After art school, I more or less withdrew from the art community. Being flat broke, underemployed, and overwhelmingly anxious in a brand new city was... paralyzing. The logistical realities of sudden poverty made it tough to find time/space/energy/materials for art-making, and psychologically I was just not up for it. Then I got married, moved to the remote Canadian Arctic (far, far away from my Western conception of an 'art scene'), and birthed two children. I tried many times to return to art-making, with limited success.
Now I see what was missing. I didn't have ongoing connections to any artists! The absence of creative community made me feel as though I was working in a vacuum, and I found it nearly impossible to make anything interesting at all. With no audience, what is the point? With no ability to take in exhibitions, chat with other creative folks or place my work in the context of others', where is the motivation?
Enter: Soar Emerging Artist Festival, hosted by CASA in Lethbridge, AB. Through a generous bursary from the Allied Arts Council of Lethbridge, the whole family was able to make the trip down so that I could attend the opening reception for the M.A.P.S. Project and participate in the weekend Symposium. The seminars and panel discussions were excellent, and it was so invigorating to be finally nurturing my professional development and social network as an artist. Motherhood has not generally made this type of experience more accessible, and I am so appreciative of the folks at CASA/AAC for supporting my needs as a mother artist during the festival.