Cultivating Generosity: Pay It Forward

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Cultivating Generosity is an ongoing series of musings that we write in our effort to highlight people that nurture a generous culture that’s more conducive for the survival of the arts.

Pay It Forward is an experimental fundraiser by Tempestt Hazel of Sixty Inches from Center and Andi Crist from Autotelic. They gathered 8 organizations to highlight in their effort raise $10,000 dollars for an inclusive studio community in Logan Square.

Tempestt Hazel, Sixty Inches from Center
Tempestt Hazel, Sixty Inches from Center

We’re honored to be one of the projectss that they’re elevating, along with Johalla Projects, Spudnik Press, Salon Series, Terrain, Revival Arts Collective, Peanut Gallery and Composite. We hope that you’ll join us for the Birthday Bash that they’re hosting at 7PM Saturday, Nov.23. Flats Studio, 1050 W. Wilson Ave.

You can also help the cause by donating online!

There’s been a lot of positive discussion about the arts floating around lately. Most recently, a Wall Street Journal article had an optimistic outlook for people with MFAs. This was mostly full of information that we already suspected; “artists tend to be happy with their choices and lives… arts graduates are resilient and resourceful… the profession they have chosen gives them autonomy.” However, being written on a platform that rarely presents the arts as a legitimate career choice, backed by data on jobs for fine artists and connected to economic research on happiness, means that this is something that could actually have legs outside of our own echo chamber.

Almost 83% worked the majority of their time in some arts occupation, such as art teaching or in a nonprofit arts organization…. Sixty percent of the fine-arts graduates in the survey work more than one job. – Daniel Grant

Another link that came across our feeds was about the contradictory nature of creative people. Matthew Shuler points out 9 contradictory traits from a book of interviews by Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi, of the Quality of Life Research Center. The blog post reminds artists that they aren’t alone in being both extroverted and introverted, humble and proud or smart and naive. These are all tightropes that artists walk on a regular basis.

Sometimes what appears to be a contradiction on the surface is actually a harmony in disguise… At first it might not make sense, but give me/us long enough, and it will. – Matthew Shuler

How this all relates to Pay It Forward is that Tempestt and Andi are in the thick of whatever change is happening around us.

Andi Crist - Autotelic
Andi Crist – Autotelic

They’re both surviving artist/curators that are working toward real, positive change through crowdfunding. Andi’s vision for Autotelic was born out of another book by Csikszentmihalyi. It was a bit of serendipity that lead me to his ideas right before the end of her fundraiser. She describes the idea behind the space below:

The concept behind Autotelic was to give artists the space and environment where they could feel free to make and share without feeling the pressure of needing to be “successful”. People are still welcome to join our space that don’t consider themselves fully committed “artists” and can be a part of a creative community that is both supportive and active. – Andi Crist

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