Happy New Year everyone! Here’s a toast to fresh starts, new beginnings, renewed hope and abundant creativity in the coming year.

As I see it, from conversations we’ve had amongst ourselves and with other creatives, one of the good things that came out of last year was that it highlighted what might be called “holes in our swing” – deficiencies in our approach that we may not have been conscious of previously.

Over the last ten months, many artists whose primary (or entire) income was derived from in-person conventions saw their entire financial world collapse in a matter of weeks as shows were canceled. Those of us who have exhibition spaces where we can interact directly with collectors were confronted with a new reality of not being able to gather socially. Projects were put on hold, people were consumed with survival-based concerns, the world changed before our eyes.

Fortunately, as a community, we all found a new resilience in facing challenges and expanded our creativity in pivoting to new approaches. The opportunity now in our creative careers is to use the lessons learned from the past months to consider what has worked for us previously, what fell apart last year and how we can build a better net to be more secure in the face of the unexpected the next time it might come rolling around.

Our “Surviving and Thriving as a Creative” panelists share stories, laughs and little bits of wisdom from their journeys.

Despite what most of us have been told about the wisdom of having something to “fall back on” in case that “art thing doesn’t work out,” make no mistake about it, passion does not need a back up plan. If you are passionate about something, you will surmount any challenge that comes your way. It may not always be easy, but you will always figure out how to make it work.

Life throws speed bumps all over any path that is not the one you should be walking down. When you start down your true path, doors of opportunity open all around you. And when one of those doors slams shut in your face, as they sometimes do (and as many did in the last year), it usually jars a few more open and passion gives you the courage to walk through those new doors. You’ll hear several of our panelists sharing stories about these things in the video.

So…having established that we’ve “burned the ships” and we’re not going back, what now? How do we improve our approach so we can enjoy a career of creativity regardless of what the world is doing around us? How can we diversify so even in uncertain times, we can continue to thrive? How can we create a solid plan for the future without needing that aforementioned back up plan?

These are long conversations and we’ll continue to expand on what we’ve begun today. We all approach our work with the full force of our imagination, determination and creativity, as it should be. Our call to action now is to apply the same energy and innovation to our approach to our business.

The following video is a panel talk we did last fall with Allen Williams, Audrey Benjaminsen, Howard Lyon, Mark Newman and Stephanie Law – just the beginning of a conversation wherein we explore the many ways to make a creative career work, because there are as many ways to do that as there are creatives creating. We will expand our conversations to more concrete ideas, methods and “how-to’s” in the future, but here you’ll find some ideas to get your mind moving as we launch into a new year…and hopefully, you’ll find some inspiration too.

Til next time, keep creating!