The needs we have as artists, or people who work in arts organizations, can feel endless. We need to sell tickets, downloads and paintings. We need volunteers and Board members. We need producers and marketing help.
Like I said, it can feel endless.
That's why it's important to have a system of gratitude. You see this a lot in the fundraising world. Many fundraising departments have a set process in place where donors receive thank you letters, phone calls, etc. From a distance these systems may seem like a bit much. But they are important because given the hectic pace many of us run saying "thank you" in an authentic way can be something that is easily forgotten.
That's something I was thinking about as I strolled around my day job's 60th Anniversary Gala. People have a lot of feelings about those sort of events and I can understand that, but there is something special that happens when people are sincerely thanked for the time and effort they put into the arts.
Every artistic organization, and every artistic career, is a bit of a miracle. It takes support from all sorts of people without any guarantee of a "successful" outcome. It takes a real bit of bravery for an audience member, for example, to leave the comfort of their home and journey to our plays, book signings and dance exhibitions.
It takes guts for a person to join a volunteer board and try to add some meaningful value in an unfamiliar space.
None of us, from the artist, to the executive, to the audience, to the volunteer have an easy job. And thus it is important for all of us to remember to say thanks.
One last example before I go. As part of our "thank you" to the audience at my job we started throwing a season preview party. It's a free event with food, drink, entertainment, the whole nine. When we through the first one I remember a woman getting a bit emotional.
I talked to her and she said that she had been coming for decades and this was one of the first times she really felt we appreciated her as a patron.
So that's a mix of success and failure right? The success is that she feels good now, the failure is that she felt unappreciated before.
Who feels unappreciated in your circle? Who hasn't been recognized? What small gesture, or grand event, could you put together that would change that?
Those are the questions.
Oh, and of course, thank you for reading this blog. Over the past twelve months thousands of you have visited this page with hundreds more getting these posts via email.
Thanks for reading, thanks for sharing and thanks for coming back.