I wrote the piece below for my birthday last year. It was my most popular piece ever, and so I decided to run it again. Please feel free to share it with your friends this holiday season.
December 14, 2012: As I celebrate my birthday this week, I feel blessed that I get to work with so many amazing and creative women. I know it is not easy to be an artist these days, and I am grateful to all of you for sticking to it.
We have been enduring three decades of a long, cold winter of shrinking funding and dismissive public attitudes towards artists. I believe we will eventually pass through a cultural solstice and the light will start to return, but meanwhile, we need to figure out ways to sustain each other.
If you are like me, you are being deluged with funding requests at this time of year. If you are able to make cash gifts to women artists and women’s organizations, I hope you will do so. Most of us (including WomenArts) are working on a shoestring, and your cash gifts will really make a difference.
But I also believe there is a currency of kindness that we can use to lift each other’s spirits whether or not we have any spare cash on hand.
I have seen it over and over again at WomenArts and in other parts of my life – you can often give someone the courage to keep working or try something new just by listening to them carefully, acknowledging their hard work, and finding kind, supportive things to say.
Believe in the Currency of Kindness
I am making a special birthday request. I want each of you to do the following three things:
- Take time during the holiday season to think about a women artist whose work touches you.
- Do your best to contact that artist and tell her what you love about her work. If she needs money and you have some extra, make a donation to her work. If not, just say kind words.
- Write to me or post a note on our Facebook page to let me know what happens.
This email is being sent to over 10,000 people. Just think how many women artists will be energized if all of us make a conscious effort to cheer them on! Let’s do it!
Thanks again to all of you for filling my life with so much joy. You make me happy on my birthday and every day.
Best Wishes for the Holidays!
Executive Director, WomenArts