I want to write a measured and unbiased piece about my career in the arts but I’m angry so not sure I’ll manage it! (Spoiler alert this is a rant!) I’ve always been a huge supporter of the arts, I don’t have a lot of money to give but I always give something to fundraising campaigns for renovation projects, crowd funding for creative projects, donations at Box Offices. I also use my skills and knowledge to work in arts venue management, and have had a successful career in this wonderful industry for almost 20 years. I have volunteered thousands of hours of my time over the years to help refurbish theatres, administrate projects, mentor and teach young adults, offer advice to emerging artists, introduce artists to one another….
I believe in collaboration and community and that when passionate and creative people come together there’s no end to the possibilities…
Today, I’ve listened to several really wonderful people, speaking with true passion about what they believe the arts should be about, it’s been awesome and exciting and at the same time, unbelievably sad…
I believe, in a nutshell, that the arts make people happy, and after all, we all want happiness in our life don’t we? Dancing is proven to help you age better and help your wellbeing, I’ve seen countless creative projects help build the confidence, self esteem, interaction, life skills of thousands of folks from all walks of life. At very least we go to the theatre to enjoy our leisure time, to spend our hard earned cash to sit in a dark room, with a glass of wine and a group of strangers having a shared experience, whether a play makes you laugh, cry, think, the idea is to provoke, entertain, move,inspire, engage you.
I’ve been lucky enough to work with really wonderful, inspiring, collaborative people who challenge, support and build each other, at its best working in the arts can be a truly special experience.
However, there are some people who work in this industry, and every industry I suppose, who are fakes, phoneys, they get into positions of power by talking rubbish that can’t be followed through with anything of any substance, and those people, who have no real interest in collaboration, in wellbeing, in what it really means to be an arts professional, are only really interested in how the arts can benefit them and will claw their way to the top, no matter what, or who, ends up as collateral damage. These people end up bullying those around them due to their own lack of skills and confidence which turns whole teams into bitching, competitive and disjointed groups of people. It takes all the reward and inspiration and sadly creativity out of our work.
I’ve met too many of these people in recent years, sadly a lot of them started out as passionate and wonderful people but didn’t have mentors, or the training and investment they needed to develop into the leaders the arts really need. Some of them are just arseholes, taking advantage of an industry that seems easy and weak. I can tell you now this industry is not easy or weak! It’s full of tireless effort and changes and betters lives.
I’m at a cross roads in my career, I’ve worked with leaders who aren’t interested in professional or personal development, as a result staff are competitive and defensive, there’s a blame culture and no one inspires or lifts each other, as a result my creativity is pretty stifled. In the arts everyone seems to be tired and overworked but there isn’t a lot of rewards for me personally at the moment, instead people steal my ideas and take the credit for them, don’t include me in discussions that I should be involved in, ignore my input because I’m a woman and generally destroy all the reasons I choose to do what I do….
Anyway, these wonderful speakers today, really helped me separate the wheat from the chaff, the phoneys really stood out in a line up that was otherwise full of honesty and integrity. It reminded me that there are good, inspiring and talanted people in my world, made me determind to seek them out and join them, learn from and stand with them.