Posted 9.4.18

Conversations from Artists Thrive Summit 2018: Is Art-Making a Labor? Craft? Practice?

In her most recent blog post, Elaine Grogan Luttrul of Minerva Financial Arts relays an interesting conversation from the Artists Thrive Summit 2018:

"I was in Berea, Kentucky last month for the Artists Thrive summit, and I had a fascinating conversation about the words we use to describe the work that goes into making art. Is it labor? Is it craft? Is it a practice?

Each of those words conjured a variety of images in our minds. For some, the word “labor” felt too much like a job, which shortchanged the professionalism inherent in art. For others, the word “labor” conveyed implicit value to the art because it implied work. Art is “real labor” not just a hobby, they argued.

For some, the word “practice” implied an amateur approach, something taken less seriously than work. For others, the word “practice” implied status. They were struck by similarities in vocabulary used in other white-collar professions: A medical practice, a legal practice, a creative practice.

What became abundantly clear is that our experiences, our geographies, and our perspectives shaped the way we heard these words. And no two people heard them exactly the same way."

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