I received the call inviting me to be a Teaching Artist while I was driving. I wasn’t anywhere near a good place to pull over. But It happened to be just as I was passing a sign for Columbia. That’s when it hit me…
I AM an Artist.
Like, for Real for Real.
I did not have to confidence to claim that title before. I HAVE something now that I had no clue I needed…Identity.
See, I was always a “Creative,” a “Singer,” a “Songwriter,” a”Dancer,” a “Performer,” a “Spoken Word Artist,” but for some reason “Artist” didn’t come to mind. I don’t know why I removed it from a place that I resided in.
I have a confession to make: I am a recovering Artist. I have been in “Creative Recovery” as Julia Cameron would put it in her book “The Artist Way.” That means, I had declined to acknowledge and embrace my “Artist Self,” and am now re-establishing that relationship. This process, for me, really and truly began, with full intent, back in 2011. It was definitely a process. I had to really look at myself, and remove the lenses I was seeing through, the ones I didn’t know were there.
This led me down many paths. Each one was heading to the same place: the Interdisciplinary Arts, MA program here at Columbia. That was absolutely a commercial, yes. How-the-ever, there is a special feeling of a place in each of us, upon which our dreams sit, that we look at from this side of our reality. This place walks with me every time I look at my calendar to plan the next coming months. There is more direction when I feel my decisions.
I remember one of the first times I literally giggled aloud because I was keenly aware that I felt that special place when I think of my work here at Columbia. It was the first day of Movement Class and my first time meeting the beautiful spirit known as Nana Shinflug. I always felt she was my kindred spirit, being a fellow Sagittarius, mother, and recovering creative (as I saw it) who made such a huge life following her own special feeling place. I will follow my feeling place. This is where I uncovered my identity as “Artist.” What was once uncomfortable to claim, for reasons that are still to be understood, I now choose no other description.
So I’ve spend the past few weeks, guiding the youth before me, as an Artist. Not a teacher, nor a parent—not in any other capacity. Just as I am: an Artist, sharing my own vision, in my own way. I feel really good about that. I realize I now have the ability to claim my work so easily because of having Columbia in my life. No matter what my medium may be. This is the place I work from. It is my place only. I’ve only been able to share it with a select few. As I develop my aesthetic as an Interdisciplinary Artist, the intention is that my feeling gets stronger, and I am able to share my place with many many more. I think this classroom will remain special for me.
My first residency as a Teaching Artist—I can’t believe its almost over. I think you can imagine that I may say something like, “I feel like I’ve just begun,” or something cheesy like that to play with the connection between the residency ending, but a new life stage starting. Yeah, I think that’s what I am going for—something sappy because I want company in feeling all excited and stuff.
So, YEAH BABY! My First Teaching Artist Residency, DONE! A FURTURE of NONSTOP Residencies and Opportunities as an Interdisciplinary Artist, HERE I COME!!! WOOT WOOT! I want to thank my Mom, because her Birthday is this month, the 21st to be exact (Happy Birthday Mom!), and Gallery 37 for prepping me back when I was in high school, and shout out to Columbia for hooking me up with all types of skills!
That sounded about right.
By the way: Have a creative July!