Illness in the Art System - Happy Labour Day
There seems to be an illness in the arts system, something off balance that has created a culture of all work and no play. The insistence of machine-like production that values getting the most for our money.
This is one of the reason arts jobs are known to be so low paying, but it is also the reason why when we can't afford a second employee, we expect one to do the work of two. Even when an organization has a decent budget, they insist on creating the biggest, largest, fanciest, busiest organization they can muster.
Combine this toxic culture with a seemingly high trend of high level Curators or Executive Directors with amazing art skills, but poor people skills and/or are under so much stress trying to defend to others that their organization is worth more money/support/funding so they can bring in bigger names and host bigger events, that they can't manage to treat their staff like human beings.**
When everyone starts forgetting the value of a person's mental health, the creative, engaging people in the field begin to come and then go rather quickly.
I am facing this adventure as artist/entrepreneur at a time where I am overcoming anxieties and stresses from a job where I was ignored, berated and screamed at by my superiors, and now survivors guilt for thinking about those still there. I am trying to recover, while seeming normal and ordinary, not anxious and dealing with issues of inadequacy.
And while I am so excited to be following my dream, I am doing so within the same art system that expects everything for nothing. I am entering into a fight for living wages, creative ownership, funding, and more. So I can't afford to be anxious, to have difficulty with people. As artists, we aren't allowed to feel this way, we have no sick days, we are our own marketing, branding, and salesperson. We treat ourselves just as badly it seems.
So I begin this journey hoping to pursue self care. To give as much time to me as to the art. To prioritize my health and wellness over an arbitrary deadline. While sometimes I may get overwhelmed to keep up with a busy time, a new opportunity, a period of growth, but as long as I am keeping myself in check, and able to maintain a satisfactory level of happiness and contentment, I will be successful.
**I am positive that there are workplaces that aren't like this, within the arts and outside. I imagine that some careers allow you to leave your work at work, and take your vacations and has reasonable expectations on your time. I would love to know if you like your job or if it's just something that pays the bills. OR if you love taking your work home with you!!