Secrets of an Arts Administrator

“Secrets of an Arts Administrator” will be a weekly blog post featuring anecdote from regional administrators/educators in the creative field.  It is NCLAC’s hope that through these real life experiences artists in all fields can gain practical knowledge for the industry.  As the famous author C.S. Lewis once said “Experience: that most brutal of teachers. But you learn, my God do you learn.”

Lesson: Don’t pass up an opportunity (or at least think really hard before you do)

So many times I have heard artist say something similiar to the following “I wish I wouldn’t have missed out on that…”  Whether it was an exhibition, audition, or job we sometimes find ourselves loosing sight of our goals.  While I don’t think it’s healthy to spend too much time thinking about our mistakes, I do think it’s important to learn from them.  Here are some common reasons why we don’t pursue opportunities and why you shouldn’t fall victim to them:

  • Rejection: This is inherent to the artistic process.  You will sometime fail, you will sometimes be rejected, and you will sometimes be heartbroken.  It’s okay.  (No really, it is). Our artwork (be it performing, visual, or written) is personal, so it’s easy to take rejection personally.  I have no simple solution to handling it except to say that it’s part of the game.  Don’t let it stop you from making steps to reaching your artistic and career goals.
  • Ego: So many times I hear artists saying that they were “too good” for an opportunity only to hear them later regret their comments.  The artistic world is a competitive one and those who take advantage of what is offered fair better.  Be discerning when it comes to passing up an opportunity.  Consider all the factors and never look at something based solely on face value.
  • Time/Effort: Being an artist does take time and work.  I think artists don’t get enough credit for how hard they work.  I see it every day, and every time I present a new opportunity I know that it just means more of your time.  Consider it as time well spent (even if it results in rejection).  Your passion for creation will be wasted if it’s not shared.  Opportunities for exposure come only so often so it’s worth the amount of time it takes.  Creation is only half the climb.
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