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A Residency... In Residence...

Last Thursday as we drove from CT to PA to then drive from PA to NYC to Long Island to NYC to NJ back to NYC then back to CT in a 5 day window I saw a link shared by the Lost in Living(an amazing documentary about motherhood and being an artist) page on Facebook.

It was an artist in residency grant at the Women's Studio Workshop. Not just any residency, a PARENT residency grant... With new support from the Sustainable Arts Foundation it began...

For a moment I was so excited. I read about the printmaking and ceramics facilities (two arts I studied in college but left behind due to time and space). I read about the town. I mapped the distance between my home and their facility. I calculated childcare costs and compared them against the provided stipend. I thought of all of the residencies I had been been nominated or applied for before kids... Then I stopped...

I stopped, and I laughed, then I chastised myself for being so foolish. How could I really leave two young kiddos for a month? How could it possibly work? How would we live if I brought them with me? What would we eat for breakfast? Could the work I produce possibly feel worthy of such a gift? Would they even consider me? Did I even want it to given all the concerns???

I remembered a piece written by Robin Hallett recently. "Inspiration for your wishful daydreams: what to do when you’re feeling hopelessly landlocked" .

A piece of it read

"You exhaust yourself on the wishful daydream about the adventure and then realize its totally impossible to achieve in the life you’re in currently and then you feel sad and disappointed and somewhat hopeless. We see something that inspires us and for a moment we live vicariously through the lives and stories of other people. While this could serve as an amazing catalyst for our own adventures, the imaginings become so big in our heads that we exhaust ourselves into a bummed out non-action state."

but the important part read this:

"Don’t get so literal about your day dreams. They’re symbolic images. Your feeling about the imagined adventure is the important part. Pay attention to the feelings you have. Memorize that feeling. This impression is the inner state your spirit is asking to feel."

I inquired to myself about my excitement over the possible residency. The excitement stemmed from the promise of creating on a daily basis. Space and facilities in which to create. Perhaps a community to surround myself by as I did so. Recognition by an outside institution that I was worth it...

I didn't want to run away from my love for a month. I couldn't really imagine leaving my kids at their young ages for 4 weeks straight. I have facilities, separate from my home in my own backyard.

So it came down to this...

The promise of creating on a daily basis (more to come on this soon as I do a summer round up).

The possibility of printmaking or ceramics (I have been exploring local options even before this post).

A community by which to surround myself; we moved to New England 4 years ago. I'll be honest, it hasn't been easy. I miss the creative communities I was surrounded by in Colorado and New York City. I'm working on this and taking some big steps. Lots of art festivals this summer and starting to teach and demo through some Art Leagues this fall. Finally, there are some amazing people here and that's what I am going to start focusing on instead of all those I miss.

Recognition by an outside institution that I was worth it... This is the toughest right. I have been recognized time and time again. I have also been rejected time and time again.  I thought of Harry Chapin and the song Mr. Tanner.

"But music was his life, it was not his livelihood,
and it made him feel so happy and it made him feel so good.
And he sang from his heart and he sang from his soul.
He did not know how well he sang; It just made him whole."

I thought of that heartbreaking night in New York City and the way he never sang again except in hushed tones all to himself. I was reminded that yes, outside recognition is nice, a livelihood can depend on it even, and whether or not my work is validated from an outside institution, creating it it makes me whole...

So now, back from our trip from CT to PA to NYC to Long Island to NYC to NJ to NYC then back to CT in a 5 day window and prepping for back to school for my littles and doing the family laundry and blogging way later in the day (and publishing at the same time no less) than a former internet marketing guru knows is worthwhile... I am making a promise to myself.

I am promising myself an artist's residency in residence, at my own home. To create everyday, to find a ceramics studio, to continue to work on surrounding myself with community, to remember that I may not know how well I paint, but I know it makes me whole...

***phew.... this stems from an unfinished post I started more than a month ago when I originally read Robin's post. It took the link on Thursday announcing the residency to help me finish it...