Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Money the Dirty Word of Art

We are all supposed to be in this the spiritual growth of it. The way it makes us feel.
Art is something you passion about through words, acts, creations, and performances.
We bleed for it. We die for it. We disappear and reappear anew in it. Resurrection. Transformation.
Art is something that is not every day but of the transcendent.

I agree. Without art, I would not have healed from the hormonal blitz that is adolescence.
I wouldn't have found a place to place all of my emotions and spiritual energy without art.
The thing is, I live on earth. I live in Patriarchy. I live within a system that doesn't care a lick about my soul or how I feel. Well, I still care. I also care that I can feed myself and cloth myself.

I think it is possible that Capitalist are behind this propaganda that says artists should just do it for the love of it. A few months ago, a famous artist got a bit ruffled about a Facebook status update I made Stating I wanted to make $80K a year for what I did. I don't remember the exact response but it pretty much said that with my desire for money I was renouncing my artistic integrity. Well, no. I have integrity. I am a smart inventive woman. i desire get to paid. I think that is very feminist of me.  I have suffered for art. I have made sacrifices for art. I am not going to Wall Street. Pay me, people. I think this is a message given to female artist to keep us in poor paying arts admin positions.

Last night, I had a different interaction with an older artist, a musician. I was lucky enough to observe a intergenerational dance rehearsal. And the musician involved and I hit it off. Chatting about life and such. As we said good bye, I was explaining to her how I was trying to figure out where to live in Minneapolis and how I don't know the neighborhoods. Many folks say North East because of their visual art focus. As a busser, I think it is a bit out of the way. As we put on our hats and coats, our conversation turned to my job search. I was like "Well, I have worked in arts organizations for years and well my soul is all dried up.I need to get paid for the effort I put in." I said it wearily after my FB experience with an older female artist.

 "Oh I get it." she said, "I was a registered nurse. I retired last year and now get to focus my life around music. But honey you got to feed yourself and house yourself." I love this Minnesotan good sense and instead of bristling at it like I used to.

 I think "YEAH! I do deserve that."

 I then tell her very wearily "I am thinking about getting into Integrative Medicine. There is money in medicine." I wait for the cringe. "Also, I have been avoiding a part of me that is a healer." This is when I get self conscious. Here I am at a rehearsal talking about money and how the arts don't always sustain. There is a younger dancer that I think can overhear my conversation and I wince. The thing is, this needs to be talked about. How many 50 year old artists do you know that started being an artist when they were 20? Not many do you? That is because you can't have the funds to be an artist in your older years unless you get lucky and get a professor job or turn to art in your older years. Most artists burn out. No one wants to talk about it. But we do.

Well I am not going to burn out. I am going to find a way to keep being an artist. But, BUT, I am going to get smart. I am going to go out of the field to make money. I think it is also my life's calling to help people and have a more holistic career. One where I do social practice work and get grants and have a back bone of healing as a way to sustain myself financially.

I share this cause I was chatting with my friend, Jamie, and she said, "We need to be talking about this." Artists in art administration are getting paid poorly to do the work that keeps ailing organizations going. Cause they care. Cause they are passionate. And then they hope to get the support for their work…when they are 40. Seems like a bum deal. And the thing is a lot of admins are female. I don't know the percentage but I know it isn't 50/50 on this. Women run art. Women get stomped on. There it is. I am trying to be open to creative solutions and talk to my mentors. Art isn't going anywhere but I need to get smarter.

While FB chatting with my friend Michael I wrote "All hope is false. We put truth in hope. Whatever we believe can become true." So I am having hope that I can balance a life worth living making the money I need to with my desire to stay an engaged artist. I want to talk to you about this. What are your thoughts? What are your solutions?

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