I recently received a piece of mail that’s been nearly three years in the making: the articles of incorporation for Artstitution Inc. My idea is becoming a reality.

A major hurdle in the creative path is getting an idea from a vision of grandeur that exists only in the mind to something tangible or something that others can experience. These articles of incorporation are perhaps one of the few items that I’ll be able to hold resulting from Artstitution. The rest will be qualitative outcomes like personal and professional satisfaction, or the education of myself and others, or connections and networking that occur as a result of my work. But for now, these few pieces of paper are real, and they’re a real milestone for me.

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The name, Artstitution, is the combination—as is the profession of arts administration—of the arts and the institutions that support them. To me, the name fits perfectly: it’s quirky, but makes sense, and makes you think.

I came up with the name while studying arts administration at UNC Greensboro. I had a vision of a place and resource where aspiring arts administrators could go to learn about potential career paths and start themselves on the path to achieving their goals. It would be the collision of creativity and capitalism; where artists find the tools to become successful and make a living through art. It’s what I’m doing with my career, and it’s what I want to inspire others to do.

What I’ve come to learn over the past three years since I had that first idea is that it’s not enough to have the idea, but you have to name the idea—and tell others—to begin to make it into a reality.

Write it down. Scream it from the rooftops. Live and breathe that idea. Being an introvert and a perfectionist, it’s hard to tell people about something when it’s still my precious “baby.”

When an idea is still in my head, I often reason, it can still be whatever I want it to be. It’s safe from the challenges of birthing something creative to be exposed to the world at large. It’s scary to go through the process of letting something see the light of day, but it’s the only way for a creative idea to become an artistic reality. The only great art is that which has been experienced by those other than its creator.

I had a conversation about this with my friend, Grace Day, who’s a fantastic screenwriter and the creator of the web series Library Freaks (for which I recorded and edited the sound, and which just won Best Teen Drama at the Baltimore Next Media Web Fest). She’s in the process of writing multiple screenplays this year to submit to writing festivals. (I read one of them and it was absolutely charming.)

She admitted to me that this same problem plagues her all the time.

“It’s basically that fear of failure, procrastination because if your idea is in your head it is perfect. It’s on paper that it’s real. And it’s taken me a long time to accept that real trumps perfect every time. The past year and a half has been a huge growth time for me specifically in that area.”

She describes the issue perfectly. That same challenge is echoed by most, if not all, of my creative friends and colleagues. Especially the introverted and ones with perfectionist tendencies, but nearly all of them admit to it. The others may just be better at hiding it.

So, for all to read and hear, I challenge myself now and going forward to name the things that I want to do or have happen in my life. Just like they say it takes a village to raise a child, it takes the involvement of that same village to make your creative “children” into artistic realities.

Thank you for becoming part of my creative village by reading this post and supporting Artstitution and my goals. Share your goals with me in the comments, and we’ll get there together!

To update you on another goal of mine: season one of Artists at Work is fast approaching. I’ve recorded interviews with a number of talented and intelligent creative people in Richmond and Greensboro, and I’m looking forward to sharing their stories with you. If you want to be notified when the show launches, join our email list.

In the coming weeks, I’ll be asking for your support to help my AAW baby take its first steps and grow into the show and resource I hope it will be.

Stay tuned.

Yours,

Thomas Breeden
Founding Director
Artstitution
tbreeden@artstitution.org

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