Young at ART?—An Artist at a Crossroads
As I near the end of my mid-twenties and enter into the later years of the “best years of my life”, I realize the recession isn’t to blame for the lack of artistic discipline I have exhibited for some 3, okay, maybe 5, years. I was decidedly dreadfully academic in undergrad. Having my artsy-crafty, “Jane-of-all” existence nurtured by my family, I entered into my freshman year of college, some ____ years ago, rebelling against my artistic inclinations in exchange for heady discussions with social scientists. None of you would do a foolish thing like that, right? Let’s hope that if you didn’t continue down an artistic path, you at least balanced your life with some type of positive outlet. For four years, I entertained staunch research and discipline-specific jargon. As my graduation neared, I readied myself for another 2-year degree in the same field. I was set. Surely, I at twenty-some-odd years of age, had figured my whole life out, right? WRONG!
I started grad school and hated it, but trudged along out of a self-imposed obligation and misguided guilt. After convincing myself to stay in spite of my all-out depressive state, I managed to conduct research and write a thesis. No small feat, right? Exactly, but my heart wasn’t in it, because the ART wasn’t in it. Corny? Yeah. I am picking back up on the poetry thing. I had accomplished a great deal, but I stifled that one true aspect of myself. Nothing I did, no matter how monumental, satisfied me.
Cute little story that I will wrap up in a nice little bow that will inspire you in some way, huh? Not quite. Last year, I was given the awesome opportunity to oversee and run a children’s theatre company in Dallas, TX. This position, which still intimidates me to this day, has reinvigorated my passion in my own art. Yes, teaching theatre and directing/producing other people’s art is rewarding, but arts management ain’t for the faint of heart! Hey, keep reading, I know the rhyming is trite. Almost two years later, I am JUST now coming to the realization that my art is my life.
So, what’s the point of this story, you ask? Other than providing me with an outlet to vent, there could be no point at all. My hope is that you, YoungArtists (newbies and alums alike) never forget yourself in all that you do. Accolades, medals, grants, and fellowships aside, run heedlessly toward your dreams. Don’t box yourself into any ONE reality.
I am speaking from the place of a young artist—wait, am I still considered young? Well, I am an artist who wishes to live in the now, without fear of lack of stability, acceptance, and timidity. To my alums, who, like me, have forgone the art world for the security of the “real world”, come back and replenish your spirit! To those, young and alum who never left the artistic realm of life, kudos to you, you have inspired and ignited a new passion in me, your comrade.
Finding my passions; fighting my fears,
Ava Wilson is a 2004 YoungArts Gold Winner in Writing/Short Story and U.S. Presidential Scholar in the Arts. She also served as Resident Advisor for the 2011 YoungArts Week. She lives in Dallas, Texas and is the new Artistic Director of Soul Children’s Theatre Company. She is a Howard University and Temple University graduate.