Ron Cooper’s story is very sad and yet many parts of his story are all too familiar. (How many creative artistic talents do you know who have a similiar tale of self destruction?) But regardless, here is how Ron’s story goes:
Ron had such a huge heart, a great voice and a bad alcohol problem. He never could pull it together. Most nights you could find Ron asleep riding on the EL train in Chicago. He was homeless.
Along the way, he gave impromptu coachings to any who wanted tips on singing. On the street. At the EL station. In the alley. Ron simply loved to sing.
A friend of mine told me she heard him sing several times and gave him money on occasion, when she had it to give. Many artists around Chicago knew Ron and often invited him on stage to sing with them during their own gigs.
Ron’s goal was to make it to New York City to sing. He died before he ever got there. Chicago Filmmaker Dustin Grove has made a documentary about Ron that is soon to be released. Here is an excerpt from it:
What if we as artists could harness the power of the free market to solve the problems of poverty, hunger, and inequality?
To some, it sounds impossible. But Nobel Peace Prize winner Muhammad Yunus is doing exactly that. As founder of Grameen Bank, Yunus pioneered microcredit, the innovative banking program that provides poor peopleâ€“â€“mainly womenâ€“â€“with small loans they use to launch businesses and lift their families out of poverty.
In the past thirty years, microcredit has spread to every continent and benefited over 100 million families. But Yunus remaines unsatisfied. Much more can be done, he believes, if the dynamics of capitalism could be applied to humanityâ€™s greatest challenges.
As artists we need to find ways to change our own futures and the futures of those we know who suffer. Become passionate about helping others by finding your way to financially benefit and change the state of the arts.
I am on my own mission to do exactly this through offering information, insight and support through this blog, my workshops, speaking, book and also through The Bite-Size Arts Ensemble. This ensemble will serve as a Chicago performing artistic entrepreneurial incubator for the benefit of artists, by assisting corporations, leaders and those needing inspiration learn what participating in the arts can do to help them thrive.
What can you do?