Monday, December 9, 2013

A Tale of Two Sister Cities: Shimada, Japan and Zhoushan, China Presented with MK Shannon Sculptures by the City of Richmond, California

Richmond, CA In July of this year, 2013, Lucy Zhou contacted me, MK Shannon, directly on behalf of the Port of Richmond. I was a resident of Point Richmond on the San Francisco Bay for 12 years. I loved it there. Consequently, when Lucy called to ask for my assistance in ordering gifts for an upcoming official trip to the City of Shimada, Japan and the City of Zhoushan, China, I was more than a little excited to take this project. The project included the need to have one distinctive sculpture to present in Japan and a different image to present in China. Each sculpture was to reflect the importance of the cities having become sister cities of the city of Richmond. I immediately recommended three different sculptures from my collection. The piece chosen for the the City of Shimada, Japan is entitled “Partners”(shown below).

Richmond, California's Vice Mayor Courtland Boozé (right) and Council Member Nathaniel Bates (left) presented MK Shannon sculpture to Shimada, Japan's Mayor Kinuyo Soneya in the photo above. Mayor Kinuyo Soneya was recently elected as the first female mayor in the city's history. 

The sculpture selected for presentation to the City of Zhoushan, China presented a different request. The City of Richmond, representing the Port of Richmond, wanted to present one large sculpture to the city's mayor and seven identical smaller sculptures to various departments in the city to show appreciation and gratitude from the City of Richmond. Lucy Zhou and I directed the whole project for both countries and obtained approvals from the Richmond Board of Directors and the mayor as the need arose. Lucy is an outstanding woman who serves the Port of Richmond tirelessly. With her assistance I proposed to create a smaller version of the large sculpture entitled “ World Infinity” to be presented to the City of Zhoushan. The smaller versions were given to different department heads within the city of Zhoushan. 
A photo of that sculpture being presented to Zhoushan, China's Vice Mayor Lin Jiang by Nat Bates and Courtland Boozé is shown below

Lucy Zhou’s sharp-eyed management of this project allowed me enough time to create a new model, have it cast and plated at the foundry in time for the departure of the Richmond delegation in early October, 2013. One “Partners” was presented to the City of Shimada, Japan and one large “World Infinity” and seven small “World Infinity” sculptures were completed for shipment overseas.

I personally met with Nathaniel Bates, Board Councilman for the City of Richmond (and former mayor) and Lucy Zhou, the Port of Richmond liaison, after their return from their mission to Japan and China.

"Richmond, California's Vice Mayor Courtland Boozé and Council Member Nathaniel Bates presented Shimada, Japan's Mayor Kinuyo Soneya and Zhoushan, China's Vice Mayor Lin Jiang with these beautiful gifts commemorating our long-term sister city relationships. The gifts were received with great enthusiasm and appreciation", said Lucy Zhou. 

Monday, November 18, 2013

Brain Research Foundation's 2013 Annual Discovery Dinner Presents MK Shannon Awards

On the evening of November 5, 2013 the Brain Research Foundation's Annual Discovery Dinner was held to present the Frederic Gibbs Discovery Award to David Nelms of Discover Financial and Jeffrey Aronin of Paragon Pharmaceuticals.

2012 honoree Greg Case of AON (left) presenting to David Nelms of Discover Financial

The Brain Research Foundation supports neuroscience research that leads to advanced understanding of brain function in children and adults, and that will lead to prevention and treatments for all neurological diseases.

2012 honoree Michael Ferro of Chicago Sun Times (right) presenting to Jeffrey Aronin of Paragon Pharmaceuticals.

Ms. Susan Gilman, Executive Assistant, at the Brain Research Foundation was kind enough to forward us photos taken at their Annual Discovery Dinner. We so appreciate the opportunity to once again showcase MK Shannon Awards (our third year) and at the same time offer you the opportunity to take a closer look at this amazing organization. There is so much positive energy present within this organization. One look at the award recipient’s faces, says it all! We are grateful to The Brain Research Foundation as are so many people throughout our country!

Thursday, October 31, 2013

In Business This is "As Good As It Gets!"

With a company that is reaching it 30th year (hard to believe but true), and as the owner of that company, I have traveled many miles and interacted face-to-face with many event planners, very many. There are those who stand out in my mind and those who just stand out. BRAVO! is and continues to be one of those event planning companies that is superb. I have been involved with this company since 2007. Nancy Shaffer, Founder and CEO, is an amazingly talented woman who sought to use our company as a resource for high-quality awards. In my mind, she wanted awards that could match the quality of the events she produced. I think her work is stellar and I am proud that she considers mine the same.

We always hope to please our clients and when we do and they tell us so, it is particularly heart warming to all of us at MK Shannon Awards. You can work for money, most of us have no choice, but to work for things you love and to perform in a manner that you can be proud of is “as good as it gets” in business!

We recently received this email from Eldrina Jones, Chief Operating Officer of BRAVO! It was so touching I had to share it here. 
MK, I only speak the truth and when great client service is provided – I shout it from the hills. Too many times people only talk about the negative experiences and I am happy to acknowledge Kathleen and your entire team. I can see why she is your “right and left arm” – her warm and calm demeanor was always present on the phone.

We are a small business and know that every single person is vital for the body as a whole. These are the people that keep us going. We appreciate our BRAVO! family. Nancy and I have spent years nurturing the people who make our business.

I thank you MK for your artistry. It always brings a smile to our faces when we open the box. A bigger smile when we see such deserving people (as these honorees) who are most times overlooked, see these awards and hold them with such pride. That is when the joy is overflowing from the inside out.

We encourage our clients to use MK Shannon for their awards and will continue to spread the word.

Thank you MK.

Eldrina Jones
Chief Operating Officer BRAVO!

The following is our reply:
Eldrina, I trust that your awards will arrive safely and I am so pleased that you took the time to praise Kathleen. She is my "right and left arm", as you have witnessed. Everyone that works to make my designs into awards that you can present with honor to your recipients, deeply cares about making you proud. Very sweet of you to take the time to thank Kathleen; sincerely appreciate your business. ~MK

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

A Walk Down Memory Lane

Jamie Rose called me in October to ask about a bronze he acquired that had my signature and copyright. Once he described the piece, I smiled as I knew it was the first piece, and my favorite of all the 20 different bird images that I created for Shaklee Corporation. The Altus Awards were presented to their top sales people every year. Jamie seemed to love the lines of his piece, called Soaring, so much that I told him I would forward him another piece and his email below is the result of our interaction. It is a few moments with another mind that I will never forget and for which I am deeply appreciative. I am so glad Jamie Rose is on this planet!

Here's my email to Jamie:

Jamie, here is another old piece. I made this sculpture from a dream I had where I saw this image. I named it after my grandmother—"Alta". Also, I named it that because of the Spanish word (which means high or elevated). Anyway the piece has a head that shows only half of the face and the other half is an open space. I sculpted it without thinking. I saw the image in my mind and created it. Then someone asked me what the meaning was and I said, without hesitation, that half of the face is the part of us we know and the other space or half is the part we do not. We are always gaining self knowledge and forever having more to learn.~ MK

Alta by MK Shannon
Here's Jamie's response and description of Alta:

"MKWonderful! Thank you for sharing this image with me. At first the lighting/reflections gave me pause . . . but there is so much about it that resonates with me—your description and more so . . .
The universe—our existence our experience is both the ordered and the wildness together. 

And the 'open mind' half in the piece is our fill-able potential, still connected —with everything and within everything—sharing order, sharing disorder, at home with whatever meanings we come to terms with. :-) The head . . . seems poised astride; its tethered connection with Being and yet reaching beyond to . . . the rest of it.
Dreams and spontaneity are a gift of life, aren't they. Communicating the insights—a challenge. But it is imagery that lasts with people, and resonates.I've spent 66 years trying to get a message across on exactly the idea of this sculpture (albeit with words and mathematics—"Integrity Paradigm— understanding the integral universe" UIU)—so I definitely appreciate the challenge. :-) 

I am so glad to have connected with you around the eagle. It really means a lot to me. It's an elegant work. So hopeful in its sweeping lines. I wrote a poem back in the 60's about Yuri Gagarin that your sculpture made me remember. Because when he achieved orbit as the first human in space around the earth, he radioed back, "I am Eagle, I am Eagle" 'wingless and mystic he soared . . ." I always admired his exhilaration. 

And the sculpture's rough and reaching—curved base of the piece—is the earth below. I called her "horizon", the sleek and streaming active space beneath him- -lovers moving together in the stellar expanse, different from each other; separated but so closely connected. You captured that in your styling—both the soaring freedom, and the unbreakable connection. 

Please forgive me for adding this layer of personal relevance—your incredible story today literally took my breath away. All and so much happening and falling into place and opening up potential and opportunity for your life. You've had me smiling all day, and thanking life for hearing about such a phenomenal affirming experience. Just happy for you.(!) Don't know when or how but I will definitely act on your offer to meet at the foundry some day. I look forward to it. 

Stay incredible  :-)Jamie"

Monday, August 19, 2013

Tony Award Winning Entertainer Ben Vereen Honored with an Award Designed by MK Shannon

Ben Vereen first recipient of annual LaGuardia Arts Hall of Fame Award
New York, NY 
Ben Vereen was recently honored with an award designed by MK Shannon. The Florello H. LaGuardia High School of Music and Art and Performing Arts in New York City presented the award. This school was the inspiration for the film and TV series Fame. Vereen is an alumni of LaGuardia HS, and is the first recipient of the annual LaGuardia Arts Hall of Fame Award.

Vereen has starred in numerous Broadway plays and musicals, including Wicked, Fosse, Chicago, Hair, Pippin, and Jesus Christ Superstar. He is a Tony award winner for his role in Pippin. He also appeared in Roots, the TV mini- series.

For their Hall of Fame Award, LaGuardia High School chose MK Shannon’s original design entitled “All Stars”. This sculpted award is cast in pewter and mounted on a black marble base with a custom engraved nameplate. It is about 9-1/2” tall.

LaGuardia High School, one of New York City’s prestigious specialized public high schools, offers conservatory training at the college level and comprehensive college preparatory courses for students 9-12 grade. Their website is