Tuesday, September 2, 2008

September? Already?

Today is the 2nd of September. I'm not sure how that happened. What happened to August? And while we're on the subject, where's the summer gone? Speaking of which, has anyone seen my January - April? I seem to have misplaced them.

So, here I sit in my stylishly appointed office, on my third active day of life as a freelance administrative professional. It's kinda nice, actually. There's a vending machine that gave me a free Diet Dr. Pepper for lunch. And nice people. (And a fair amount of rather attractive young men to smile at as they pass). But it brings to mind a question that keeps following me about - when it comes to Life and Art, do I have to choose between the two?

I started what promises to be an awesome class with formidable Chicago talent Jon Berry on Sunday, and he asked the group what is the most challenging thing about life as an artist in Chicago. (He also asked us what was the best - most of us said the same thing, that the community, support, openness, opportunity all combine to form the best thing). Our answer to the biggest challenge we face was surprisingly homogeneous, too: balancing my art and my "life." Meaning, my art and what keeps me from getting evicted.

I'm a little troubled that this is such a pervasive problem. And I know I'm not breaking any new ground here when I lament the state of arts funding and more directly of artist funding. But I'm experiencing it anew as I try to find gainful employment that lasts longer than a day and try to get a show up on its feet and try to look strategically at the future of my company, and, and, and...

I wish that now I could propose some "quick fix" that would get all of us the support we need - financial, spiritual, social. But I don't know the answer. I think we need a new model for arts management and arts funding. I don't know what it looks like. I think there are some folks taking steps in new and exciting directions that will ripple down and shake things at the core. But they're just starting. I guess we'll see.

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