I recently had the opportunity to teach a career skills workshop for artists at Larkin Street Youth Services in San Francisco. This remarkable organization offers support and educational resources for recently homeless young people. Their mission incorporates the Dalai Lama’s maxim: “When educating the minds of our youth, we must not forget to educate their hearts.”
The workshop took place in their collective art studio, an environment created to support these young artists, who were mostly musicians. The studio was warm and welcoming, filled with comfortable chairs and couches, cubbyhole lockers for each person’s valuables, sophisticated electronic keyboards, musical instruments, computers and many snacks. The studio provided a physically, emotionally and mentally nurturing place where these artists could grow. It gave the recently homeless a home for their art practice.
During the workshop we focused on a checklist of career skills for creative people, but it seemed to me that they already had what many artists need. They worked in an environment that surrounded them with the knowledge that they mattered. They could believe in themselves as artists while they worked on their art, protected from the chaos of the streets.
The mind and the heart are interwoven in all of us, but this is especially true of creative people. If you are fortunate enough to have your own studio, make sure that it nurtures you. Even if your art space is just a corner of a bedroom or part of a garage, it should surround you with a sense of privacy and calm, safety and support. Organize it so that you bring everything you need together in one place, and make it a place you want to be.
Your art space is an extension of your artist self, the foundation for your practice.
Mary Edwards, Ph.D
Career & Life Coach for Artists
“Left Brain Skills for Right Brained People”
As an artist coach, I bring a unique combination of business knowledge, art world experience, and professional coaching skill to my practice.