The Bean in Chicago

August 2019 Highlights: The Highs + Lows

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Once again, it feels as if I didn’t even have a summer, we were so busy. And while I know “busy” is not a badge of honor, I’m proud of the work we’ve been doing in our community, even if it leaves us little time for outside hobbies or, you know, sleep. In fact, we’ve been so committed to local art projects this past month, that we were only out of town four nights: two in East Tennessee, one in Nashville and one in Chicago.

But other than that, it was a month dedicated toward checking off some huge projects and gearing up for a year worth of new clients. We signed on for one-year contracts with several chambers, CVBs and other tourism entities—mostly in the South and the majority in Tennessee—so we’ll be doing a lot more long-term consulting and less one-off projects going forward. We also started booking speaking gigs for 2020, so I’m excited to do even more teaching in the tourism marketing space!


We took an impromptu overnight trip to Chicago to see Hamilton. I’d been wanting to take SVV up there before the show closed in January, and we got the opportunity when his sister was flying out for the last day of Hamilton: The Exhibition. So we took a 6am flight to Chicago on Sunday, went straight to the exhibit, had lunch, went to the show, met a friend for dinner, spent the night, then tracked down some cool murals the following day amid downpours. It was a quick trip—there and back in 36 hours—but all we had time for, and I’m so glad we did it.

Chicago murals

Hamilton in Chicago
Hamilton in Chicago

We also spent a dreamy weekend at the RT Lodge in Blount County. I cannot wait for the next Gathering and excuse to spend a weekend in Maryville.

Weekend in Maryville, Tennessee

The Good of the Hive came, went and changed our lives. If you missed our post on this bee-painting muralist, read more about the Good of the Hive here. Matt Willey personifies the reason we started our mural program in the first place.

Matt Willey's The Good of the Hive

SVV wrote an excellent editorial examining what art is for the Tullahoma News. What’s even more fun? This is the publication where I got my writing start nearly 20 years ago!

What Is Art: A Column by Scott van Velsor

I was on TV yesterday. I’ve been doing quarterly travel segments on Nashville’s NBC affiliate, and this week it was a quick roundup of last-minute summer vacations to take. Always a pleasure to get to go on live TV and babble about some of my favorite Tennessee trips! 

Today in Nashville, Kristin Luna

My AAA Living pages came out. This month, I got to write about my hometown, Tullahoma, and my favorite Tennessee destination, Franklin. By the way, SVV has been working hard all summer redesigning and formatting my writing portfolio section since it’s currently hard-coded and, as such, we haven’t updated it in years, so that should be out sometime in September, woohoo!

AAA Living magazine on Tennessee
AAA Living magazine on Tennessee
AAA Living magazine on Tennessee

We have some really cool public art coming up in the fall. I can’t tell what it is or when it is or where it is, but just know that it’s coming … sooner rather than later (#purposelyvague).

I was a guest on another podcast. If you aren’t following Kristin Llamas yet, you need to be, as she’s one of the coolest artist-entrepreneurs I’ve met yet! I’ll also be on Kim Baldwin’s Ladyland podcast this next month. Aaaaaand I think it’s time SVV and I finally start recording our own, what do you think? We’ve been mapping it out for two years now, so I feel we have to just bite the bullet eventually.

My niece started preschool! How is Charlotte Rose almost 18 months old (next week)? I’m absolutely loving living close to her, but also her daily outfit posts my sister texts us every morning of preschool. She’s the most delightful kid I’ve ever met, and I’m not just saying that because she’s my niece!

Charlotte in preschool
Charlotte in preschool
Charlotte in preschool


We had an organization we love(d) totally hoodwink us. Is there anything worse than giving your time, energy, sweat and expertise to a non-profit, only to be completely stabbed in the back? Ugh. My heart hurts right now. Fool me once, shame on you; fool me twice, shame on me—can no one be trusted anymore? Almost feels like Manchester all over again.

Trying to balance work with life. It never gets any easier, and right now, we’re already booked with projects through September 2020. How is that even the case? I am truly happy that we have an abundance of work, but I wonder how we’ll ever learn to balance time-off and hobbies with not wanting to pass up a gig because we run our own small business? I guess this is the entrepreneur’s eternal struggle.


September is when our travels really ramp up for the fall. We kick it off with a week in Canada, followed by work trips to Franklin and Oklahoma City, then October really gets crazy, so I’m savoring these final semi-sleepy days of summer while we’ve got them.

How was August for you? Anyone else feel as if this year is just flying by?

  • August 30, 2019

    Sitting in SFO after a ground delay caused a missed connection, boo hoo! I love the mural work, both your organization/commissioning and your appreciation of the artform in the different cities/towns you visit. I also like the monthly round-ups. Thank you for continuing to blog!

    • September 3, 2019

      Thank you so much, Tierney! I appreciate you reading and taking the time to leave such a nice comment.

  • August 31, 2019

    How did this August recap not include a Lover mention? 😱🤣

    • September 3, 2019

      I thought about it, trust me, then wasn’t sure if that would be weird or not 🤣

  • September 2, 2019

    See you at Pilgrimage?! (she asks hopefully!)

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