Look familiar? For all you artists & creative souls out there, we’ve all experienced the oftentimes fraught relationship between Art, Creative Labor and Value. Not to mention, the ways in which our diverse cultural identities, lived experiences & family backgrounds impact our relationships to money.
As a creative person, coach & queer, I’ve had to discover/develop tools for healing my own fraught relationship to the ‘all-mighty buck’ - and to my sense of my own value. It’s a challenging and ongoing process - healing these fractures involves facing limiting concepts around money and self-worth, as well as heightening awareness of the larger systems that set us up to thrive or fail.
Systemic barriers are real and impact our lives (each in different ways, of course), but we need not accept the system as it is or our lives as they are. I do believe that we have individual and collective power to change and to make change.
Speaking of our power, did you know that you’re already a philanthropist? Artists sustain one another and one another’s work all the time! We’ve been patrons of the arts since the beginning! While our patronage may be somewhat by necessity and not by choice, communities most impacted by systemic inequalities also wield the greatest strategies! How can we use our creative resiliency to empower ourselves and one another, rather than continue to participate in and perpetuate our exploitation as artists?
I want artists to thrive - and I want them to have the resources they need to do so. Our work has value and makes valuable contributions to culture at large. As part of our sur-thrival, I want artists to make money!!! With more money in the hands of artists — LGBTQ+ artists, Black artists and other historically disenfranchised creative communities — think about the resources we could circulate to help one another not just survive, but thrive! This is not the whole enchilada, but its a powerful place to root out inequalities and shake up the system!
So, how do we shake up our relationships to Art and $$$?
As a starting point - take a quiet moment to ask yourself these questions: What beliefs around money were instilled in you growing up? What old beliefs around money no longer serve you? What new beliefs do you want to embrace? Talk about this stuff with a trusted friend, another artist, a chosen or biological family member - its good to combat money shame by sharing experiences, tools and insights.
Now for the Art part: What value do you offer through your art - your talents, expertise, time? What resources & strategies do you already have that you can claim as a source of power? In an ideal scenario, what would you like to receive for your skills and contributions in return? What will you do with these resources once you have them? Use your imagination to picture this scenario and feel the subtle energy shift as you do. As artists, we often develop a healthy relationship to mistake and failure, but what about our relationship to success and to receiving all the bounties that our creative lives may bring our way? What does success look like to you?
From this place - what’s one strategy you already have or want to develop in the near future to help you claim the full value of your creative contributions?