Thursday, March 17, 2011

Artist as Mentor and Advocate

I was recently invited to participate in a panel discussion about the many lives that artists lead and all of the roles that we play as we lead those lives. I've been asked to discuss (or represent) the lives that we lead as mentors and advocates. All this has gotten me thinking about what it means to be and to do these things, and (more importantly) about what it means to be and to do these things while simultaneously being and artist. I think of mentors and advocates as people who lead the way, both by teaching and by modelling excellence in their own creative lives. These are the individuals who embody and protect the values that we share as artists. These are the artists who move through the world with grace, making the case for the arts' indispensibility as they go.

What do effective mentorship and advocacy look and feel like in the visual arts? What are the responsibilities that we have to one another, in terms of guiding and supporting one another's creative work? How do we make a compelling case for the importance of our work and our discipline within the academy and, more broadly, within our culture?

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