On being a Teaching Artist...

I was talking about working with kids with a custodian at the local elementary school. His long flowing hair, and dude-personality, comes from his earlier days as an artist in Colorado. His custodian livelihood helps his artistic lifestyle, and we have much to talk about. 

He spoke to me about having "art jobs" and how he found that he would get burned out when he had them. Did I find the same thing? Did I get burned out with my art jobs?

Yes, I have.

But that's probably why I love being a teaching artist. I'm not creating work for someone else. I'm facilitating the creative process for young people (in this case... adults in other cases). That's a big difference.

My Art(S) jobs are different. I'm working for arts organizations, running board meetings, dissecting budgets, and writing proposals. Creativity is in there, but it's not creating my own work.

But the Teaching Artist gig is very different, and provides me with an energy that is so different... hard to put into words. I allow space for my students to create, and I help them discuss it, celebrate it, and refine it. Messes are made. Mistakes are made. Discoveries are made. 

I give something else, but it's not replacing my creative energy... I'm giving my knowledge. These kids have enough creative energy. Those art jobs? They want your creative energy for their bottom line. The Art(s) jobs want your creative energy for their double-bottom line.