Surviving and Thriving as an Artist Parent

Andrew Simonet and Kids

Choreographer and Webinar Leader Andrew Simonet with his two sons Nicolo and Jesse

If you’re an artist raising children you know a few things to be true:
#1.  Our society does not support artists well.
#2. Our society does not support parents well.
And being both – an artist parent, can sometimes feel like a double whammy.

On Thursday September 29th, Creative Capital artist leader, choreographer and father of two Andrew Simonet will be leading our Artists Raising Kids webinar, sharing his knowledge – both from personal experience and through the stories of other artist parents, on the realities of raising children and maintaining a sustainable and enriching artistic practice. Register Here. 

Andrew Simonet and his Philadelphia based artist development company Artists U dove deep into the artist community to find understanding, support and best practices that enable artist parents to maintain sustainable artistic lives. From that deep dive emerged: Artists Raising Kids – A Crowdsourced, Opinionated, Realistic, Positive Compendium by and for Artist Parents. It is a collection of thoughts and tactics from 130 artist parents interviewed in-depth and it is essential for preserving your creativity (and sanity) as an artist parent.

In anticipation of our webinar here is a sample of the collected knowledge found in the Artists Raising Kids Compendium.

“Everything is time and money – Everything else is personal and mostly beautiful.”

The two most prominent concerns of artist parents are Time and Money, specifically – not having enough of either.

While both are scarce resources and crafting a written budget of both is absolutely essential to maintaining an artistic life as a parent, time management is often a bigger stumbling block than most expect.

The compendium explains that, “of the two- budget and schedule – the schedule was consistently seen as harder. Why?… As parents we can scrimp on money, but not on time. We can increase our earnings, but not the hours in the day. Most artistic work demands more time than money. And most of us understand more about our finances than our schedules.”

Getting a handle on time is a hugely important step to surviving and thriving as artist parents. Artists U shares three practices to help artist parents do just that:

  1. Track your time
    1. People can often give a ballpark estimate of how much money they spent in a given period. But if that same person is asked to account for their time, suddenly their estimations get a lot more vague. Tracking the time you spend on activities (cooking dinner, putting kids to bed, cleaning the house) gives you a strong foundation upon which to maximize the time you can spend making art.
  2. Budget your time to excess
    1. Schedules are most effective when they build in a “life-margin” and account for all the little things that life tends to throw at us, and that can’t be budgeted ahead of time.
  3. Be compassionate with yourself
    1. There may be times when you won’t be able to create art, and that’s okay. For example, the first couple months with a new infant can be extremely intense, and often it’s nearly impossible to get anything done. That does not make you any less of an artist.

Above all, Artists Raising Kids emphasizes the importance of resilience, patience and hope, even when things inevitably get really difficult. Andrew Simonet shares that, “many of us (myself included) have moments of despair when it seems we’ll never get back to being the artists we were. And then things change.”

For a more in-depth conversation on building a sustainable artistic practice as an artist parent, be sure to register for Andrew Simonet’s upcoming PDP webinar Artists Raising Kids, on Thursday, September 29 at 7:00pm EST. The 90-minute webinar is a personal and intimate look into artistic parenthood where Andrew Simonet will share the triumphs, struggles, and best practices that define it. You’ll have the opportunity to contribute your thoughts and questions throughout, as well as participate in a live Q&A at the end of the session. 

Register Now

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This entry was posted in TIPS & TOOLS: Resources for Artists and tagged , , , , , , by Holly Ajala. Bookmark the permalink.
Holly Ajala

About Holly Ajala

Holly Ajala is a writer and storyteller with a fierce belief in the power of effective narrative to inspire empathy in the face of difference, to propel the reach of social justice and above all to challenge humans beings to be more human. To these ends, Holly has worked with the NYU Leadership Initiative, the ACLU Racial Justice Project , and the NYC Collaborative Writing Project to amplify the reach of marginalized voices, narratives, stories and communities. Holly currently writes for AYO Magazine, an online publication dedicated to honest and multifaceted portrayals of black women in search of joy. She is a recent NYU graduate with a B.A. in Politics and Africana Studies. She joined Creative Capital in 2016 and currently resides in Harlem.

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