Continuing - Straight From My Heart - It's Complicated!

After my last article some of you may be thinking - why don't these 'artists' just get 'real' jobs? The economy is struggling and we all have to get out there and work!

My response to this kind of thinking is in the following story:

We have a friend who is a Broadway leading lady. She was touring with the roadshow, "Thoroughly Modern Millie." As Millie, she was the star of the show. They were opening the show in Nashville and she invited us to have dinner with the cast. We met at The Stock-Yard, the historic downtown steakhouse and were seated around a huge wooden table. There must of been 15 or 20 of us. The members of the cast were telling painful stories of auditioning for various shows in New York and receiving countless 'no's' before finally hearing 'you're hired.'

There was a brief pause in the conversation so I asked, "With all of this rejection, why do you keep on doing this?" In unison - as if the answer were perfectly choreographed - they all answered, "It's all we know!"  Then one by one, they shared that they don't have any other skills, that they don't have a clue what to do other than sing, dance and act.

I left the dinner that night with a solid sense of understanding. We - my husband and I - are artists, musicians and songwriters, and to be honest . . . we don't know how to do anything else either!

So when a dear friend mentioned that artists just need to recognize the season and get 'real' jobs, I began thinking. . .

Most gifted artists who've managed to actually make a living in the arts, have done well financially. But if they can no longer do what they are gifted at . . . what DO they do if they have no other marketable skills? If they simply go get a job, they might be fortunate to make $7.50 an hour.

 Let's see: $7.50 x 40 hr work week = $300 a week. How many weeks would it take before this gifted artist is filing for bankruptcy?

Just saying . . . it's complicated!


  1. This is one of the reasons I am glad I came into the arts later in life I " sort of" have a job that makes a living and I am not looking to make a living in music, just don;t want to go broke either. I feel for my artist friends though, fortunately many can get work in church settings where they can grow spiritually and professionally too.

  2. I've worked in the real world for nearly 31 years, since I was 17 and when I made $5.25 an hour working part time in Sears' stockroom, it was near easy money. Go to work after school and weekends and during the summer. But the money trap is well played feature of our society. It took me many years to believe it was possible to be an artist without being 65 and retired. Thank God I have this opportunity now. While I know I can do other things (everything from customer service to software testing) nothing else matters! No other work energizes, rather than drains me