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Lending MoneyLending Money| Richard Haas Mural Artist| Stare at Shannon


Lending Money| Richard Haas Mural Artist| Stare at Shannon


Lending money to family or friends can be tricky, not only for the person asking for the loan, but also the loaner. Fortunately, there are a few rules of thumb to help navigate lending money. Suzanne sits with Ethicist Hugh Taft-Morales to discuss how we can offer financial help to others without putting a dent in our own wallets.

Prior to loaning money to a friend or family member, Hugh Taft-Morales advises that you speak with an expert about your own finances. It’s important to take your time when making financial decisions – weigh all of your options. Suzanne and Hugh analyze a situation between neighbors and best friends; one friend is asking the other for a loan. Hugh highlights the important factors one should consider before loaning money to family or friends. First, it’s a priority to analyze your own financial situation. Ask yourself this question: “Do I have the money to give out this loan and be comfortable without that sum of money?” Additionally, it’s crucial to consider your friend’s past financial history. Are they financially responsible, or are they swimming in debt? If you have other financial obligations like children or a mortgage, it may be smarter to decline your friend the loan. 

It’s equally as important for the person asking for a loan to analyze the situation beforehand. You should only ask someone for a loan if you know they are secure enough to decline. It’s unethical to pressure a friend or family member into lending money. It’s also a good idea to explore other ways around the situation and avoid owing a friend or relative money. It’s smart to research and consider other ways of saving or accumulating money, rather than a loan. Examine how to cut out unnecessary expenses or sacrifice certain luxuries that add to your spending. Hugh recommends looking into other methods of borrowing money, like crowd-sourcing. It’s important to take time to evaluate your resources; never rush into a financial decision. It’s smart to speak to people you trust, or even a financial advisor, prior to asking for or committing to a loan. In the grand scheme of things, creating ground rules for lending money will help protect your real assets – your family and your friends. 



The Philadelphia Mural Arts Program, the largest public art program in the country, recently commissioned a piece designed by Richard Haas. Richard’s work can be best described as “architectural art,” an artistic approach that started with the Greek and Romans. Richard considers this piece a “tribute to Philadelphia architecture.” 

The 3-dimensional painting technique that Richard Haas uses was once known as “quadratura.” Quadratura is the art of painting architecture on and inside of buildings to alter the nature of the building. Today, Richard’s style of art is considered “Trompe l’oeil,” which translates in English to, “Fool the eye.” Richard uses painting techniques to make something, like a wall, into something that it’s not. Although the finished product tricks the eye, it’s always transformed into something that could be completely possible and realistic. Richard’s most recent mural in Philadelphia was created over a period of about six months. The mural’s concept is based on the growth of a metropolis, and was completed with the help of the lead muralist, John Laidacker. 

Richard was born in Wisconsin, and his uncle was a stone mason for American architect Frank Lloyd Wright. Richard frequently helped his uncle with stone masonry, and would sneak into Wright’s drafting room to learn more about his work. After gaining a formal art education from the University of Wisconsin, Richard graduated from grad school at the University of Minnesota. It’s not uncommon for Richard to have several projects going on at the same time throughout the world, so he employs other artists to help complete the work. His first wall was completed in SoHo in 1974. Although many of his pieces are on a large scale, he has made hundreds of small prints using all different types of media. Richard says that you have to do a lot of work to see some of it stick around. He sticks to the advice that Frank Lloyd Wright taught him, “Do a lot of works and stick ‘em out in the sun.” 



Most people consider it impolite to stare at a person with disabilities, but wheelchair using comedian, Shannon DeVido wants you to stare at her! Shannon created a popular YouTube series, “Stare at Shannon,” where she places herself in hilarious situations that encourage others to face her disabilities. Suzanne sits with Shannon to learn about the creative boundary-breaking methods she is using in the world of comedy and beyond. 

When Shannon was in kindergarten, she acted in her first play and fell in love. Sometime in college, Shannon decided that her end goal was to become a professional performer. Shannon was always drawn to comedy, ever since her dad showed her Monty Python at 10 years old. She loves making people laugh and embraces it in her work. Shannon was born with spinal muscular atrophy, which is a genetic disorder that affects the control of muscle movement. Shannon has been using a wheelchair since the age of 6. Although she has faced challenges with her disability, Shannon says that creating her own comedy performances has helped her overcome her disability. 

“Stare at Shannon” is a web series that Shannon developed out of pure boredom. She thought it would be comical to go through a drive-through in her wheelchair while her friend videotaped the employee’s reaction. Shannon felt like she was able to get away with a lot due to her disability, so she continued to push boundaries while observing the public’s reactions. Shannon’s improv troop, the “Wussy Riot,” also performs “Three Mad Rituals” on stage every other Friday. Shannon admits that her disability can be limiting on stage, but she found ways to adapt with her wonderfully accommodating teammates.

Shannon hopes that casting directors and producers will see past disabilities in the future; she hopes the industry will see disabled people for their work and not their limitations. Shannon’s ultimate goal is to keep working with her friends and having a good time, while being proud of the work that she does. Disabilities are often taken too seriously, but Shannon’s work helps to break the “disabled” stereotype. 

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