Editor’s Note: In a field where it can become all too easy to feel the pressures of the day to day grind, doubly so in 2016, we sometimes forget to take a step back and acknowledge the things we’re grateful for. To that end, I asked our ArtsHackers to share a few of the things they are grateful for as arts administrators during this Thanksgiving season. I hope this lets you learn a little bit more about who we are and our respective outlooks on the field.
Given the political turmoil over the past year, I’m thankful for hopeful statements declaring art’s value. Coming from one of history’s most celebrated US presidents, I think it’s timely. The quote was recently published in the Kennedy Center’s programming magazine.
“Art means more than the resuscitation of the past: it means the free and unconfined search for new ways of expressing the experience of the present and the vision of the future.” – John F. Kennedy
This year, professionally and personally, I’ve relied on people who just get. stuff. done. They don’t need much explanation or direction, they don’t need to know my reasoning behind something, they just pull whatever I’ve asked them to do, whatever “it” may be together spectacularly. Every year, but this year especially, I’m thankful for them.
It’s difficult to miss the irony in just how easy it is to take what we have for granted when gratitude should run through our veins over the course of our life. To that end, 2016 has had no shortages of milestones that drive this reminder home and it has helped me revalue the integral role friends and colleagues are to success and happiness. Having so many opportunities to strengthen those bonds and build new connections in the face of powerful challenges is one of boundless silver linings from this year.
Lately I’ve been grateful that the work of artists can be a powerful force in dark times to challenge, inspire, and even to provide solace. While, in comparison, arts administrators may feel like they toil in relative obscurity, those tireless and sometimes unappreciated efforts are integral to artist voices being heard. Just know that we’ve got your back, and I sincerely hope that ArtsHacker makes your day-to-day job even just a tiny bit easier. Let’s make sure, now more than ever, that we rise to the occasion so that artists are supported to do what they do best.
I am grateful and pleased to see that seeds I planted are beginning to poke up out of the soil long after I despaired that my efforts would ever bear fruit. Moreover, I am delighted at the emergence of unexpected tendrils planted by others. It appears our plants will complement each other as the “three sister” crops of the American Indians.
In what has been a year of transition for me and my organization, I am thankful again to a wonderful board of directors and staff who have worked so hard on behalf of the CSO and who have supported me while I’ve been learning this new role of Executive Director. I am also thankful to our patrons who have accepted me with open arms and continue to encourage me. And I am grateful to the musicians who create the beautiful music that reminds me at every concert why I chose to work in this crazy field of orchestra management.
Marc van Bree
I am thankful for the arts and its many roles in life. It can provide comfort for those who need and seek it. And it can bring necessary discomfort when a message should be heard. It is there to make us smile, scowl, imagine, understand, think, express, engage, and all of the above. Now, more than ever, do we need the arts in our lives, and I am thankful it is there.