Done Worrying About the Future of the Arts

 For as long as I can remember, I've heard conversations and opinions centered on a deep concern for the future of the arts. As an artist myself, I've participated in many of these conversations, and there have been times I've been deeply worried about where fine arts, in particular, are headed. But I've recently started to see that worry as misplaced.

There are a couple of indicators that fine arts remain alive and well. One of them is the ongoing high visibility arts are finding in the online realm. Maybe it's because I've followed so many artists and arts organizations on my social media, but I'm impressed by both the quality and quantity of artistic expression I see there. 

The other indicator I see that encourages me is the accessibility of some of the world's major players in every field of art. People interact with creative artists like author SE Hinton, multi-disciplinary star Isabella Rosselini, Pee Wee Herman, and many others. I remember the thrill I had of exchanging with the late, great John Perry Barlow, which touched upon cattle ranching in my home state of Wyoming and the intricacies of lyric writing. 

I do agree that there are major shifts in the arts that have to be navigated, but the same shifts are present in other areas as well. The ever-present challenge of cultivating and keeping audiences engaged has gotten more tricky with introducing so many more options in the cultural and leisure marketplace. Those challenges aren't new, but the details have changed. And consumption patterns are all over the map. We're still trying to adapt to a world where people want both in-person and virtual access to everything.

But the main reason I've decided that worrying about the future is not a great use of time is that the worry doesn't lend itself to creating the work that will determine the quality of the future. I'd rather spend my time writing and recording songs that will never be heard than worrying one minute about whether there will be a music business in the future. 

As long as there are art makers and art consumers, we'll find ways to exchange that are mutually beneficial. The old model stopped working a while ago, and I'm not sure it ever worked for most creators. I think we have an amazing opportunity now to develop a more equitable distribution system for everyone, as long as we're willing to do what it takes.

Instead of worrying, get your tools out and get to work - for its own sake.

#creativity #creativecareer #futureofwork