Thursday, February 27, 2014

Artists Raising Kids: Conversation and Compendium

What are three things about raising kids you would go back and tell yourself? A few months ago artist-parents were invited to respond to this question in a short online survey that was part of Artists Raising Kids, a skill-sharing project for artists working to sustain their creative careers while raising children. The survey was initially created to develop the structure of a workshop and public conversation organized by choreographer, writer, and father Andrew Simonet as part of Artists U. If you’re based in Philadelphia, Baltimore, or South Carolina, you should know that Artists U is a pretty amazing artist-run platform for changing the working conditions of artists. “We do workshops and one-on-one meetings focusing on specific topics of interest to our community, and people had been asking for this” he says.

As survey responses started coming in, Andrew realized that he was amassing a small goldmine of generous, realistic, supportive, and really useful advice for parents in the arts, and decided “to collect all this smart, insightful thinking” to use as a resource beyond the event itself. The scope of the project grew, and eventually responses from around 130 parents were combined with in-depth interviews and ideas collected through the workshop to make the crowd-sourced Artists Raising Kids Compendium.  “To be honest,” he writes in the introduction, “this is the booklet that, as an artist parent with two kids and an artist spouse, I wanted to read.”
download a copy right here.
The Artists Raising Kids workshop in Philadelphia drew 50 artists working in the performing arts, visual arts, writing and film into active conversation (along with their kids, who enjoyed free childcare and pizza in a nearby room), and sparked conversation on a number of topics you’ll find addressed in the compendium, including Time, Money, Partner, Identity, and In the Studio. It’s amazing to see such a profusion of shared wisdom here, and the sometimes-contradictory statements just go to show that every family works a little differently, but that we’re all in it together.  The result of all this is a pretty wonderful little book, which you can now download just by clicking on the cover image at left.

Another Artists with Kids conversation is currently in the works through Artists U in Baltimore, so if you’re in the area be sure to connect with them there!

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