• 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.

Are you willing to help other people succeed even when it’s not a requirement of your job to be of assistance?”

– Steven Schussler

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

– Maureen Cook

Friendship is the only cement that will hold the world together.”

– Woodrow Wilson

That which grows fast withers as rapidly; that which grows slowly endures.”

– J.G. Holland, novelist

Ambition is the germ from which all growth of nobleness proceeds.”

– Thomas Dunn

Destiny is a name often given in retrospect to choices that had dramatic consequences.”

– J.K. Rowling

Women once had the goal of being Superwoman; I think most of us now simply strive to have a super day.”

– Author, Activist Lee Woodruff

There are risks and costs to a program of action. But they are far less than the long-range risks and costs of comfortable inaction.”

– JFK

Great minds discuss ideas. Average minds discuss events. Small minds discuss people.”

– Eleanor Roosevelt

Running that first shop taught me business is not financial science; it’s about trading.”

– Anita Roddick, founder, The Body Shop

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

Confidence is the most important thing you can teach someone… if you can teach them confidence, you don’t have to teach them anything else.”

– Vin Diesel

Nobody talks about entrepreneurship as survival, but that’s exactly what nurtures creative thinking.”

– Anita Roddick, founder, The Body Shop

Instead of loving your enemies, treat your friends a little better.”

– Edgar W. Howe

Just don’t give up trying to do what you really want to do.
 Where there is love and inspiration, I don’t think you can go wrong.”

– Ella Fitzgerald

The real voyage of discovery consists not in seeking new lands, but in seeing with new eyes.”

– Marcel Proust

I’m not afraid of storms,
for I’m learning to sail my ship.”

– Louisa May Alcott

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

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

Find somebody to be successful for. Raise their hopes. Think of their needs.”

– Barack Obama

When the power of love overcomes the love of power, the world will know peace.”

– Jimi Hendrix

I find out what the world needs, then I proceed to invent.”

– Thomas Edison

This is the age when magical technologies make more and more radically fun ideas plausible, even easy. You’re only limited by your creativity.”

– Martha Beck

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

– Robert Louis Stevenson

The follow-your-gut mentality of the entrepreneur has the potential to take you anywhere you want to go or run you right out of business.”

– Bill Rancic, "The Apprentice"

Nothing in the world can take the place of persistence.”

– President Calvin Coolidge

A people who mean to be their Governors must arm themselves with the power which knowledge gives.”

– James Madison

Try not to become a man of success but rather to become a man of value.”

– Albert Einstein

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

– Jack Kerouac

The man who acquires the ability to take full possession of his own mind may take possession of anything else to which he is justly entitled.”

– Andrew Carnegie

The mind is everything. What you think, you become.”

– Buddha

You can only become truly accomplished at something you love. Don’t make money your goal. Instead, pursue the things you love doing.”

– Maya Angelou

A man is a success if he gets up in the morning and goes to bed at night and in between does what he wants to do.”

– Bob Dylan

If we all did the things we are capable of doing, we would literally astound ourselves.”

– Thomas Edison

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

– Abraham Lincoln

If you have built castles in the air, your work need not be lost; that is where they should be. 
Now put foundations under them.”

– Henry David Thoreau

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

The aim of life is to live, and to live means to be aware, joyously, drunkenly, serenely, divinely aware.”

– Henry Miller

The true entrepreneur is a doer, not a dreamer.”

– Nolan Bushnell, founder, Chuck E. Cheese's

The fixity of a habit is generally in direct proportion to its absurdity.”

– Marcel Proust

Acknowledging the good that you already have in your life is the foundation for all abundance.”

– Eckhart Tolle

We make a living by what we get; we make a life by what we give.”

– Winston Churchill

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

– Guy Kawasaki

A great secret of success is to go through life as a man who never gets used up.”

– Albert Schweitzer

It is possible to fail in many ways…while to succeed is possible only in one way.”

– Aristotle

I have spent a good part of my life convincing people that a blank sheet of paper is the greatest opportunity in the world, and not frightening at all.”

– Marty Skler, executive vp, Walt Disney Imagineering

What is the point of having free will if one cannot occasionally spit in the eye of destiny?”

– Jim Butcher, White Night

You don’t love someone because of their looks or their clothes or their car. You love them because they sing a song only your heart can understand.”

– L.J. Smith

‎That which grows fast withers as rapidly; that which grows slowly endures.”

– J.G. Holland, novelist

I will pay more for the ability to deal with people than any other ability under the sun.”

– John D. Rockefeller

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