I’m building a boat!

Bea PhotoWell, what a year it has been! I left a big job at the San Francisco Arts Commission last February to strike out on my own. I took 2 smaller jobs one with the Queer Cultural Center and the other with Oasis, a drag cabaret and nightclub. Life was thrilling. I was tasting the freedom and fun of bohemian life, again. A flavor I’d been missing since I moved to San Francisco from Austin 7 years ago! 

I traded in my quirky business casual, for queer spandex casual by day and American Apparel Disco pants by night. I had the funnest jobs I’ve had since I worked at Lucy in Disguise, the best costume shop in Austin. And certainly the most fun I could have working for someone else. Look, y’all. The rumors are true, being a bartender at a gay drag bar cabaret is super fun. We are now at the close of the year again and I’m wrapping up those roles and preparing for “Strike out on my own 2.0”. The part where I actually start to build a business around my authentic self and the skills, talents and expertise I’ve developed thus far. I am reminded of that awful paralyzed feeling I get each time I am faced with the choice of diving into a cold pool or eeeeeeasing my way in.

I’d say I have been taking things real slow. Easing my way in and we are just about at that point where it is time to putthe shoulders neck and head in. ZOIKES!

I’ve crafted and held multiple workshops with my creative partner Kevin Seaman, I’ve successfully launched my performance goals and I have mapped out a clear project for making art for 2016. It is officially time to let go of the safety nets, get the hair wet and start paddling.  Some people may opt for becoming kickass swimmers…you know the type singular forces of nature that respond by becoming stronger and faster.

Not me.

I’m building a boat.

And I’m building while swimming and I am hoping like hell we don’t sink before its done, because the only way this works for me is if I find a way to bring a group of amazing and talented people along for the ride. I realized this year what few things motivate me to action. Community, equity and justice, queers and art…pretty much in any combination.

If there is no community connection, I’ve got no energy for it. I’m a person-to-person mother fucker. If there’s no connection to community there’s really no value for me…and if there’s no value for me, I’m not motivated to do the work and if I’m not motivated to do the work, then I sure as shit am not going to be valued for the work…see where I’m going with this.  I gotta value the work that I am doing and be valued for it!

That means, I’m  building a god damn boat!

…so we can make meaning in this world together.

I’ve struggled this year with the question, to client or not to client…cuz…to be honest, I hate charging people for something that I wish I could give away. Charging makes me profoundly uncomfortable. Maybe it’s because I identify so heavily with being a broke ass artist, feeling like you don’t have enough money and it’s San Francisco and rising costs…and  on and on…I know its stupid but I spent 5 years as a civil servant working in cultural equity grants giving it away cuz I believe in being of service and helping my community ascend. 

BUT  A GIRLS GOT TO EAT. 

You can see my problem…

So….drum roll please…this coming year I am trying something new, a way to reduce barriers to access to my knowledge and insights in the field of arts and grantmaking.

  • more grant workshops and retreats
  • in person learning cohorts of that meet weekly for 6-8 weeks
  • online learning modules and cohorts

I told you I’m building a boat! More musings to come, so stay tuned