A few weeks ago I had a fantastic opportunity.
I was sponsored by the CFC to go to Lean StartUp Machine Toronto, having pitched the idea of saving the arts through digital and social media means. The idea garnered a lot of interest, personal interest, not just on a business level but on a personal level.
I spent the weekend talking with people. Intelligent people, great people, artistic vocal involved people. The people that we as artists have been trying to engage for years. The people we’ve been dying to see in audiences, applauding, appreciating, supporting us. You want to know why young, smart, artistic adults aren’t interested in your art?
It’s because you’ve been a pompous jack ass.
It’s because you haven’t invited them in.
You haven’t made them feel welcome.
You’ve bullied and belittled and humiliated them for not understanding you.
You’ve waved the flag of culture and told them that they just aren’t smart enough.
You threw your expertise and your knowledge and your years of training and blood, sweat and tears in their faces.
You stood on your soap box and told them that you were better than them and they should revere you.
And they gave you the finger and walked the other way.
They turned to the internet and video games and YouTube, they turned to the art that made them the hero, that lifted them up, that gave them power, instead of pushing them down.
And now here we sit, artists and administrators, producers and performers, losing, barely keeping ourselves afloat and wondering why no one worships us for our brilliance. We’ve dug ourselves this hole, and we’ve alienated others from us, we’ve become our own little club, entertaining ourselves, and wallowing in our own pain. The amount of art created as a way of venting about the state of art is appalling.
Art used to be the voice of the people. We’ve forgotten that. We’ve taken it and used it to broadcast our own voices, our own stories, our own pain. We’ve forgotten our position. Our purpose.
We are story tellers. We are the messengers. We are vessels. Conduits. We are the connection.
We are not the story.
What do we need to do to ‘save art’? Pull our heads out of our asses and stop wallowing.
This week, talk to someone you don’t know. Ask them their story. Empathize. Feel it. Go home and experiment with retelling it, however you do that. Monologue, song, photos, painting. Don’t make it about you. Just try. Be selfless.