Thanksgiving and reflecting on the arts as career

ThanksgivingDinner (763x1024)

Yesterday, I celebrated Canadian Thanksgiving with a good friend.  It was just the two of us.

This year was unlike any other.  I have always celebrated Thanksgiving with family of some sort, whether it is my own family, the family of those I am in a relationship with, or both.

It was very nice to spend this time with my friend, who like me is an arts professional.  Also, like me, she is on sabbatical (of sorts) from the field and quite possibly may never return to it either.  It is sad really as just the two of us together have a lot of experience and knowledge.  In fact together we have more experience and knowledge than some public institutions have with the sum total of all their staff.

Thanksgiving is a time when family and/or friends can get together to celebrate and reflect upon all the things that we are thankful for.

Even though both of us have had a very difficult and challenging year for many reasons, in conversation, I know that we both have much to be thankful for as well.

I had a long chat with my little sister this afternoon when I was in the middle of spending the afternoon taking in the last of the garden before the snow falls.  Her oldest is in grade 12 and they are starting to think about where he will go to school next year about this time.  Since they live some distance from me, I don’t see them often and when I do it is not a topic of discussion.  He’s my nephew.  I have known him all his life, it doesn’t seem all that long ago when he was still just a baby.  Now he is taller than I am.

Time just travels on – seemingly faster than I thought.

I guess with the conversations I have been having with my friend and the many disappointments and challenges we have both had this year, it got me thinking.  Maybe that, combined with the reader comments that I have seen in the news stories about the respect that many citizens give to the arts in Calgary (and the visual arts in particular) really did get me thinking even more about this.

I look back to when I was a senior in high school and I was a fresh-faced youth, just like my nephew is now.  The world ahead was full of opportunity and possibilities.  Without getting into the gory details, I ended up in the visual arts where for the most part, outside of the first part of my career, I have worked since that time.

The question is if he was interested in pursuing the visual arts as a career, given what I know now, would I encourage him to do it?

I don’t know the answer to that.

One thing is for sure, it would be a very difficult question for me to answer for him.  The other certainty I know, is that the answer would NOT be a resounding yes.