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You are not fragile

"Together, we create!" on a brick wall

To the independent creatives, artists, performers, storytellers, culture-bearers, makers, tinkerers, designers--

Dear friends,

You are not fragile.

You transform the trailblazing, boundary-pushing, world-expanding force inside you into tangible forms. You cultivate it to sustain your life. This is grit and passion and brilliance.

COVID-19 is yet another setback for creatives’ ability to thrive in our economy. It’s impossible to predict the post-coronavirus cultural scene. We will not wait for the new normal, we will make it.

We are only as strong as our most vulnerable. We will continuously challenge each other to listen to the lived experiences of black and brown people. We will examine our own lives, creative businesses, and artistic practices for traces of racism. Our artistic work will not contribute to an unjust nor inequitable society.

Do not miss this moment. Lean into your role as a creative professional and citizen.

The Indiana Arts Commission will support creatives to make their future.

We will use these values to guide our journey together:

  • We will know ourselves.
  • We will pay attention to one another.
  • We will thrive through symbiotic relationships.

1. We will know ourselves.

This creative ecosystem only thrives if each of its parts are healthy. Know yourself, be yourself, value yourself-- personally and artistically. The creative community needs you to take your creative work seriously. Are you making your best work? Do you know where you’re headed? Are you putting in the work to get there? What do you need? Please don’t skip this step.

Resources to know yourself:

Many of us are feeling discouraged and struggling to create. Lonely. Overwhelmed. Abandoned. That’s okay-- this is part of honestly knowing yourself. Things have been lost, you need to grieve. If you’re continually feeling depressed or anxious, it may be time to get some care.

2. We will pay attention to one another.

We are independent creatives, but we don’t exist in a vacuum. Like birds, we can fly alone but our flock can turn on a dime. We are oak trees with deep roots that intertwine and brace each other during the storm. We know what resources and threats exist in our universe.

We will pay attention to our community, audience, clients. We will notice what people are curious about. We will ask clients why they like working with us. Treating audiences like the complex individuals they are will be our standard.

Resources to pay attention to one another:

3. We will thrive through symbiotic relationships.

If we know and value ourselves and pay attention to one another, what we each receive or earn through our creative work. Here’s a theory:

  • I can describe my creative work with words that make sense to anyone.
  • I am good at noticing what groups of people need or want.
  • I see how my creative work intersects with what a group of people needs or wants.
  • When I share my creative work, I get what I need in return.

Get what you need through your creative work-- cash, physical exercise, joy. Know what you need and ask for it. You design your own future, do it on purpose.

Resources to thrive through symbiotic relationships

The Indiana Arts Commission will support creatives to make their future. You are part of a richly varied creative ecosystem of interdependent beings. Will you tend to it?

Photo by "My Life Through A Lens" on Unsplash