They tell me Medium readers need images or, better, animated gifs to be captivated by an article. (This article has none.) You’re better than that, right?

Batteries not included.

Some assembly required.

Just add water.

For me, a work of art is raw material until it engages individuals and communities…

A “little free library” at the African American Museum of Iowa; Cedar Rapids.

Batteries not included.

Some assembly required.

Just add water.

This work spans two exhibitions, links four organizations (two cultural centers, two schools), brings dozens of individuals into direct or indirect interaction, and offers a new treasure to the community.

For me, a work of art is raw material until it…

Photo by Fachry Zella Devandra on Unsplash

Notes for the dear reader:

This is my fourth article on cultural substrate: the infrastructure of community attitude and practice that engenders a robust artsphere (arts ecosphere) in which artists and arts enthusiasts can thrive. You may read the first, second, and third articles by clicking on their links. …

Photo by Highlight ID on Unsplash.


Cultural substrate is a new concept with which every artist, creative, and arts enthusiast should become familiar and help propagate. Cultural substrate is the nourishing neural and circulatory system for a regional or community artsphere (arts ecosphere.) Where there is a robust cultural substrate, artists will find their communities more…

Photo by Stanislaw Zarychta on Unsplash.


Last time I introduced you to “cultural substrate” — a meta- or umbrella-level of support for artists, cultural organizations, and all the arts enthusiasts (that’s all of us!) and communities that benefit from the arts. You can review that article here. In that introductory conversation, I provided examples of painters…

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We all know the saying, “a rising tide lifts all boats.” Well, as fertile soil grows better plants, a vibrant and vigorous cultural substrate nourishes a prosperous arts industry.

Introduction: Defining Cultural Substrate

Are you interested in the arts? (You write or read, don’t you? So, I’ve already snared you!) Are you interested in…

Photo by Karim MANJRA on Unsplash.

The ending to this story won’t surprise anyone who is open-minded and curious like myself, expecting to find enrichment and insight anywhere. Yesterday, I went to New York to find treasure in my backyard in Iowa. I didn’t literally go to New York and the treasure has not materialized. …

Photo by Joseph Ngabo on Unsplash.

Four Districts and Sixteen Towns

Let’s start with the premise that I have no idea what I’m talking about. That will temper your incredulity and mitigate your meltdown. I don’t what you to get an ulcer or have a transient ischemic attack. …

Photo by Martin Adams on Unsplash.

Weekends are a great time to relax and recharge and be productive. Here are some interesting reads I have found I would like to share with you to make your weekend go a bit better. Have a great weekend.

The Little Flower That Could

Please indulge me. I always start and end these posts with…

Photo by Unseen Histories on Unsplash.

For the November 3 General Election, I served as an elections tech for a drive-thru early voting initiative in Iowa. Because of COVID and the heightened interest in the Biden-Trump tussle, record numbers of voters wanted to participate in early voting. In our case, the voting was conducted in a…

Patrick Muller

Making the arts essential to everyone every day while exploring new models for meaning, mattering, purpose, belonging, understanding, and conversation.

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