Delight Someone (Everyone)

A couple of weeks ago, I had the joy of hearing Senga Nengudi talk about her art. We were at the Museum of Contemporary Art Denver in a gallery surrounded by the work.

Nengudi makes soft installations and sculptures from pantyhose. It started when she was living in a small space in New York and decided on a medium that would fit into her purse.

She warmed everyone in the room with her gentle, generous spirit and big smile.


Senga Nengudi (center) responds to questions from curators of her exhibitions.

When we (about 100 of us) were getting ready to leave, Nengudi said she wanted to give us a gift to remember her by. In line with her work, which transforms a functional item that many women wear every day into art, she considered a gift that we could transform into something new.

She confessed that she didn’t have enough pantyhose for the audience. We laughed! Many, particularly the men, breathed a sign of relief.

That’s when she pulled out a plastic bag and handed out . . .

Dubble Bubble bubble gum!

Yep, that bubble gum that we bought for a penny when we were little (some of us remember the 1-cent days).

We could transform it by chewing it. The more adventurous in the crowd could have turned it into bubble-gum sculpture.

Jive by Senga Nengudi

©2014 Senga Nengudi, Jive. Site installation for the Museum of Contemporary Art Denver.

(I wasn’t the first to think of this. There are students who have already done it with chewed gum. I know . . . ewwww. But there’s also the sculptor who works with the raw pink stuff.)

I was excited to get my piece of bubble gum. I waited for her to place it in my hand and quickly popped it in my mouth. I couldn’t recall the last time I had a piece of bubble gum, and it tastes exactly as I remember.

It was pure delight. Memories of childhood + a collective grown-up giggle from the room.

I’ll never forget Ms. Nengudi, her work, or the way she enchanted us. I’ll think of her whenever I put on my pantyhose and, of course, the next time I have a wad of pink bubble gum in my mouth.

How Can You Delight Someone?

Nengudi also made me think about how I can delight my members, students, and subscribers. I’ve practiced it on occasion, but now I’d like to make sure it’s integral to my brand.

[ Tweet: How can you delight someone today? #ArtistsDelight ]

Food for thought:

How can you delight your blog readers?
How can you delight your newsletter subscribers?
How can you delight your students?
How can you delight people who make a big impact on you?
How can you delight your supporters?
How can you delight your buyers?

Shift your mindset to one that accommodates big growth

Improve your marketing materials

Understand the tools and technology available for organizing your business needs

Gain momentum for your art business

Identify your marketing strategy for the upcoming months and year

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19 comments to Delight Someone (Everyone)

  • Sari

    After years of struggling with pantyhose, I finally declared I was a pants girl & just stopped the battle…

    But now I have a vision…The Senga Nengudi Method of Home Pilates…

    Resistance exercise training for those who sit around in front of their computers all day, getting up every 20 minutes to refreshen their coffee or tea…

    I imagine tying my now unworn excess pantyhose to the desk legs, then looping that around my ankles, crossing my legs, & casually rocking my leg while I surf to flex my calf muscle…

    The calorie burn might burn off the Double Bubble chewing gum now stuck to the underside of my desktop…

    Love this post, love the show, love to you Senga Nengudi for delighting us!

  • What a sweet, joy-filled gift! Love this concept.

  • If you’re ever in San Luis Obispo, CA. you’ll need to stop by Bubble Gum Alley. Probably 50 years of gum stuck to the walls.

  • lin

    I’ve hated pantyhose and knee-highs for years, and only wear a dress or clothes requiring knee highs when I really can’t get out of it. That said, paying it forward (or delighting others) is something I’ve tried to practice for years. I know that in my etsy business, I always include a little shop-related goodie (a postcard, stickers, a bookmark) just as a thank you. It’s inexpensive and it might please the recipient.
    As for bubble gum, and chewing gum in general – I still love it. Gumballs, Fruit stripes, teaberry and, of course, Dubble Bubble – bring it on

  • One of my favorite ways to delight my buyers (and my “wanna-be-buyers”) is to give away free postcards of my art. I do this with almost every new image. I hand them out at events, and post them on my FB page ( for those who can’t make it to my events.

    It’s so much fun to send the postcards out to others, knowing they will post them in their work place cubicles, or on their fridge, or even send them on to another friend.

  • CJ

    I absolutely love this! Such a brilliant idea – it usually is something small that causes delight, and creates a memory – hopefully resulting in more sales 🙂

  • This was one of the sweetest things I’ve read in a long time! What a delightful interactive experience for this artist and her audience. 🙂

    I’m inspired. I’m going to spend some time this weekend thinking about something fun and simple to do for my clients!

  • So this is what I came up with! This summer, I am holding my very first retreat. While my first priority is to give participants a ton of valuable information, and unique learning opportunities, I also want it to be tons of fun. I decided to add in a scavenger hunt (that fits the theme of the retreat)that will lead participants to a local ice cream parlor for a scoop on the house.

  • Carol

    If you have a blog, why do you need to have a newsletter?