Arts Careers- Selfish or Service?

Used by Creative Commons License

In my variety of jobs, I work with a variety of people. So I’m exposed to a lot of different perspectives. I’ve found 2 to be clashing frequently, especially as of late, so I thought I would share them with you, for your thoughts.

Is life in the arts essentially selfish, or selfless?

I have one boss who asserts that a life in the arts is selfish. Everything you do is based on you- you audition and get accepted for your performance, your looks, your skills, etc. If you are creating art (writing, choreographing, painting, etc.), you make what you want. You are creating your own dreams and visions, which you can choose to share with the world. Or not. And, you get to do something that most people don’t consider a “career” as your job. You get to actually live your passion, rather than taking a day job. It’s a little irresponsible.

Then, the other, sees life in the arts as a life of service. You put yourself out there constantly, subject to criticism and rejection, for the purpose of entertaining others. You serve the story. You serve the audience. You are nothing without the audience. They are not there to see you, but to escape, go somewhere, find joy, be challenged, relive a moment- and it is your responsibility to fulfill all of those expectations. The audience and the story always rank higher than you. Even if you are creating the work, it should be done with end in mind. Keeping perspective- not, “What do I want the audience to take away from this?” or “What am I saying here?”, but “What does the audience want to take away from this experience?” or “What do others hear in this story?”

Next week I’ll write about my thoughts on these 2 views. But I’d love to hear yours! Leave me a comment or a tweet!


Original by Shephard Fairly. Used by Creative Commons License.

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