I’m a fourth-generation Austinite. In a city that’s rapidly growing and changing, this is a source of pride for me.

Everyone who lives here has their own unique Austin story, comprised of the reasons why they came, and the reasons why they’ve stayed (Maybe they attended a festival or The University of Texas and never wanted to leave, maybe a job brought them here, etc.). And all of these stories and people make Austin the incredible place that it is. For me, this is where I was born, nurtured, and given opportunity to thrive. This is where my family has…


Revisiting my most memorable, most intense, and most surreally-sized live music experiences.

While I often feel the most visceral emotional response to memories of intimate shows, some of my most vivid and intense experiences come from concerts of epic proportion. I take a trip down memory lane (because, you know, nostalgia is hitting me super hard during the pandemic), recalling the six most epic concerts I’ve attended.

2016: Taylor Swift at Formula 1, Circuit of the Americas, Austin, TX

Damn, Taylor Swift. To be honest with you, I wasn’t a big “Swifty” when I went to this show. Sure, I knew a lot of T-Swift songs from the radio, but I’m more…


Well, we made it to the end of 2020! No easy feat, but we did it, and we proved that we can persevere and be resilient in the face of the unexpected and unprecedented. We are stronger than we once believed ourselves to be. Undoubtedly, we’ll continue to face challenges in 2021. But we’ve built up our emotional armor.

While the terribleness of this past year ranged from a global pandemic health crisis and staggering loss of life to horrifying inequity to lost jobs, loss of local businesses and vital arts organizations, widespread negativity in the media, crazy megalomaniacs in…


Do you love the outdoors AND the finer things in life? This post is for you!

The Texas Hill Country is known for its scenic beauty — the big sky, rolling blue hills, limestone cliffs, clear rivers and natural springs. It’s also known as Texas Wine Country, with more than 50 wineries ready to offer friendly service, a beautiful vineyard atmosphere and a dynamic range of high-quality wines that are the result of undeniable passion and determination, qualities of our signature Texas work ethic (Just think of Lyndon Baines Johnson, who was raised in the Texas Hill Country).

When you…


Music preserves us

The next installment in my nostalgic live music memoir series…

Austin, TX — I was a freshman in high school, and we were taking a field trip to the Modern Art Museum in Fort Worth. On the bus ride, the boy I had a crush on took the seat next to me. We had bonded over a shared love of music and were both rock and alternative fans. I remember, on the bus ride, we got to talking about the Foo Fighters. I had heard “My Hero” on the radio and enjoyed the song, and it turned out he was…


Reflections: Music Can Cure a Lonely Heart

I’ve been in a very reflective mode lately. I’m always pretty nostalgic, but the pandemic is really bringing it out of me. As we think about the uncertain future of live music experiences and yet rely on music to sooth our souls now more than ever, I’m thinking about the artists, music, and live experiences I’m grateful for. Starting with Lenny Kravitz (This is coming back to me as I read Lenny’s autobiography, Let Love Rule.)

So what’s the story of my deep appreciation for Lenny Kravitz? I guess it started with the song, “Fly Away,” which was a big…


Maybe it was the virtual ACL Fest that finally twisted the knife ( I wrote last year how ACL is part of my identity). Maybe it’s hitting the six month mark of working remotely with very little in-person interaction beyond our household. I’m not sure what the last straw was, but I’m feeling a profound sense of loss today.

Something changed when I realized, for a lot of things, there’s no turning back now. You can read my sentiments from a few months ago, which were very optimistic. I still feel that we are learning some valuable societal lessons during…


A Call for Museums to Address Problematic Narratives

Egypt is in Africa. So why are “Egyptian Art” and “African Art” displayed separately in most major encyclopedic museums? The answer is complex and problematic.

From their inception, museums have been in the business of constructing and communicating narratives. They are public service institutions designed to educate and hold important art and objects in the public trust. And, they have more influence when it comes to contributing to our sense of national identity than we may think (see “Museums and National Identity”).

Core functions of a museum include the generation, protection, and communication of knowledge through research, conservation, storytelling, and…


In honor of the Museum’s 150th anniversary, I share #MyMetStory.

The Met taught me the value of curiosity.

It is undeniable that The Metropolitan Museum of Art has influenced my life in many ways. First, as an 18-year-old artist on her first solo trip. Next, as a recent college graduate who moved away from Texas for the first time in order to take an internship at the Museum. And, from then, helping to shape my career as a museum and communications professional. But, more than all of this, The Met helped me to identify curiosity as one of my core values.

For nearly two years as a Met Museum intern and NYU Museum Studies student, I visited The Met daily. I aimed to explore every nook and cranny of the museum, and I had the luxury of time at that point in my life to focus in on one exhibition or gallery at a time, to really soak up my surroundings. Having moved away from everything and everyone familiar to me, I found peace, comfort, and companionship in the works at the museum, envisioning their creators, the culture and context they…


There are many things about this time I hope don’t last, but also some key actions that can add good to the world for decades to come.

I had a rough day. A month of staying inside my house staring at screens is getting to me, and I’m starting to lose a real sense of time or routine as my family adjusts to changing needs and work flows. The weather was miserable, cold and wet, so we didn’t even step out into the backyard, leading my toddler to run out her energy inside, up and down the hallways, in the…

Stacey Kaleh - Curious Optimist

Expert in museum studies and nonprofit communications. Millennial mom passionate about fostering a culture of kindness. Lover of live music and Texas wine.

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