The arts are a job we need

Reflecting on my time with South Coast Arts as a coach, I’ve been reminded the arts are a job we need and need to respect.


It struck me as I was thinking about June being the first month that I haven’t worked with my South Coast arts coaching clients. I’ve been working with them for the last six months and I’m going to miss each of them dearly.The arts is a job we need. Yet, it’s always devalued. The threat of AI, the high profile reports that are showing low earnings the things that we know about this industry, that it’s difficult to remain employed there’s issues with stability and all that sort of stuff.

And yet this is a time where we uniquely need the arts more than any other, I believe. With journalism’s erosion and things being called into question there, the arts are where we really still get our commentary on the life and times that we live in. There’s an independence there. We’re not creating content with artists, they’re creating art, they’re telling stories through theatre and music and, through painting and, photography and dance and all of these things that perhaps we wouldn’t get if it was just taken from a content perspective. I believe that arts is also a way of questioning where we’re going to land before we even get there. This is our opportunity to actually think about where are we headed? What are we doing and what will happen if we keep going in the directions that we are with the environment, with politics, the way that we treat each other and a whole host of other things in the small and the large.

Arts also speaks to our inner child. It reminds us to be curious and to be playful and to be non judgmental as we explore the world. And we definitely need that at the moment, especially when so many people are convinced that they have the right answers without listening to what’s in front of them.

The arts has always been a home for people that feel excluded.

And I think that is increasing. There is an increasing tension that I’m sensing between creative people and the capitalist model and what is content and what is art. All of these sorts of things are being investigated as social media especially falls over on itself. And I think it’s really important that we remember that this is a place where people can freely express themselves, find belonging and find community when they may not otherwise have had the opportunity to do so. I know I certainly have, as a person with disabilities, found a lot more community through arts than I have had in the general society. And I think that’s a really important thing to recognize. Arts gives us a release . It gives us the ability to express ourselves. It gives us the opportunity to think about what we’re doing.

It’s somewhere that we have autonomy, and it’s somewhere where we can explore our mental health and our stress and everything that’s going on in a very therapeutic and very helpful way . It doesn’t matter whether you’re a creative artist, or whether you’re someone who just dabbles or draws or sketches when they’re in meetings, when they’re stressed or whatever.

These are things that we know instinctually help us listening to music when we’re stressed. All of that kind of stuff really helps.

And what else other than the arts saved us during the pandemic and the lockdown? We were consuming music, we were consuming TV, we were watching things on YouTube, people were live streaming shows and we were engaging with them as they played for crowdfunding tips and all that sort of stuff.

And I think outside the pandemic, it’s also the arts that gives us the sense of what we experience when we experience natural disasters, when we experience other things like recession and other pressures in our life, these are the stories that tell what it’s like to be living in these times that we attach to and we really need.

And also engaging with the arts as a creative or a supporter, I believe gives us another opportunity to bond with our fellow human beings. It brings us together in a way and creates community that we might not otherwise have. That shared interest brings us together. The love of theatre, the love of film, going to an art gallery and experiencing things, listening to people in our lounge rooms through podcasts, as we vacuum all of this stuff, it all makes us feel like we’re connected to something much, much bigger than ourselves. So when you’re out there today, and you’re thinking about your end of financial year, and you’re thinking about what you can do, please remember that our Art and artists are helping you get through your life and to contribute to them.

But I think also too, we need to remember that while we’ve got AI and it’s making it easy to create things we’ve got cell phone photography, we’ve got writing done by chatbots, all sorts of different things. There is an art and a process and a vulnerability and a compassion that we are going to potentially lose if we don’t value the creatives, if we don’t value their input and we simply believe that we can replace them with what are basically surface level tools.

Thanks for listening.

To find out more about South Coast Arts and the great work they do, head to their website and sign up now for the waiting list for the Creative Pulse coaching program.

To hire me directly as your coach or for your arts organisation programs, check out my coaching page and get in touch. 



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