DG Regional Report: Florida by Andie Arthur
Every year, generally in the fall, Miami-Dade County Department of Cultural Affairs, brings in Creative Capital for a weekend to do one of their professional development workshops. Creative Capital’s mission is to support “innovative and adventurous artists across the country through funding, counsel and career development services. Our pioneering approach—inspired by venture-capital principles—helps artists working in all creative disciplines realize their visions and build sustainable practices.”
Adriana Perez, projects administrator for Cultural Affairs and the county liaison for the Playwright Development Program, has been after me to attend one of these workshops for the past three years. She told me that it would be a career changing experience.
I was doubtful. I had already been to many workshops on strategic planning for arts organizations in my capacity as executive director of the South Florida Theatre League. There’s only so many times you can hear the same good advice before it becomes a blur. And when I went in for that first day, surrounded by dancers and visual artists, I inwardly groaned.
I was completely wrong.
Creative Capital offered a different perspective on how I can get more from my career. The workshop is led by smart artists who made that personal paradigm shift from struggling to find time for their art and their lives to making a living from art. The phrase that gets bandied about a lot in the workshop is that artists already know how to make do with very little – we were there to learn how to make more. And participants went home with two workbooks on how to be better about creating the environment that will allow them to thrive, with tips on everything from marketing to time management. The biggest shift for me though was that I realized I wasn’t valuing my work as a playwright. I’m so wrapped up in my role of trying to help this theatre community that I have grown to love that I’ve left my playwriting behind. Others had different but equally life shifting experiences.
So many Dramatists Guild members come to me asking for advice on getting produced and getting seen – and while I often dispense advice on building relationships and seeing theatre at the places you want to be produced and doing your homework – I now also recommend that playwrights take the Creative Capital workshop when it comes to town. Instead of spending fruitless energy wondering why theatre company A isn’t paying attention to your work, Creative Capital can help cause the paradigm shift of looking for other ways to have a flourishing career. One of the things I have realized about my work in the past year is that my work tends to connect with teenaged girls. Instead of bemoaning that there isn’t a market for that in the regional theatre community, the folks at Creative Capital suggested that I look at creating plays for high schools. Soon after that realization happened, I read on HowlRound that another playwright was making a living doing just that.
The Creative Capital workshops do happen throughout the state of Florida. Miami-Dade and Broward Counties bring the workshop down on a regular basis and the Florida Department of Cultural Affairs has also offered workshops in Tallahassee. I would recommend all playwrights signing up for their local county’s cultural affairs email list, where the workshops will be announced. Participation in the workshop is by application and accepted applicants are primarily mid-career artists. If you’re looking for a shift in how you perceive your art, I highly recommend this workshop.