As an artist living in an imperfect world, there may be times when you’ll feel neglected and under-served. You may suffer from one or more of these circumstances: isolation; financial hardship; young and under recognized; and aging and invisible.
Like a chronic disease, if left unresolved and untreated, these conditions can erode your confidence, prevent you from pursuing opportunities, and stifle your creative inspiration. For whatever reason when you feel disenfranchised, avoid perceiving yourself as a victim. Then, avoid associating with people who are negative and pessimistic.
This article provides positive solutions for you art career problems that may occur during different stages of your career. I wrote a similar article on this subject for the June-July 2017 issue of Professional Artist magazine.
Instead of focusing on the problems,
let’s focus on the solutions.
Do You Feel Isolated?
Solution: Find Allies and Join Forces
Perhaps you live in a part of the world or small community where there is little or no support for the arts. Or you have limited time for networking. Feeling isolated can be devastating.
There are a wealth of art conferences, art communities, organizations, websites, online galleries, and alternative venues where creative folks are connecting with each other.
If you’re in the U.S. find nonprofit art organizations and more resources listed by state on http://www.art-support.com/nonprofits.htm.
To feel instantly connected, use your computer and an internet connection at home or a public library to tap into world-wide access to social media. For example, if you’re a pastel artist connect with more than 5,900 other pastel artists at https://www.facebook.com/groups/Pastelsocietyofamerica/ If you’re a female artist share news, views and encouragement with fellow women artists by joining https://www.facebook.com/groups/advancingwomenartists/. If you’re on LinkedIn find groups from A-Z https://www.linkedin.com/directory/groups/
Join, start making connections,
and engage in positive uplifting discussions.
Do You Suffer from Financial Hardship?
Solution: Utilize Available Financial Resources
It can be devastating to feel financially deprived. There are solutions. Seek resources from organizations, grant sponsors and foundations that are devoted primarily to serving artists in need.
The Artists Fellowship http://artistsfellowship.org/ was formed with the sole purpose to assist artists and their families in times of emergency, disability, or bereavement.
CERF+, the Craft Emergency Relief Fund, https://cerfplus.org/, is a leading nonprofit organization that uniquely focuses on “safeguarding artists’ livelihoods nationwide.”
The Foundation Center has a database of over 140,000 grantmakers at http://foundationcenter.org/products/foundation-directory-online
Many artists have received funding for either emergencies or for art projects using GoFundMe http://www.gofundme.com, one of the easiest ways to raise money online. After you create a campaign you can start accepting donations, there are no deadlines or goal requirements, and you get to keep every donation you receive.
Tackle your financial problems
with a solid art business plan
Are You A Young Artist Who Feels Underserved?
Solution: Create Your Own Alternatives
As an art student, I realized I couldn’t change the rules of the gallery system. So, instead of lamenting about problem, I was determined to create solutions. I founded an artist membership group, Artopia, and organized exhibitions in alternative spaces throughout NYC to give other emerging artists like myself exposure. Similarly, because the mainstream art press ignored unknown artists I launched Manhattan Arts International magazine which I distributed for free through hundreds of NYC galleries. Now as a curator, to give artists more exposure, I organize online exhibitions on www.manhattanarts.com.
The greatest challenges throughout my career
have led to the most rewarding experiences.
Channel your energy into a positive direction, join or take up a cause, and become a pioneer devoted to changing the course of art history, and you will no longer be under recognized.
Do You Feel Old and Invisible?
Go Where There Are Opportunities
It’s great that we’re living longer. Many retires are launching their second careers as artists. However, our society often ignores elder artists and they feel like invisible members of the art community.
The Carter Burden Art Gallery http://www.carterburdengallery.org/ in NYC was established to “to create a dialogue with the arts community supporting our belief that older, lesser-known artists must not be overlooked due to age or decreased marketability in the current art scene.” It offers exhibition opportunities to NYC artists over the age of 60, and fosters a supportive and culturally-diverse community of re-emerging artists.
Opportunities for mature artists exist in areas where there are larger populations of seniors. For instance, The Dina Baker Fund For Mature Female Artists at the Cultural Council of Palm Beach County, Inc. in Florida helps to stabilize and strengthen the careers of female artists 55 years of age or older.
Articles about mature artists has become a popular theme with many writers for print and online publications. Many blogs have published posts about aging artists that have gone viral.
Contact your alma mater or locale art school and offer to mentor a young artist.
View your creativity, career experiences and wisdom
as valuable gifts waiting to be shared.
Solution for Many Problems – Help Someone Else
One of the best solutions to alleviate the painful feelings of isolation, financial hardship, under recognition, or age discrimination, is to go and help others who are suffering more than you are. Knowing the world needs you and you have a purpose to fulfill is one of the best sources for healing your wounds. They may not solve your problems immediately, but it will help to focus on something else besides them.