The value of art making

 May 30, 2019

Frances Cathryn
Frances Cathryn, founder of wip projects

Creative work is a process, which is often misunderstood, not understood, undervalued and more than that difficult to be expressed by the artist herself.

Valuing art making comes from the one who is benefiting and appreciating the art and all that comes from and with it as well as from the artist herself, who is able and finds ways to express the value behind her every day process. There are many projects and people around the world who are working on supporting both processes, and who are advocating a more inclusive and creative world.

Their work and intentions are utmost important, since as much as art and culture is nourished and is allowed to flourish in a society so much is that society’s level of consciousness high and healthy, so much is that society one where peace, co-operation and trust are the main denominators for everything else that stems from this.

One of the greatest value of art is perhaps its ability to break barriers.

The valuing of what an artists does can come in many different forms. For example projects such as the unique Federal Art Project in the USA, which employed thousands of artists and creatives before the second world war.

Several today well-known artists, like Jackson Pollock, Lee Krasner, Willem de Koonig, Mark Rothko took part in this project well before they got acknowledged and known, whereby besides doing their own art as part of their life aims they were actually paid to create for the bigger good. They created murals, posters, they decorated several buildings such as schools, hospitals and other public buildings in the country.

Everyone benefited from this Project, the country recovered from a great loss, the cultural resources flourished, citizens received more gratification from artistic creations and artists could create and got paid to do other creative things.

„The proliferation of creative power can transform the world for all of its inhabitants.“ says Timothy Simpson author

The Art Project also sought to include artists from disadvantaged groups, such as women, immigrants, black working class, integrating them through art and giving them opportunities for growth and recognition.

This example shows how, when there is a common aim, no matter what the differences of backgrounds are, there always comes a solution to integration, to support which in itself leads to growth for everyone.

Valuing one’s own work and life path is hard enough, especially when it is about creative work. For artists to be able to communicate this to the world is an essential step in order to being seen, appreciated and valued for what they themselves believe in.

One of those persons who supports artists in their self expression, being an arts advocate is Frances Cathryn.

Using the skills and experience she developed from nearly a decade working in publishing, nonprofits, and museums, Cathryn started wip projects to help people learn how to use their voice proudly and without shame.

She also collaborates with community spaces, residencies, and institutions to build temporary, action-oriented gatherings where artists learn to create positive change in themselves and their place.

„Building connections in this way will help you establish the context in which your art functions and connect what you make to a wider cultural narrative.“
says Frances Cathryn
founder of wip projects

When asked about why is self expression and working on it so important for artists, she says that being able to articulate one’s art’s worth in clear and compelling writing is a way of inviting others in, and of understanding the power of creativity in daily life.

Cathryn explains further how in her opinion there is no productive conversation around the value of art making, which provides no solid frame of reference for many artists to talk about the meaning of creativity in daily life.

“Artists are capable of imagining a world built around alternative ways of being” she describes in our interview with her “language can be used to uplift excluded voices”. Cathryn’s work is aimed at helping artists learn how to express themselves proudly and without shame.

The first among many following tips that Cathryn shares with artists in an article on The Creative Independent is to learn how to confidently describe oneself as an artist. This is important to the process of changing how the industry understands what one does.

Frances Cathryn
Frances Cathryn, founder of wip projects / Photo: Michael Valiquette

The next tip that Cathryn gives to artists is to take note of ideas that one is challenged by, making further research into topics that feel related to one’s practice, and exploring how one’s art can contribute to larger critical conversations.

“Building connections in this way will help you establish the context in which your art functions and connect what you make to a wider cultural narrative.” says Cathryn on The Creative Independent.

The third tip from Cathryn is about one’s art’s value in society. Based on her experience, Cathryn suggests that it is in the best interest for the artist to guide the conversation around his/her work and how it should be supported. By explaining clearly what others can gain from one’s art will allow them to see its value as one understands it. Beyond this, one may also need to justify its utility to society, either in practical terms or more poetic ones.

“One can even approach this question from a different angle and can ask what is lost if no one is given an opportunity to engage with what one makes. Repositioning one’s art in these frameworks may help one focus on its lasting impact, and determine its ultimate value independent of a profit-driven economy.” describes Cathryn it further in her article.

Some of these examples of arts advocates, supporters, projects around the world show that the value of art making is not only possible but has and is been taken into action with real life projects. Having more of such projects and supporters, who see the highest good and value the work of artists, building upon them a supporting system, is something worth aiming for. Not only do artists benefit from such a system but also the society as a whole, since it becomes a fertile ground for betterment, innovation, new visions and a more consciously guided humanity.

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