence.”

– Robert Frost

The curious paradox is that when I accept myself just as I am, then I can change.”

– Carl Rogers

If you limit your choices only to what seems possible or reasonable, you disconnect yourself from what you truly want, and all that is left is compromise.”

– Robert Fritz

When a dog runs at you, whistle for him.”

– Henry David Thoreau

My task is really not to change myself but to become familiar with who I am.”

– Maureen Cook

Don’t follow your dreams. Chase them.”

– Richard Dumb

Death is to lose the earth you know, for greater knowing; to lose the life you have, for greater life; to leave the friends you loved, for greater loving; to find a land more kind than home, more large than earth.”

– Thomas Wolfe

Don’t wait for someone else to lead you to your right life; that privilege—and responsibility—is yours alone.”

– Martha Beck

The only dream worth having is to live while you’re alive and die only when you’re dead.”

– Arundhati Roy

Don’t sit down and wait for the opportunities to come. Get up and make them!”

– Madam C.J. Walker

No man will make a great leader who wants to do it all himself, or to get all the credit for doing it”

– Andrew Carnegie

If your success is not on your own terms, if it looks good to the world but does not feel good in your heart, it is not success at all.”

– Anna Quindlen

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