Category Archives: Blog

The Power Of Music: How It Boosts Creativity And Inspires Your Art

by Lucy Chambers
JAM Contributing Writer

Many of us intuitively know the power music has to get our creative juices flowing and inspire art, but there’s also research to back it up. In one recent study, participants tried various creative exercises all measuring divergent thinking — the ability to come up with creative or innovative ideas. Participants who listened to happy music did significantly better than those who performed in silence. These results suggest listening to happy music can boost creativity and open you up to new ways of approaching your art. But let’s take a deeper look at how music listening promotes creative thinking by stimulating higher brain function and altering mood.

Music boosts higher brain functioning

It’s not just happy music which has a positive effect on the brain and creative abilities. When people listen to their preferred genre — whether it’s classical, rock, pop or jazz — they perform better on cognitive tests. For example, in one study, participants who listened to Franz Schubert achieved higher results than participants who sat in silence. The experiment was then performed again, but with participants listening to a Stephen King audiobook. The listening preferences of the individual were found to matter most. “The people who liked Mozart better do better after Mozart, and the people who liked the story better do better on the cognitive test after the story”, Glenn Schellenberg, psychology professor at the University of Toronto and leader of the study, explains.

The link between creativity and positivity

While it’s difficult to measure the extent to which listening to music boosts creativity, it’s been proven to inspire higher brain functioning — which is necessary to reach your full creative potential. All that matters is you like the music you’re listening to. If the music puts you in a positive mood, your art and creativity may benefit as a result. This is likely because happiness is a positive emotion which opens up the mind and awakens our desire to explore, create, and play, explains researcher Barbara Fredrickson.

Music and creative brain waves

Further research has shown the power music has on brain waves, which helps make sense of its ability to inspire creativity and art. When you’re awake, your brain produces beta waves between 14 and 20 hertz. Beta waves are stimulating; they improve focus, logical thinking, memory, and problem solving. When you’re in a creative flow, your brain heightens to alpha waves between 4 and 7 hertz. Your brain also produces alpha waves between 8 and 13 hertz when you listen to music with a pulse of 60 beats per minute. So, listening to relaxing music — like classical music, for example — can help you become more creative and inspired.

Ultimately, if music can put you in a positive frame of mind, it may benefit you cognitively and creatively. However, that’s not to downplay the potential benefits of listening to sad music either. Sad music elicits feelings of empathy, which can expose you to creative insights you wouldn’t otherwise get. So, the next time you have an art session, put on some music and unlock your full creative potential.

Lucy Chambers is a professional freelance writer with many years experience across a variety of sectors. She made the move to freelancing from a stressful corporate job, and loves the work-life balance it offers her.


After a diligent year and a half, Sion Lidster and Jason Kurtz of Full Circle Book Co-op will open their official brick-and-mortar location in Sioux Falls. A creative space for local artists of all ages and trades, FCBC is sure to be a springboard for countless local projects and ideas. We are so excited for our brothers in grassroots art advocacy. Congratulations and welcome to downtown!   – Tana

Tana: Tell us a little about the Full Circle Book Co-op. What is it? How did the idea come about?

Sion Lidster: In its most basic form, the FCBC is a creative hub – based around a used books shop, events space and beer/wine/coffee/conversation bar – that serves affordable food!

The idea is to create a place where artists and fans of the arts can come to hang out, talk, work and meet each other. I hope that it will help inspire artistic projects and ideas.

A physical space is important in artistic movements, and I believe that service to the arts goes far beyond the artists themselves. It becomes the duty of businesses to afford artists their lifestyle, if they do indeed support that community. This means low prices and open arms. It means a meal that won’t break the bank, a full coffee cup, a round of beer and merriment. We want to feed the arts, literally!

The idea came about in order to solve a problem we were facing. Me and my friend and business partner, Jason Kurtz, both run literary non-profits, and we were struggling to find all age venues to host our events that didn’t cost more than we could afford. We decided to work together to create a space that would not only provide this, but would hopefully become an inspiring home for all artists looking for one. The co-op idea came about because we want to encourage community, but want to make it clear that you do not have to be a member to shop with us – our membership program provides additional benefits.

After a year and a half of pop-up shops and events around the community, you guys have secured a physical location. Was that always the goal? What has been the process? Where will it be located?

It was always the goal to have a physical location. In fact, we were quick to announce that the space was coming last summer before we hit some road bumps (we are artists and optimists first)! Those road bumps taught us some valuable lessons that we are now bringing to our new location. Funnily enough, the location we have now was actually the first place we ever wanted to lease – so, full circle it is!

We will be located at 123 W 10thSt, Downtown Sioux Falls (the former Hydra building).

What’s your vision for the space?

You will walk through the door to an eye full of books and histories. You will walk on and find someone writing in a notebook. There may be a passionate conversation at the bar. There’ll be poetry on the walls. There will be an artist selling their wares in a booth. A non-profit will be holding a meeting in our scriptorium. You’ll look at a menu of delicious, shareable meals. Depending on the day, you may be treated to open mic poetry, live jazz, stand-up comedy, independent theatre, figure drawing, or a zine-making workshop.

A place where you are going to come and find a surprise – whether that is a book that you never knew you wanted, a painting you’ve never seen, or a person you’ve never met. A community meeting point, open and welcoming to all.

You launched a Kickstarter to raise funds toward initial expenses. Can you give us some of those details?

Yes, we have a Kickstarter running until Thursday, October 18th. We are asking for $10,000 dollars to cover initial start-up costs, such as inventory, kitchen equipment, building improvements/maintenance, licenses, and the Kickstarter costs themselves.

We are offering a number of rewards for your donations, from gift certificates to swag bags to lifetime memberships, and more! More info here.

For those who might not be able to help monetarily, what are some other ways they can offer support?

Being a grassroots effort, there are many ways to support us that does not require your money. Sharing our posts. Inviting people to our events on social media. Interviewing us. Holding events with us. Word of mouth. Handing out fliers. Volunteering. Donating books.

Currently, $100 (100 points), a donation of 100 books (100 points), or volunteering 20 hours (5 points an hour), or a combination, will get you a year’s rolling membership. These are real physical ways to keep the doors open.

You are for the community by the community. What are some ways the community can get involved once your space is up and running?


The easiest way to get involved is to just simply ‘turn up.’ Come and buy our books, drink our coffee, join us for happy hour. Come and eat with us, break bread, share your news. Be a part of what this could be. The dream is to make this a living space, something memorable. We cannot, and don’t want to, do it without you.

If you want to hold an event, get in touch with us. If you have a non-profit and need a meeting space, get in touch with us. Consider us for your birthday parties, holiday parties, fundraising parties…
Come and perform with us, share your poetry, your acting, your painting. Bring us your books and prints to sell on the shelves…
Come to our classes, become members, bring a friend…
Create with us…

When will you officially open?

The official opening date is Friday, November 2nd. There will be a weekend full of festivities!

What kind of events will you host?

Open mic poetry, independent theatre, writing courses, TED-X style presentations, game nights, pub quiz, figure drawing, independent cinema, first page reads, writing critiques, cultural celebrations, salon-style conversations, live comedy, live podcasting, book clubs and book explorations, artistic happy hours, acting classes, photography classes, journaling classes, jazz brunch… and more!
We have many lists!

Even though you are a book co-op, like you said you are a creative space, and will have opportunities for a ray of artists. What kind of opportunities will you have available to visual artists?

When I speak of artists I speak of all mediums –  written, visual, and beyond.

We want a space that is dedicated to a featured monthly visual artist. Somewhere where, instead of merely hosting work as a backdrop to our shop, we are working with the artist as part of an idea, an installation, for them to get the best of their work.

We are also going to have a space to sell prints, as well as a booth that can be hired at any time during our opening hours for people to sell their work (not specific to visual, but totally included.)

How can they reach out to you to get involved?

The easiest and quickest way is by liking and messaging us on Facebook, where Jason will get back to you quickly.

What is the best way to keep in the know? Newsletter sign-up, Facebook?

Join up to our newsletter (
Like us on Facebook/Instagram (@fullcirclebookcoop)
Donate to Kickstarter

How do you see things a year from now?

Looking back on one hell of an experiment, hopefully with a full house of poets and artists to celebrate with us!

Any other pertinent details I might be missing? 

I think this covered the wider, more in-depth bases really well. Got to cover ground that our ‘elevator pitch’ doesn’t scratch, so thank you very much for the questions!!!

Make sure to mark your calendars for November 2!


How To Enrich Visual Art With Audio Elements

by Lucy Chambers
JAM Contributing Writer

Keith Salmon is a landscape painter from Scotland and he does moody landscapes with pastel and paint. His vision has deteriorated over the years. His weakening eyesight has prompted him to adapt his artistic style by adding audio elements to his art installations, thanks to a little help from Microsoft. His art installation, “The Oregon Project,” utilizes an array of soundtracks and overhead speakers. Any artist who wishes to use audio to boost the appeal and resonance of art should choose a sound that evokes meaning and select suitable sound equipment.

Choose sound that evokes meaning

To create an art display with more power and impact, an artist must add sound that enhances the mood and feel of an individual piece of art, or series of works. It’s important to choose sound that evokes appropriate emotions. Landscapes will be enhanced by nature soundtracks, or music made with old-fashioned instruments (pipes or drums, for example). Contemporary art with an avant-garde or industrial vibe will be enhanced by sound from synthesizers and/or digital drum machines, or by recordings of sounds of the city or industrial processes. Match the sound to the art to intensify mood.

Which sound equipment is suitable?

Audio interfaces which help artists to improve the sound quality of computers and expand the sound capabilities of computers are smart purchases. Speakers with ultrasonic, parametric performance are also popular choices for art installations, as they give artists the power to project sounds onto an array of surfaces. For example, these speakers may be used to make it seem like the sound is coming directly from sculptures. Keith Salmon chose overhead speakers to transmit sound during his art exhibit. According to, the space that an artist uses to exhibit art, should be considered before an audio setup is created. Some artists utilize old-fashioned audio equipment, such as older radio and cassette players, because they offer visual appeal and are prized by collectors.

Test out a sound system carefully

Artists will need to control sounds in specific environments, such as galleries or showrooms, and this is sometimes tricky. Artists should test out sound systems carefully before they use them. In other words, if an exhibition is planned, an artist should spend some time setting up the system, trying it out and tweaking it (if needed) before welcoming the public. Sound does add depth and meaning to visual art. It’s another way to reach the hearts and minds of art fans.

Lucy Chambers is a professional freelance writer with many years experience across a variety of sectors. She made the move to freelancing from a stressful corporate job, and loves the work-life balance it offers her.


What is Finding Our Voices?
FOV is a visual exhibit of domestic violence & sexual abuse stories told through art. (Can be anonymous.)

What is our purpose?
To inspire hope & healing, to give survivors a voice, & make resources known for those in need.

Where can you see FOV?
Beginning in October 2018, FOV will travel throughout Sioux Falls & surrounding communities— College campuses, churches, art galleries, etc. First featured event will be at Take Back the Night.


Want to get involved or have questions?
Contact us!

unDefined, Inc
PO Box 467
Sioux Falls, SD 57101
Phone: (605)321-0077



  • Application Deadline:  July 23rd, 2018
  • Title: Literary Themed
  • Email:
  • Phone: 605-332-2665 ext 11

Description Of Exhibition: A juried exhibit of artwork using paper/books as a medium. Art that is inspired by paper/reading, words, books etc. Both two and three-dimensional work is eligible.  If you are a creative crafter, artist or DIY’er, REACH is excited to be in touch with you and learn about your creative work!

To Apply:

  1. Complete the Entry Form and Feature Exhibition Disclaimer
  2. Email to Paige Carda, PAIGE@REACHLITERACY.ORG

**Make sure to include on THE SUBJECT LINE “ARTISTS ENTRY”

REACH Artist Entry Form

REACH Literacy Center will host 20 pieces of art each month. This art will be for sale in our store and REACH will take a modest 25% commission. Items will be placed throughout the store and merchandized to show off your work and our bookstore.


by Lucy Chambers
JAM Contributing Writer

Art is one of the most historic forms of human interaction and a popular pastime among many. In fact, studies from Harvard’s Women’s Health Watch show that creating visual art can reduce the effects of stress, promote relaxation, and even improve emotional resilience. Couples can re-discover the power of creativity through painting canvases and promote discussion. So, no matter how good you are at it, painting can allow you to test your partner’s artistic side and see how well you both interact to new experiences. Here’s why taking a painting class makes the perfect first date for art lovers.

Create A Fun, Stress-Free Zone

Remember those awkward moments where you sat in silence on a previous date? In a world focused on social media, people tend to get distracted by their digital conversations rather than their actual date. With a painting class, you won’t have to worry thinking about what to say next. In fact, there is no time for awkwardness. Between the time you spend on listening to the guide and following instructions, painting your canvas, and sipping wine, there will be plenty of time to discuss your artwork, laugh with each other, and enjoy your time spent together.

Set the Tone for Your Relationship

The first date sets the tone for the rest of the relationship. According to the University of Texas, studies reveal that men and women evaluate potential partners through face-to-face context. Humans focus on how that person behaves and makes them feel in person that cannot be felt in cyberspace. Whether it is a good experience or even a disaster, how we create first impressions are vital to meeting someone new.

Show Off Your Creativity

Taking a painting class allows you to express your creativity and artistic side. It allows you to create something together and show off your skills. Not to mention, you will both achieve a sense of accomplishment when the artwork is actually finished. So, whether you or your partner enjoy art, this thoughtful experience will provide the perfect opportunity to learn something new about them and yourself.

Lastly, nothing makes a great “first” date as much as having fun while you try something new. Whether it is your first time or the hundredth time you’ve painted, taking your date to an art class will become a fresh new experience the both of you can remember and enjoy.


Lucy Chambers is a professional freelance writer with many years experience across a variety of sectors. She made the move to freelancing from a stressful corporate job, and loves the work-life balance it offers her.


Our fantastic board of directors steers our nonprofit, and we are currently seeking to fill empty positions.  No matter your skill set or trade, if you have a passion for community and the arts, we would love to have you sit at the table with us.

• Up to 8 hours of your time a month (includes monthly meeting)
• Ability to afford the JAM VIP Membership ($25/month, or $250 one-time annually)

Drop off or email us an APPLICATION at We can’t wait to hear from you!


Mixed media journaling is a great way to stay busy (and creative) while school is out.

Looking for a low cost, easy way to promote creativity in your child over the summer months? Mixed media art journaling is a great, low-pressure and therapeutic option that allows your child to find his or her own voice, document memories, express ideas, spur dialogue, even tune fine motor skills.

Building the base of your child’s journal can be as simple as picking up a notebook or book with blank pages from the bookstore, or as in-depth as binding your own using repurposed paper materials. If you are feeling ambitious, Pinterest has a lot of ways to build and bind your own journal.

The fun part about mixed media journaling is that there are no rules! So, how your child chooses to keep their journal is up to them. It can be as minimal as writing a sentence or quote, drawing a picture or cutting and pasting. The site is a fun place to find writing prompts, or a question-of-the-day to get them started. These can also provide great dinnertime conversation.

Use of various writing/drawing materials can increase a variety of sensory experiences, as well as allow them to creatively explore. From crayons to pencils to markers, even watercolors, pastels and chalk; the sky is the limit. Do note, if you choose to use materials like Sharpies or paints that have a tendency to bleed through, make sure the paper stock is more heavy duty.

Let them get creative with their materials. Encourage them to think outside the box by using photos, cutting pictures or words from magazines, adding found items like pressed flowers or leaves, or incorporating stickers or stamps.

Recap the day with some journal time before or after dinner, document summer travels, fill waiting time…whatever it may be, an art journal is easy to transport, cheap to make, and fun to look back on together.

CFA: RFP for Downtown Yankton Art Alleyway Project

Calling all Artists!

The Meridian District Board of Directors  and the Art Alleyway committee is seeking proposals for the design and installation of a mural in the alleyway located in the Meridian District in Downtown Yankton, South Dakota, located between the blocks of Walnut and Douglas Street on the Northside of 3rdStreet.

Please see the attached RFP for additional details.

RFP for Merdian District Artwork


5PM | August 1, 2018

Ashli Danilko | 605-660-9821

CFA: 42nd Annual Fine Arts Exhibit

42nd Annual Fine Arts Exhibit and Deadline Announced


The Brookings Arts Council is excited to release the Call for Art for the 42nd Annual Fine Arts Exhibit in early August. The rules and entry forms for Fine Arts Exhibit and Competition are now available online and at the Brookings Arts Council. We always look forward to seeing the art submitted to this exhibit as it is always amazing!

This annual exhibit is open to residents of South Dakota, 18 and older. All media, with the exception of photography, are eligible. There is a limit of two pieces per artist and the work must have been completed within the past two years. The entry fee is $20.00 per piece with cash prizes awarded to the top four pieces.

The deadline for entering is Friday, July 27th at 5 pm and the exhibit will officially open August 1st. The artists’ reception will be held Thursday, August 2nd from 4:30 to 6:30pm with awards being presented starting at 5pm.

The Brookings Arts Council is open Tuesdays through Saturdays, Noon to 5. There is no admission charge. For more information or copies of the form, contact 605-692-4177, email at , stop in at 524 4th Street in Brookings or check the website at