Art is for everyone

While there's definitely space for professional artists, I think art should be for amateurs

If reading Julia Cameron's book The Artist's Way taught me one thing, it's that creativity is our human birthright.

There are almost as many ways to make art as there are to be creative and creativity is where innovation happens.

Yet I see my kids increasingly losing interest in learning to make art, partly because the model of education is based on emulating the teacher.

We need to foster creative expression in our communities since it seems as though their individual differences are disappearing as the world shrinks.

I believe everyone should have an expressive habit or two.

These outlets reflect individual experiences by channeling passing thoughts and dreams while refining techniques -- maybe even inventing new ones.

The problem with making a thing professional is that one ends up becoming a manager.

This is something I learned at university, even without studying management.

When I worked there it was kinda bizarre to observe that academics would move into management roles.

These were people whose passion had led them to specialise in fields that became increasingly obscure as they got more qualified.

There was a tension between managing students while achieving research outcomes.

Yet all the time they were researching their expertise, the university would dangle jobs in management.

Career progression for many probably stalled with the casualisation of the workforce (driven by management consultants), so the only job security that seemed available was moving into something managing the casual staff.

I feel like I've seen the same phenomena in the arts world, as one-time artists become administrators and consultants.

It makes sense as one has to learn to justify the passion to create by developing a business case to apply for grants and navigate processes like running a board, buying insurance, marketing creative outcomes, etc.

The drawback is it becomes isolating as artists share less of their inspiration, which is the stuff that makes their creative output meaningful to audiences.

As an audience I don't want to be told something is important, I want to know why it's important to the artist.

Human interest stories are engaging and the best teachers make it feel as though you're on the journey with them, discovering the outcomes as they explain their development.

In some ways it seems a similar outcome to the academics who no longer teach their specialisations, since it's the process that reveals the intricacies of a subject to an increasingly educated population.

However, the qualifications in our communities are now increasingly administrative ones.

As a result, we see the justification for creative practices framed in terms of economic values.

Maybe the move toward government budgets recognising well-being will see a new framing for the arts?