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Time-and-time again, society exalts the artist, yet simultaneously belittles the skills artists bring to the table. For example, many people believe that all children should have access to the arts in education, yet when many refer to prosperous careers, the arts are not included. As a creative specialist, educator and coach, I’ve made the study of creative people my life’s work and I believe we’re long over due for a change in values.
My artistic colleagues tend to bring multiple skills and forms of mastery to the table. Many are highly talented and have skills in multiple art forms. Additionally, most, if not all artists, use their skills to the betterment of their communities and society as a whole. And, let us not forget, unless many of them have reached some level of recognition, those same artists generally do it for free or with the help of crowd sourcing.
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The artist spirit is to be admired for many reasons, but I would like to take a moment and highlight the courage it takes to deal with all the social challenges of being an artist and managing the day-today chores and responsibilities we all face. To the artists that persist through the challenges of the industries they serve, I have three suggestions to empower your personal and professional life so you get the respect you deserve right now:
** 1.) Accept your multidimensional skills:**
Because most artists bring multiple degrees and skills to the table, every one of those should be recognized. The first person who should recognize it is...drumroll...you! Don’t expect that organization or institute to put the puzzle pieces together about your multidimensional bad-assery. Meditate, breath it in, accept it from the 1st person perspective.
** 2.) Nothing is free:**
Unless you are intent on providing volunteerism to a community, your work is not complimentary. If you are expecting pay for service, discuss it before services are rendered. Tell them your fee. Do it knowing you are a kick-ass artist of many skills. Fire the individual that does not pay you.
** 3.) Organize with artists:**
That’s right. Spark conversation with other artist colleagues and talk about what it takes to be an artist in society. Encourage each other’s creative voice, professionalism, and the right to be paid fair wages. Share resources, best practices, join the Freelancers Union! Be good to each other and let go of inter-artist competition.
Remember: You are an artist, not an imbecile. By the very essence of your work, do not settle for just surviving. Fight the negative stigma associated with artists in society. Thrive, thrive, and thrive some more!
Diana develops innovative multi-week, arts integration programs for youth and professional development for teachers on creative process. She also works one-on-one and in groups with creative professionals in Los Angeles through her practice, Creative Empowerment Coaching and Facilitation: http://creativeempowermentcoaching.com/. Ms. Rivera has a Master’s degree in Psychology, specialization creativity.