An idea had spawned in my head: an artist's support network. I wasn't aware of anything like that in the Coeur d'Alene area and (at the time) did not realize that such a thing existed elsewhere. Like many of my ideas that have come and gone over the years, it stayed in my head for a while.
Fear told me it wasn't possible, or that I'd never be able to pull it off. The voices in my head kept telling me that I had no business helping people achieve things that I was incapable of doing on my own. While I enjoy singing or playing the guitar, I'm not proficient at either. I haven't acted on stage in 13 years. I haven't been able to draw anything more artistic than a stick figure since junior high.
But then an old friend contacted me to fill me in on some big life changes he's going though. We spent some time catching up with each other and in that conversation I eked out a semblance of my idea that sounded to him like an actual plan. He told me it sounded like a great idea - that it's something that's actually needed in Coeur d'Alene. We have an Arts Commission, regular art walks downtown, and several galleries. The annual Art on the Green event is happening this weekend. Cd'A is an artsy town. But most of what exists is built around showcasing art and put on large events. There is little behind the scenes support for the artist. Where do they go to get emotional support? To find resources that they don't have access to? To overcome roadblocks?
That night, as I drifted into slumber, the idea was given a name: Coeur Creative.
For a few weeks, I mulled that name around my mind. I pondered what was possible, what it would look like, and how to make it work. Yet, even then - with the vote of confidence from a friend - I was still too timid to do anything.
Until I saw a blog post asking if anyone was interested in a 24 day adventure. I read on. Jon Acuff - author of the blog (and some awesome books*) stated that the post would only be on his blog for 24 hours then he was taking it down. In that post, he offered a chance of adventure and surprises. He also warned that there would be risk and possibly dragons. If that sounded like something that interested the reader, he asked that we send him an email with our contact information.
I did something that the normal me would never do. I responded. Jon has a million people that read his blog. A little more than 2000 responded; I was one of them. As a result, I got an invite to join The Start Experiment. We were asked what we'd be willing to risk for 24 days. Some people set goals for health and weight loss, others wanted to launch a business or some other entrepreneurial affair. Many were looking at ministry opportunities. Several were artists, writers, photographers, or musicians. From there we were divided out into smaller groups to interact with - to share our dreams and seek support.
My risk was to to make Coeur Creative an actual thing. Get it out of my head and put it before others. To start helping artists take the next step in their dreams. With my risk announced to a group of 2000 people across the globe, and 20 others in my smaller group cheering me on, I've stripped the vocal chords out of fear's windpipe. I started doing something to make my idea a reality.
If I am to help artists along in their journey - the first step in my risk was to find out what artists need. I have some ideas of my own, but my own experiences could only scratch the surface. So I asked.
What would you like to accomplish with your art?
The responses blew me away. To get published. To create art that will be around for many years to come. To turn their part time hobby into a full time career. To make their art a primary, rather than secondary, source of income. To turn pro. To see a musical they've written performed on stage. To make people's live better. To help people tell their stories. To illuminate truth and inspire thought. To celebrate life. To make a difference and leave this world a better place. Bring hope to people, let them know they're not alone. To show others that they have a unique voice.
This is where I want to be, surrounded by people with those kinds of goals. The survey is still open. If you are an artist, I would appreciate your feedback. (It's only five questions, 4 of them are multiple choice, and there are no wrong answers. It won't take you long, I promise.)
We're nearing the end of the 24 day Start Experiment. The final step to getting Coeur Creative started is an actual event. I want to meet you - the artists in Coeur d'Alene area. Or you if you want to make the 5 hour drive over from Seattle or the shorter drive from Western Montana.
Friday the 9th. At Java on Sherman. Starting at 5:35 and lasting until whenever. Head downtown, get a cup of coffee and hang out. I'd like to meet you and find out what you want to do with your art.
If you need extra motivation, I'll have my oldest son with me. Honestly, he's the one of the most creative individuals I know.
* If you recall, about a year and a half ago, I was a part of the Quitter 100 to help launch on of Jon's awesome books.