I was honored to be one of only a few artists in Louisiana to be selected for the Creative Capital Professional Development Program hosted by the Louisiana Division of Arts. The benefits of this workshop reach far beyond "supporting the arts." The workshop leaders present empirical data on artists and how their lives affect society, the economy, and themselves. The stereotypes of free-thinking, far-out, disorganized artists are dismissed. The intelligent, goal-oriented, commerce driven artist is empowered to stake his claim in the market. The Creative Capital leaders bring respect to what artists do. They taught me that poverty, suffering, and alienation are not an end result to the creative process. Artists do not have to be outcasts, misfits, with cultural relevancy only. We are key players in the economy and in politics.
The workshop was a life-changing experience. I would not recommend this program for an artist who is looking for simple inspiration or guidance in a feel-good setting. The workshop is intense and geared towards radical change. It is meant to deconstruct and reconstruct your identity in a short time. The end result is an artist who takes his efforts seriously. Forget about lofty inspirational quotes. The program teaches concrete, systematic steps that equal financial success. Time management, strategic planning, and organization skills are explored.
It is time for the artist and the perception of the artist to be elevated. It is time we start running our lives like what we do matters, how a business matters, how an organization matters, how academia matters. Our talents, creativity, passions, and emotional outreach, as engrossing as they may be, should never overshadow our basic rights to live good, healthy, normal lives, with benefits, vacations, and financial and personal success like everyone else. Our creative process deserves the reward. These are the fundamental tenets that the Creative Capital Professional Development Program taught me. I see my role as an artist in a totally different light.