If you could live anywhere, any place, where would you choose to live?
Where is your community?
In what environment, in what temperature, in what culture do you want to spend your energy and time?
I am not asking you where you think you “should” live or where others have told you you “ought to live”, but where do you WANT to live?
Is there a community, a city or a group some place on this floating rock that you love more than any other?
Being a part of a community can give one a feeling of strength, connectedness, balance, reflection and support. Most of us long for these feelings.
Friends. Family. Community. Home. Connectedness. Social networking stems from these desires. Communication and inner-connectedness.
A very large number of American theatre artists feel compelled, upon graduating school, to rush to New York and Los Angeles. These markets do hold a lot of work, relatively speaking, but also have completely over saturated markets.
I lived in LA for a time, doing my obligatory stint. I quickly found that LA was not the city I want to live in. I did not identify with the culture and was seeking something else, something other?
Are you seeking something in your career, perhaps something you have yet to attain? If so, what is that?
We each have a limited amount of energy in our day and limited amount of time in this life. We might as well commit to what we want–and if that thing does not exist at present, then pray for the courage, determination and the wherewithal to build that into reality. If talent truly is a gift, then it is each of our responsibilities to use our gifts and bear their fruit. To do otherwise is willfully and knowingly say, “No” to potential and no to our gifts. When we do that, our gifts recede. Our potential begins to wane. Overtime, our gifts loose their sharpness and they rust. If ignored indefinitely, they may go away completely with time.
Who do you want to speak to?
What audience do you want to speak to? What group or values or community calls to you or resonates most strongly in you?
There are artists living in every city of the world. Do you feel compelled to live where tons of other artists live, but would really like to live somewhere else and STILL practice your art? Here is the most exciting component of such decision making–one, in choosing to take the path least traveled and chooses to go to the beat of their own drum, they actually increase their chances of making a living. How? They are operating out of their center, out of their bliss, out of themselves. When one lives unconventionally, one is going to have unconventional experiences. Getting off of “the path” is the smartest thing an artist can do to invest in their careers (and general well-being).
After identifying WHERE you want to live, I encourage you to name WHO you want to serve.
What will your artistic contribution be? What kind of artist are you? How do you choose to define the word “Art”?
Consider communities outside of the typical. Those markets are less likely to be oversaturated. Perhaps being in a different market, you might even be able to have a more fulfilling lifestyle, as the cost of living will likely be less than the massive urban centers.
At ACPA, we teach artists to embrace the call to adventure, to follow their dreams and to build the audience they wish to serve. We teach artists to find their voice and to create opportunities where there was nothing before.
To apply for the full-time conservatory at ACPA, click HERE
Jim Hart is the founder of Austin Conservatory of Professional Arts, The Hart Technique and The International Theatre Academy Norway.