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Inspiring Your Inner Artist

Mike Gagliardo

Mike Gagliardo

Quick – raise your hand if you got into your job in the arts for the money.

That’s what I thought.

Now raise your hand if you spend a majority of your work day worrying about and dealing with your budget, stressing over where the cash to fund the next big project is going to come from, or simply wondering where and how hard you’re going to have to squeeze to make payroll.

Hands down.

The truth of the matter is this – we’re so damned consumed with trying to scrape together every penny that we’ve forgotten why we got into this “business” in the first place.  And I call it a business because, for better or for worse, that’s what it’s become.

The arts have seemingly become a part of the business of survival.

And our jobs, as the keepers of the store, is to make sure that from day to day we can keep the doors open. It’s frightening, especially in the current economic climate, and it can feel like the most overwhelming task in the world at times – a thankless job that leaves us to question if anyone out there really cares.

But let’s not forget why we came here, and how we arrived at this place.

For me, it was a single moment – a video of Leonard Bernstein conducting the New York Philharmonic, brought in by my high school orchestra conductor – that made me say, “I want to do that!”

For you it could have been the first time you stepped out onto the stage under the spotlight and spoke your character’s first lines, with the realization that you had connected with your audience.

It could have been the first time a work of art reached all the way to your soul, and you stood before it and wept for the beauty or the tragedy contained on the canvas or in the clay.

Maybe it was the first time that you stopped counting, became one with the music, and allowed the dance to simply happen, rather than making it happen.

Whatever the reason – whatever your reason, because it is a personal thing – each of us chose a career in the arts because at some point, in some way, the arts touched our hearts and captured our spirits and captivated our minds.

Hell no, we’re not in it for the money – we disappointed our parents and our family and our friends years ago in that respect! We’re in it because we love it, and because it makes the world a better place.

So do me a favor – and do yourself a favor in the process.

Pick a day this week – just one day – and for that day, just make art. Just create.

Don’t worry about money. That problem will be there tomorrow.

For one day, be an artist.

Paint, dance, perform, create – whatever your discipline, spend the day fully involved in it. Remember why you came to the arts.

I promise, when you get up the next day, that budget problem won’t seem so bad or so insurmountable after all.

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