Work


Blog Content: Collecting 101

Connoisseur: - a specialist of a given field whose opinion is valued; especially in one of the fine arts, or in matters of taste

So you’re thinking of collecting art. You want to see what the cognoscente have been talking about. You’re so eager that you are already seeing sculptures in the garden and water lilies over every hearth. The only problem is you don’t know nearly enough about art. What to do, what to do? Is there time for a quick course at your community college? Can you run out an buy a few books? What if I told you that your nearest museum was the best place to start? What if (and its often told to me) Art is the best part of your life, the best activity you ever pursued, and your legacy, all in one? Like any investment, collecting art is going to take some planning but is going to prove worthwhile. What if it altogether changes your life?!

A connoisseur (from the French connaisseur, derived from Middle-French connoistre, then later connaître meaning “to be acquainted with” or “to know someone/something”) is a person who has a great deal of knowledge on art, or is an expert where good taste is concerned. Internationally the term connoisseur is also used in the context of gastronomy, i.e. in connection with fine food, beer, wine (and other alcoholic beverages such as brandy and port), tea and many other products whose consumption is said to be pleasing to the senses. Think of it as a very pretty word to describe what you are about to become — and what you are about to become is a lifelong learner.

Modern connoisseurship finds its home in museums and art galleries, which is ironic considering such public and accessible places are the seat of what many see as pretentious and pertaining only to the wealthy. What makes connoisseurship so inaccessible to so many is merely the time that it takes to reach this status by objectively training the eye to not only look, but also see. Malcolm Gladwell is accurate in his theory that it takes ten years of regular work and study to gain expertise in any given field can take ten years. Connoisseur, curator and my personal hero Philippe de Montebello also talks in detail about exposing the eye and brain to a critical mass of carefully curated images, and if you have never heard him speak, I strongly recommend some of his past talks, now thankfully posted on YouTube.

The National Gallery of Canada, the Montreal Museum of Fine Art and Art Gallery of Ontario are perfect places to start your quest for knowledge and insight, especially symposia on art and collecting. Becoming a member of any of the above institutions will immediately put you in front of trends, putting you in the loop with newsletters and getting you to new exhibitions ahead of the public. Better, yet become a volunteer as well. The museum to me is a magical place; the experiential learning, the constant and regular exposure to great works of art, the colour of the light and smell of the air have a broadening effect on the mind. Make these places a frequent stop in the future because they will prove among your best investments of time. It gets your neurons wired together in tantric ways and gives you insight into what to invest in.

I recently heard someone say “At my age, maybe it’s not a good idea to collect so much any more,” which shocked to me to hear as by appearances didn’t look much older than fifty. People I asked about when writing for this topic tell me that it’s just at that stage when we should start worrying about synapses firing and preserving the mind. Collecting art is the ultimate in intellectual exercise. By being involved with the arts you are investing in not just your own health but that of the community as well. You also get to meet this community and its most creative members.


Blog Content

Books can (sometimes) Change Your Life


“This book changed my life.”


Or there’s the more promising prophecy that “this book will change your life.” We’ve all seen the cliché used and over-used across publishing. You would think that by now we would be immune to the appeal and draw of marketing that’s so transparently misleading, and yet I recently found myself several chapters into a book by Marie Kondo on how I can change my life by embracing her KonMari method of organisation. We parted ways, Ms. Kondo and I. She lost me at the part where I’m expected to get rid of my beloved books, and that sort of hard-line control sounds more like a cult than a method for organising your life. I highly recommend The Joy of Leaving Your Sh*t All Over the Place instead. That’s the actual name of the book, in case you plan to call the Glass House or my family about the profanity.

The only book I recall getting rid of was Marie Kondo’s. In writing school, I learned that this is called irony. But (I also learned that it’s perfectly acceptable to begin a sentence with but) while studying literature these past so-many years, I have become convinced that while one book probably won’t change much, reading many books by theme, subject or genre can change you for the better. I’m not exaggerating, and there is a growing body of research that all but confirms that reading, especially literary and historical fiction, has a measured effect on the brain and improves empathy, cognitive ability, and memory. In one study the brain activity of volunteers was monitored and recorded before, during, and after reading a few paragraphs of Jane Austen. Increased activity in the empathy centres of participants’ brains was marked, heightened, and protracted, and the data and conclusions could suggest that we humans need books, fiction, and stories for far more than just entertainment. We need stories to share, inform, teach, and learn life’s lessons…


Blog Content

With our second book and author, Book Club looks just beyond the horizon to our easterly neighbours.


If you’re looking for a better understanding or perspective of current events (especially the movement to decolonise the curriculum, the hostile environment story, the historical significance of the Windrush name) then I can’t think of a better resource than Andrea Levy’s Small Island. What’s noteworthy is that this great contribution to the genre almost never saw the light of day. Publishers and agents were especially reluctant to take a chance on writing that they saw as having no commercial appeal or potential interest. Her first three books, once published, saw critical success but none of the sales that Small Island achieved.


But novel and author challenged the pushback from publishing industry gatekeepers, both made and changed history, and sparked a new and enduring interest in the subgenre of Caribbean fiction. Levy had almost no real connection to Jamaica and spent no more than three weeks on the island in her lifetime, having grown up in a London home with parents who made efforts to assimilate and distance themselves from their island heritage. The author only found out of her father’s crossing on the Windrush when he one day mentioned it in passing during a TV programme on the topic, while ironing a shirt.


Levy admitted to not being particularly literary either; she read her first book at the age of 23 and only began writing to explore her own heritage and identity, eventually enrolling in creative writing courses at London’s City Lit. And yet the characters so relatable, prose so readable and overall, so easy to read it can be completed in a day. It employs devices that you might not expect to find in a comedy of manners. And it’s a combination of light heartedness and occasional comedy that helps to deliver an unforgettable story, five relatable characters and a believable portrayal of the difficulties of daily life on both sides of the Atlantic.


Winston Churchill acknowledged the contribution of Britain’s allies in an August 1940 speech, saying that, “never in the field of human conflict was so much owed by so many to so few,” but by the time that Levy’s story begins to take shape, the wartime help that came from British citizens in the Caribbean is conveniently forgotten, attitudes changed, and the welcome mats rolled up.


“If ever there was a novel which offered a historically faithful account of how its characters thought and behaved, this is it. But the sheer excellence of Levy’s research goes beyond the granddad tales of 50-year-old migrant experience, or the nuts and bolts of historical fact. Her imagination illuminates old stories in a way that almost persuades you she was there at the time.”


— Mike Phillips


Blog Content

Cayman Connection’s Book Club has grown from an idea shared with me by Cayman Connection ED Kate Kandiah into a little community of students, readers, and writers with remarkable speed.

The governing goals and guidelines that make up Book Club’s mission practically wrote themselves, reflecting the reading goals and habits of its three founding chairs with a surprising harmony. Kate’s love and knowledge of Caribbean literature gained during graduate studies in the field, combined with her mission to unite Caymanians studying and living abroad and build a community with services and programmes that enrich.

With so many young people in our community choosing their studies to prepare for careers in the financial services industry, Rita’s dedication to the arts and experience in cultural heritage preservation is unique and invaluable, reinforcing our common shared beliefs in the value of the humanities across life and society. We have approached the project from three unique directions, but surprising common ground. Hopefully my interest in fiction, focus on writing and storytelling’s importance across industry, government and the third sector round us out.

We’ve certainly reached consensus with our scheduled and suggested reading lists. They combine local voices, emerging talent, and the regions’ important writing. Chosen books hopefully entertain, inspire discussion of familiar themes and issues in Caymanian life, offer broad historical and social scenarios that might improve understanding of the Caribbean, and our place within it. Some of the books recommended might offer something of island cultures, similar and unfamiliar, that help to inspire a conversation about our own Caymanianness.

Our first two gatherings were well received, including a launch event featuring unpublished works by living legend J.A. Roy Bodden, followed by a reading and discussion of Andrea Levy’s Small Island. The White Woman on the Green Bicycle seems like the appropriate next choice.

Monique Roffey’s award-winning novel spans the eventful half century from 1956 (eight years after the story told in Small Island)…




Introducing Kapok

(Camana Bay Times, May 2022)

Visitors to Camana Bay will have probably noticed the bold-coloured, 10-storey structure going up on Bismarckia Way across from Foster's. When this landmark building opens in fall 2022, Kapok will offer 89 opportunities to lease and live in Grand Cayman’s most walkable neighbourhood, just in time to mark Camana Bay’s 15th anniversary.

Blog Content

What can Small Business do to Support Ukraine?


This has not been the best year for many areas of the economy, or the job market. If you’re a professional or aspiring communicator, it’s hard to see the PR profession in the same light either. The escalated abuse of PR to manipulate, skewer, and misinform is well documented, and the bibliography below is a fraction of the reporting from the past five years. The success of these campaigns has bought credibility for some and brought enormous wealth for others. That success has emboldened leaders to mislead and deceive their diplomatic counterparts without fear of consequence. The misuse of PR to manipulate public opinion, rehabilitate reputations, and infiltrate the highest levels of public life has been a remarkable, but not total success.

Edward Bernays and Ivy Lee were early pioneers of PR. They espoused high ideals, integrity, and transparency for the new applied social science and business function. Their hope was that the practice not become maligned with propaganda. But both Bernays and Lee eventually helped and advised brands, products and causes with far from noble ideals (including normalising and promoting cigarette smoking for women as an act of equality). Today, the companies and practitioners alleged to have helped obfuscate facts are doing this with a remarkable lack of foresight. Not only do they tarnish the entire industry by offering propaganda for hire, but they also become willing and well-paid accomplices to their clients.

While we all might feel powerless to influence the situation or outcome, small and medium-sized businesses, consultancies, and freelancers have likely made of use of grassroots and word-of-mouth techniques — and with surprising success. There is a way that we can affect change.


COMMUNICATE: Craft and post a statement on owned media channels that disavows Putin and his enablers, but does not demonize Russians, or incite hatred towards the 30 million Russophones that make up the Russian diaspora.

MONEY: Donate to Humanitarian appeals and relief causes via official channels or support local and national organisations that help Ukrainian refugees.

ADVOCACY: Leverage the power of your social media channels to raise awareness of events. Share breaking news stories from reputable sources like The Kyiv Independent, and amplify their message and stories via Twitter.


Blog Content

The Power of LinkedIn


Does your LinkedIn profile work for you?


Are prospective clients and customers finding you on LinkedIn?


Are recruiters and employers able to learn about your strengths from your LinkedIn profile?


Is your profile showing your best writing?


Does your company page highlight your product or services effectively?


Is your LinkedIn account an effective calling-card, storefront and CV?


In May 2023, LinkedIn will turn 20. Originally it was conceived, developed and marketed as a networking site where job seekers could post experience, employers would post job openings, and recruiters could find or research individual candidates for suitability. Today, LinkedIn offers far more than job opportunities. It’s a platform for networking, personal branding, advertising, market research and SEO. Since introducing a content publishing platform, LinkedIn has also become a leading and preferred hub for posting HR, business development, and CSR content.

Earlier in 2022, the company reached 822 million registered users. That makes the site an ideal forum to share content, showcase your knowledge, promote your expertise, or establish your thought leadership.

*

No time or resources to create content for your LinkedIn Page? No matter! I create original content based on methodical qualitative research, designed to enhance your personal brand. And that’s not all!

Looking for ideas for your blog, content strategy, or books on written communication? Visit my Recommended Reading List of over 100 books.


Social Media Content

Blue Bison offers the ideal complement to your #WFH strategy. Our proprietary software suite can be securely accessed remotely for all of your corporate, HR, payroll and financial reporting needs.

Editorial

Quarantine, Cayman Style

Cayman Marl Road,

July 2021


I am of the opinion that travel might have lost its last shred of appeal and romance for me. A case in point is my return to Grand Cayman on July 7th following a long day’s travel across Britain and the Atlantic. Soon. Then there’s the two-week quarantine


“Where did you vaccinate?”

It’s an odd question. Don’t you think? And I’m not really sure what the (I believe) young woman in the Hazmat suit, mask, and filter is trying to gather. But I’m pretty sure that I don’t understand because of the mask. Still, it’s an odd question, and I want to laugh because it reminds me of an episode of Friends — the one where Phoebe Buffay asked, “where does everyone summer?”

But I have been travelling for eighteen hours. And I need to quarantine. I’m coming from Manchester, the site of all those impromptu soccer raves, where the infection rates are already twice the British national average, so I can’t go home to risk passing Covid onto my father or the dog. And there’s been this toddler coughing over the seat in front of me, one of several children surrounding me on the flight over, all coughing in dissonance like some strange variation on the Von Trapp children rehearsing a late-life smoking cessation campaign. Maybe it’s this sleeping pill, but I’m in no mood to return the stares of this child who has been trying to play peekaboo with everyone in sight and screaming to get attention. I’ve spent the last nine hours with eyes shut but unable to sleep — not open my eyes, or God forbid look up because I know I won’t be able to resist offering this woman’s child one of my sleeping pills. When did gripe water (the branded and sweetened cocktail for loud travelling children) go out of fashion?

I’m aware of the likelihood that this young person is a volunteer. And my obligation to be polite. Volunteering is an important fact facet of Caymanian life. Whether part of parochial or civil duties, satisfying the points system for permanent residency or hoping for a spot on the New Year’s Honours list, this would be a far less pleasant place to live or visit without the benevolent community spirit of the people who live here. So I ask her to clarify, or perhaps repeat the question.

I ask Miss Hazmat Suit to clarify and elucidate. I honestly didn’t understand the question, which she repeats, only this time she asks it much louder and slower like I’m the naughty toddler, but dumber.

“Sir, I asked where did you vaccinate?!”

Oh, no, she didn’t. Seriously? You wanna play this game with me, Miss Grammar?

“Ummm, In the arm?”

I know from the eyes, which now remind me of Sarah Paulson’s interpretation of Mildred Ratched, that this is the wrong answer. She tries another line of questioning, even slower and louder. We could be here all day.

“Sir? What is the name of the place where you did vaccinate?”

“Oh, you mean where did I have the vaccine? Manchester.”

“Manchester, England?” I nod and try to smile behind my mask because I can tell where this conversation is going otherwise. A cubicle or if I’m lucky a totally private room with a surplus of rubber gloves, lubricant and laxatives. I’ve seen enough episodes of that show about daily life at Sydney Airport’s arrivals and customs to know I have to turn on the charm if I want to get to my hotel bed without the room service or body cavity search. I bite my tongue and resist saying, “No, sweetie. Manchester, New Hampshire.” I bite my tongue till it hurts. I don’t say this. But I’m really tempted to even if it means holding up the rest of the passengers from British Airways, flight 252. I realize I’m a little short on everything from patience to goodwill and deodorant, and I just want to get out of here. By the time I do get out of the terminal, I’ve been interviewed by seven people who have clarified that I have received the Oxford AstraZeneca vaccine. I’m put in a shuttle to a facility to spend the next five days. Solo.

The facility turns out to be a local hotel that buttresses the golf course, and it’s not that bad, really. It’s on the edge of the North Sound and boasts a stellar view. There’s a large suite, plenty of hot water and the bed is huge and comfortable. I mean, how bad can it — Holy shit! what the hell was that thing that just rolled across the floor?! It looks like a miniature tumbleweed. Like some small wild animal under the bed has coughed up a furball or the previous guest in this room spent the week combing out their weave and housekeeping missed the sacrificed remains. Oh, stop being so prissy, Arch. It’s not like you’re about to find anything else. Oh Jesus, is that a pubic hair?! I have got to get me one of those blue lights for when I travel, and some of that spray stuff like the liquid he uses on Dexter. Have I always been this nervous a traveller? I get out my DIY sanitation kit and get to work on the door handles, the phone and the toilet seat, mostly for fun.

You’re here for quarantine. That’s right; I may as well just go to bed and sleep this fatigue and stupidity off. My sense of humour is not going to return until I’ve had about twelve hours of rest. It’s only five days. I keep telling myself this, and I’m telling myself this when I receive it. An email. From some authoritative looking address connected with the government. Informing me that I’ll be receiving my COVID test and conditional release from this facility. You’ve got to be shitting me. In fourteen days? Fourteen days, what the hell is wrong with these people? Fourteen days?! I’m not staying in this shithole for fourteen days. There has to be some mistake. So, I put on my best be nice voice as opposed to my WTF voice and try calling the person who sent the email.

“You know you’re here for fourteen days because apparently you didn’t open the app and show the proof of vaccination when you were at the airport.”

“But I’ve sent you everything — all of this. In an electronic version. Scans. Screenshots, you name it. That’s what email is for, isn’t it? I mean. So that you don’t have to hand dealing paper, it’s the same reason why I’m not allowed to tip the staff here at the hotel.”

“Please be patient, Sir. We’re sending a team out to verify and authenticate your information and documents. It’s just part of our due diligence process.”

The due diligence proper process turns out to be two students on work experience. Well, I assume this because if they’re at a pay grade any higher than interns, we’re totally screwed as a society and I finally understand the need for all the imported labour.

Due diligence continues, degrades and shows its shortcomings over the next week, As I try to explain to no fewer than three visitors over five visits to the door of the hotel room. I try to keep calm and on the last visit. I’m successful when the app opens and in red letters from the NHS app it is confirmed that I did vaccinate and gives me the date of the vaccine. Both parties look at each other, look at the app again, read the text silently with moving lips then look back at me.

“So yeah, you should be good to go. Thanks for being patient.”

But no, that’s just the beginning of the nightmare. I call again. And again. And again.

“No, you’re still here for fourteen days. No, I really can’t say why.”

I try calling someone else. Fourteen goddamned days. On the 13th of July, after a full day’s work and pacing, I realize that there hasn’t been any food or water delivered to me for twenty-four hours. Yeah, yeah, I suppose I should have picked up the phone and asked. Or you know, been nice or done an Oliver Twist and begged for more but when you’re stressed and working and trying to hold it together and still trying to put in a week of studies, you don’t really notice these things and it’s not until your head is aching that you realize, Hey, I haven’t had anything to eat since this time yesterday. By now I’m slightly pissed (off, not drunk) at being overlooked and forgotten. I call Travel Time or Travel Friends or whatever the hell they’ve rebranded themselves now (like when Lime made that unfortunate rebrand transition to Flow, which to the consumer’s advantage rhymes with slow), and I declare an emergency. I want to get out of here. I want to go home. I want to see my dog and my father and frankly, I’ve now been here for exactly a week. I haven’t been offered so much as a coronavirus test, and I’m feeling slighted at being so spurned that I welcome the intimacy.

I guess Miss Ebanks is their secret weapon. She suggests that I remain patient and says I probably shouldn’t have sent her boss the deputy government governor that email suggesting that his staff is as useful and helpful as a marzipan dildo. Or was it an ice-cream dildo? Cookie-dough dildo? Play-doh dildo? But hey, I was hungry and you haven’t fed me.

“You should have called.”

“You should have done this.”

“You should have filled out the requisite food form and asked for it to be picked up and sent to the front desk.”

Of course, now I feel like I’m just getting victim-blamed and I say so much but Miss Ebanks has never heard of victim-blaming and tells me so. I decide to be silent and bide my time. Just shut up, behave yourself like a good student until you can get the hell out of here. These people are just inept. One friend keeps dropping off milk, tea, sugar and chocolate, Lord bless her. Another friend keeps offering to send martinis. It’s probably not a good idea to accept the martinis, and I do need to keep working so. I just drink tea and keep going on. Status quo, as they say.

Miss Ebanks, I guess, thinks that the best thing to do is to try to make friends with me and says when this is all over, we’re going down to the Mango Tree together. I agree until I Google the Mango Tree, which I’ve mistaken for the new bar at the Ritz. What the hell would I be doing in a place like Mango Tree?! Miss Ebanks sending me to the Mango Tree is like sending me subtly to hell. Or IHOP. Why else would she be telling me to go to the Mango Tree when this is over? Standing me up at the Mango Tree I realise, is her way of sticking it to me for complaining to Franz Manderson and comparing her to a flaccid, melting dildo. She also tells me that I should “Wash yuh draws in the sink,” with the soap provided. The soap is what they call dish soap if you’re reading this in America, washing-up liquid in Britain.

“Otherwise, try-so get somebody go cost-you-less and buy you some draws and marinas (Caymanian for white tank-top wife-beaters)”. For a split second, I make a mental list of all the people I feel comfortable enough to ask to go to Cost-u-Less and buy me a few pairs of emergency draws. I resign myself to the fact that when they find me here starved to death it will be in the lucky Versace underpants that I wore across the Atlantic. The superstition underwear I have on, to keep the plane from nosediving out of the sky. I don’t care how dirty they are. Miss Ebanks will have won otherwise.

“Smells like shit!”

Those were my exact words on the occasion of my first sampling of Jicky by Guerlain. I can still remember the day, twenty years ago when the client wafted the wand under my nose and asked for my off-the-cuff response. If you’ve never smelled Jicky, you’ll know that I’m not exaggerating. The stuff has a base-note of post-game jockstrap and flatulence and I dare you to sample the stuff and tell me you don’t smell it too. Furthermore, I must have had a point because the client kept me on for a whole year. So, if anyone comments that I’m beginning to smell a little ripe, my excuse is going to be that I’ve taken up wearing the trademark scent. Who cares if the stuff has been discontinued (due to its lack of popularity, no doubt)?

it’s been eight days and I am out of thinking. Erm, I mean out of ideas. I don’t know how to wash draws, much less anything else other than my dog in the sink so I’m sitting here, spraying myself in eau de toilette like a Havanan gigolo, or something out of the court of Louis XIV, hoping that by the time I am able to get downstairs for a COVID test I can still occupy a room without others’ vacating it, but the situation is fast degrading. I’m wondering how anybody else could do this for so many days. I mean, it’s not really the food or the lack of comfort (although they are not really generous with either, or bottled water and I am tempted to call H.M.P. Northward as I write this to find out how much drinking water an inmate gets in a day (for the record it’s 1500 millilitres here in quarantine). it is the absolute silence and lack of liaison that you’re denied and I frankly made some unfortunate comparisons between quarantine and Buchenwald during my little intermittent fasting that I really hope doesn’t get back to some friends in Montreal who are always inviting me to Hempstead for Passover. Hopefully, that will all be forgiven because, well, I was hungry. No, I was more hangry.

I’m really happy that this coronavirus business is coming to an end, and I pray that everyone will get vaccinated. Where you get vaccinated? It’s hopefully not going to be some defining factor in your quarantine time or how you’re treated. And I can’t help but wonder how tourism travel are going to recover from this. I mean, travel is just kind of losing its spark when the person taking your passport at customs is wearing a hazmat suit and when your bags are dropped off at quarantine, they get sprayed with some sort of solution. Disinfectant, I assume. It’s just not as…for want of a better word… It’s just not as…Romantic is it used to be. And that’s okay unless you’re holding stock in Cunard or that company that’s about to bring the Concorde back. And I know that things like the Norwalk virus used to break out on Cunard cruises all the time, so you have to, yeah. Be practical when travelling. I’m not a sensible person. I clearly am not a nice person either. When creature comforts are taken away from me, especially. But that’s why I don’t work in hospitality. I certainly won’t ever get a job in the civil service after that email “to all” about the pudding pop dildo, either.


Press Release

Blue Bison partners

with CaymanHR


(Published in the Cayman Compass, August 2021)

Blue Bison, the payroll and human resources management software provider for offshore markets, announced a strategic partnership with consultancy CaymanHR. CaymanHR will assist clients with human resources consulting, administration, and payroll operations, using Blue Bison as the software for local payroll and work-permit administration. “We are delighted that CaymanHR is to join the growing family of Blue Bison partners,” said Blue Bison’s Graham Pearson. “The alliance between our products and CaymanHR’s thought leadership represent a potentially winning match, and we’re excited to offer our clients the HR expertise that CaymanHR potentially brings to our customers.” The Blue Bison and CaymanHR partnership will also see the two firms collaborating on new product development. CaymanHR is an authorised reseller of BambooHR, a North American HR software that offers applicant and employee benefits tracking which integrates with Blue Bison to provide payroll solutions. Blue Bison’s software currently provides services to nearly 8,000 employees in the Cayman Islands and nearly 2,000 in Bermuda, the company said

Client Landing Page

Social Media Content

Our classy clients at Le Classique just unveiled these colourful passport covers to liven up your travel. Wheels up!

Client Bio

Elisabeth Legge is the dynamic founder and owner of Leggeprints.com, an online and by-appointment showroom of antique prints, based in the Yorkville borough of Toronto, Canada.


Her specialty is in supplying antique prints, copper engravings and etchings from the seventeenth century on to a diverse clientele, including architects, designers and discerning collectors worldwide.


An early adopter of technology, the internet and social media, Elisabeth made what was in 1997 a bold decision to showcase her inventory online as well as her little gallery which is tucked in a cobblestone Yorkville laneway; today the site showcases her gallery’s entire inventory online, allowing a younger generation of collector to browse and purchase prints, pay and arrange shipping via the internet. The response to these services has proven to be such a successful business model that Elisabeth now boasts clients in ten countries.


In 2009 Legge Prints was invited to join the coveted 1stDibs website; this has provided an even greater exposure to worldwide markets. Now a twenty-five year veteran of the antique print field, Legge Prints offers service such as conservation quality framing, appraisals and collection development. Elisabeth is also a 13 year member of the Canadian Antique Dealers Association of Canada, where she served as President for two years.

Client Landing Page


“When something can be read without effort, great effort has gone into its writing”

― Enrique Jardiel Poncela

Client Bio

Content Pending

Bio & Announcement

DVLF welcomes Katie Heisler to our board. Katie is a Philadelphia-based Project Management Professional, and leads a portfolio of marketing, PR, and special projects. Over a fifteen-year career she has worked on a variety of projects, campaigns, festivals and early on launched a brand of pretzels from concept to store shelves in sixty days. Her diverse skills have served across industry, non-profit, finance, insurance, and festival events.

Katie studied English Literature at La Salle University where she received a BA, with later training from the Institute of Project Management. An avid traveller and Scuba diver, she’s now tethered closer to home where she has recently taken up drone-flying with her son, Reef, named to honour and celebrate the coral ecosystems surrounding Grand Cayman (and the locale of her penultimate adventure before learning the news of his arrival). Katie leads with creativity, compassion, and a healthy curiosity. We look forward to partnering with her and welcome her skill for strategic planning and understanding of high-level goals, key initiatives, budgets, and risk management best practices that we’re confident will serve the LGBTQIAP community in the greater Philadelphia area.


Blog Content

What can Small Business do to Support Ukraine?

This has not been the best year for many areas of the economy, or the job market. If you’re a working or aspiring professional communicator, it’s hard to see the PR profession in the same light either. The escalated abuse of PR to manipulate, skewer, and misinform is well documented, and the bibliography below is a fraction of the reporting from the past five years. The success of these campaigns has bought credibility for some and brought enormous wealth for others. That success has emboldened leaders to mislead and deceive their diplomatic counterparts without fear of consequence. The misuse of PR to manipulate public opinion, rehabilitate reputations, and infiltrate the highest levels of public life has been a remarkable, but not total success.

Edward Bernays and Ivy Lee were early pioneers of PR. They espoused high ideals, integrity, and transparency for the new applied social science and business function. Their hope was that the practice not become maligned with propaganda. But both Bernays and Lee eventually helped and advised brands, products and causes with far from noble ideals (including normalising and promoting cigarette smoking for women as an act of equality). Today, the companies and practitioners alleged to have helped obfuscate facts are doing this with a remarkable lack of foresight. Not only do they tarnish the entire industry by offering propaganda for hire, but they also become willing and well-paid accomplices to their clients.

While we all might feel powerless to influence the situation or outcome, small and medium-sized businesses, consultancies, and freelancers have likely made of use of grassroots and word-of-mouth techniques — and with surprising success. There is a way that we can affect change.

COMMUNICATION:

Craft and post a statement on owned media channels that disavows Putin and his enablers, but does not demonize Russians, or incite hatred towards the 30 million Russophones that make up the Russian diaspora.


FINANCE:

Donate to Humanitarian appeals and relief causes via official channels or support local and national organisations that help Ukrainian refugees.


ADVOCACY:

Leverage the power of your social media channels to raise awareness of events. Share breaking news stories from reputable sources like The Kyiv Independent, and amplify their message and stories via Twitter.


News Article

Fine Art at Work: The Past, Present and Future of the Corporate Art Collection

(Originally published in TLOMA Today, December 2008)

What a half-century it’s been for the corporate art collection?! In less than fifty years the concept of corporate art buying and the collection that comes as a result have evolved from vestigial bump, to appended limbs that many companies have learned to put to good use, to the present-day phenomenon which is all but wings that carry small and large companies alike and serve a long list of management functions. It is almost as though art has grown into a complex and important extension of an organization’s structure and indeed its entire identity. Isn’t it ironic that in such economic times the greatest benefit to corporate may be culture itself?

The corporate art collection and its guardian the art consultant at nearly fifty years old are finally being given the acknowledgement that they deserve. Originally conceived as a means for banks to convey their wealth, strength globosity in the 1960’s, corporate collecting and collections themselves have matured into a commodity worth exponentially more today in marketing and PR dollars than the sum of a collection’s cash value

While it has taken almost five decades and an incredible amount of work and communicating to convince institutions to spend that single percent for public space art, those who have experienced the effect have never looked back. They have also wanted to keep this all a secret.

Until quite recently the collecting, curating, and enjoyment of contemporary art seemed to be reserved either for the very rich or major corporate players in the world’s art markets. A strange but welcome trend has become to emerge in the art world in the fifth decade of the corporate art collection – the small business collector.

Events and trends in luxury spending and investing continue to change the demographics of who collects contemporary art. As a result, small business, healthcare (both elective and the lifesaving sort) and most notably the legal professions make up a small, powerful, and growing minority consumer group.

With patronage and sponsorship as PR the corporate collector has become almost as important a facet of an organization’s identity as its name, logo brand or image. Some critics are suspicious of industry’s motivations for stepping in where governments once lent support. The art world, however, is delighted.

One of the best examples of this is the Deutsche Bank Collection. It is curated expressly to be confrontational, challenging, and provocative by its nature and only art with clear racist or sexist overtones is excluded from the committee for consideration. Even the topic of Deutsche Bank’s alleged involvement and participation in the holocaust is accepted if not encouraged as a subject in its acquired and installed pieces. Deutsche Bank was linked to the Nazi party as early as 1998 and was forced to admit that it financed the construction of Auschwitz concentration camp; in the decade since the company has embraced art that confronts these issues with the goal of seeming conciliatory and cathartic with monumental PR success, making it the topic of many an art history case study in the years since.

The future looks properly installed and well-lit too. Whereas the largest consumers of art were once a very few large banks and publicly traded corporate entities, today’s buyers are young and eager to have the same competitive edge for their law firms, PR companies and other small privately held companies. As governments make new cuts and banks go belly up, a new generation of small to mid-sized businesses are taking on the art world gamble, and not only surviving, but thriving.

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More Young Collectors Turning to Old Prints

The market for antique prints continues to buck the trend in Art & Collectibles

Toronto print dealer Elisabeth Legge never thought she’d be around to see the day when she, her business and her product would be hip and cool again.

“I realise that fashion and trends are altogether cyclical, but this is beyond my wildest dreams,” she says during a recent interview at her Yorkville gallery.

While uncertain economic times and fluctuating currencies have often hit the modern and contemporary art markets harder than others, young consumers have suddenly rediscovered the aesthetic appeal, desirability and value of antique prints, maps, copper etchings and pochoir prints.

Asked why she thinks the field is seeing such a renaissance, this former President of the Canadian Antique Dealers Association has a few theories, not least of them being that what’s old is new again. “I think that we are leaving behind the starkness of the mid-century modern redux. Consumers are realising that it’s okay to collect and display what makes them happy and not what designers and magazines dictate. For the past twenty years we’ve been stuffing our attics with our prized possessions regardless of the fact that they are meaningful to us. Young collectors today are savvy and confident enough to admit that they share the taste of their grandparents – that they had cool stuff.”

Add to that the value of the print in relation to the rest of the antique market, the fact that you are getting a work of visual art at what are currently far better prices than contemporary works by emerging artists, and you have this refreshing new trend in old collectibles.

Elisabeth’s trade has grown steadily since 2007 and now includes a burgeoning online business, a page on the feted 1stdibs website and new clients from all over the world. “We’ve been sending prints that we have had in stock for nearly two decades as far away as South Asia and the Channel Islands.” Designers are turning to Legge Prints like never before as well. Hotels are again turning to the artform to make their spaces feel more welcoming and authentic and Legge Prints recently supplied prints for a refit of the St. Regis Hotel in San Francisco.


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Are you thinking of starting a blog as part of your personal rebrand?

Or maybe you’re getting ready to launch a new product, brand, or business and the PR and marketing budget is nearly non-existent. You need a cost-effective way to get found, be noticed, and generate revenue fast.

Perhaps you already have a blog, maybe even two. Remember your small business website? It has a built-in blog. The web designers insisted that you need one, promised it would prove invaluable, and might have described it as “a vital business building tool” or some other term that went over your head. At the time you didn’t quite grasp that blogs require upkeep, attention, and well written content to be of any use. So now it just sits there, in need of attention and hasn’t been updated in months, or maybe years. Then there’s that blog that you started during lockdown to keep you sane or promote that new side hustle that just didn’t take off. It too has not been updated and is gathering dust.

We all agree that a blog is hard work. It needs attention, content, feedback, and a monthly update (at the very least). But it can also be an endless resource, able at once to satisfy most of your marketing, PR, SEO, and branding needs. Your blog is in fact one of the easiest and fastest ways of getting found, being noticed, and yes, inserting you in Google search results. Whether new or established, your cause, endeavour or organisation can benefit from a blog; a biweekly blog post in the weeks leading up to a launch or opening can make the difference between attention and obscurity




Press Release

Toronto Chef Brings Cuisine and Hospitality of Central Italy to Toronto



Ristorante La Cascina is Chef Luca Del Rosso's loving homage to the Cuisine and Hospitality of his native Abruzzo Italy


La Cascina brings the authentic Abruzzo culinary

experience to Toronto, thanks to the expertise of Chef

Luca Del Rossi and his wife Sharifa Jordan. The two have

endeavoured to offer Toronto an experience that closely

resembles the legendary hospitality and cuisine of

Central Italy, and pays a fitting homage to a region made

famous by its food, wine and friendliness.


The dining room is elegant, understated, soothing and

peppered with photographs and mementos of the

proprietors’ travels. Time stands still upon arrival.

Everything without exception is prepared to order.

The Antipasto for one or two is designed and assembled

to inspire; it whets the appetite without ruining it for

what is about to arrive next, which is always slow-cooked

and marrying the freshest Ontario produce with recipes

that are a closely guarded Del Rosso family secret. Cured

meats, artisanal cheeses, truffles and olive oils (seven of

them per the Chef’s requirements) are flown in or

purchased in Italy on a regular basis.

Wines have been just as lovingly selected to complement

each dish and many of La Cascina’s best are available by

the glass. Desserts are no different and are made

in-house and loyal to both region and the Del Rosso

family traditions.


Thanks to La Cascina, one need not even entertain the thought of travel; the region’s best are here for the discerning in a single sitting, thanks to an uncompromising dedication to quality and service.

Ristorante La Cascina was born in Manoppello, Italy in the Abruzzo region. After running a successful restaurant in Central Italy creator and Chef, Luca Del Rosso moved the concept to a deserving Canadian audience.

Ristorante La Cascina invites you to enjoy an Agri-turismo experience where the finest quality meats and cheese are sourced locally, specialty items are imported directly from Italy, and your meal is prepared from scratch. Pastas are made in-house, and the menu changes daily offering the freshness and diversity you would find in Italy.

The wine list offers Italian grapes from North to South. All the restaurants wines are imported privately and hand selected to complement the flavours of the cuisine. Forget the 8-hour flight to Pescara, Ristorante La Cascina brings Italy to you with authentic casereccio food, vino, and rustic ambience.

www.lacascina.ca





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Eight New York Artists | Figuratively Speaking

Ernest Concepcion, Mary Hrbacek, Heidi Johnson, Lori Nelson, Jason Stopa, Scott Walden, Ejay Weiss, Steve Zolin

Curated by Edward Rubin

The Fran Hill Gallery is pleased to announce a new exhibition entitled “In The End A Good Story Is All That Remains.” The exhibition features the recent work of eight “story telling” New York City based artists, each one unique in their focus, concerns, and manner of presentation. While much art on view today is about spectacle and requires 3 seconds to both digest and forget, the art and artists in “A Good Story” linger lovingly, as well as imaginatively, on the wonders of everyday life, the so-called intricate workings of the world around us. The age of the artists in this exhibition ranges from the young and emerging, to mid-career and old master, the latter in a neo classical sense.


Edward Rubin (Curator) is a New York based writer, curator, visual artist and consummate world traveller covering art news here and abroad. An active member of the prestigious International Association of Art Critics, his writings have appeared in such magazines as Art & Antiques, ArtUS, dART International, Canadian Art, ArtNexus, Flash Art, Hispanic Outlook, NYArts, and Sculpture Magazines, as well as online at www.artesmagazine.com and www.HUMA3.com. His photographs and collages have been exhibited at the Contemporary Art Museum in Baltimore, Maryland, Aldrich Museum of Contemporary Art in Ridgefield, Connecticut, and at numerous New York City art galleries. Currently his work, part of an exhibition titled NYC/International Perspectives, has been traveling throughout Russia, Germany, Hungary, and France for the past two years. His recent exhibition, Anne Ferrer: Billowing Beauty, curated at The Lab Gallery in New York City (May 13- June 3, 2011) was nominated for the Best Show in a Commercial Gallery 2010-2011 by AICA, The International Association of Art Critics, USA.


Article: An Escape from the Conventional

There is no mistaking Cafe Tabu for the ordinary; a dramatically swept spiral staircase and countless yards of crimson velvet are tell-tale signs to the visitor of the whimsical environment that awaits at the top. Bold emblazoned medallions seem to whisper a message of the culinary experience to come.

The focal point of the room at the top might be the gently curved bar and stone surfaces hued in a friendly Chinese gold, but the dramatic meeting place is easily as stunning; it comprises a perfectly circular chaise capable of seating ten. This is the perfect place to rendezvous for drinks and starters, followed by sorbet in the dining room.

The music is soft, relaxing, exotic and often live while the soft hues of candlelight welcome and soothe. Each table has been placed with comfort and privacy in mind. The influences in decor are from a variety of sources, all brought together with the goal of total and perfect harmony in mind. The dining room is reminiscent of an urban loft, a desert oasis, a shrouded and mysterious environment, but all at once. The environment has been designed to sooth and boasts some remarkably private and intimate spaces for a such a large restaurant.

Cafe Tabu boasts a vast and eclectic variety of wines from across the globe, many/most of which are available by the glass. The Cuisine Soleil menu is certainly as original as the cafe itself. Considered by many regular diners to be the most original and eclectic on the island, Tabu’s chefs have drawn inspiration from all over the globe; influences can be tasted as much as felt as diverse as the Greek Islands, the East Indies, France, Italy and the Caribbean. Cafe Tabu’s palette is a confident mixture, daring and bold as it is subtle. The recipe for lobster soup hails from Malaysia. The vegetables are exotic, fresh, and prepared in accord with the demands of Nouvelle Cuisine. The unique offerings are many and varied; the rack of lamb here is marinated in white wine and French mustard before being grilled. The pan-seared mahi-mahi is caught in local waters and served the same day

Desserts at Cafe Tabu are of course in-house creations. The spécialité de la maison is beignet-aux-bananes, a modern interpretation of the classic English Sticky-Toffee-Pudding recipe. The staff no longer bats an eye when second helpings of this dish are ordered.

Saturday nights are a truly special affair here. Thanks to the finest musical talents that these islands have to offer, guests are enjoy a fusion of jazz, calypso, and other sounds of the world. Cafe Tabu is truly an extraordinary haven from the mundane.

Please join us daily for lunch, and at six o’clock for canapes and cocktails; dinner service commences at from six-thirty. You may never want to leave.


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How to start an Antique Print Collection

How to start an Antique PRINT collection 1 BEGIN COLLECTING Perhaps the best advice we can offer is to begin to assemble a collection of what you LOVE and what interests you most whether it be maps botanicals architecture or erotica ...


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