Susan K. Perry, Ph.D., Psychology Today's Creating in Flow blog, 4/2/13
If you've ever raised a kid or two, while at the same time trying to make some kind of art on a serious basis, you'll relate deeply to a new documentary entitled Lost in Living . Created and directed by Mary Trunk over the course of seven years, Lost in Living focuses on two painters, a writer, and a filmmaker. PERRY: What was your initial inspiration for this film?
TRUNK: I moved to L.A. when my daughter was 1½. I was completing my first documentary, so I was struggling with caring for my daughter and editing in small bits while she slept. My husband was working out of town Monday through Friday. And frankly I am not exactly the maternal type. I couldn't help but wonder how other mothers were handling this situation. I joined mommy-and-me groups, found a nursery school and tried to connect with other mothers. But I did not meet anyone trying to make art while also raising a child. That's when I thought I should just put it out there as a project and see if I can find people.
PERRY: "We're not getting any gold stars for consistency," said one of your subjects. Isn't that part of the trade-off of being a parent and an artist, that you feel guilty no matter what you're doing and try to make everyone happy, regardless of the potential long-term consequences?
TRUNK: Guilt comes with the territory, it seems to me. And even when you try to make everyone happy you fail. I was always amazed at Margie and Merrill's ability to incorporate domestic life with their art. Margie's studio was right off the kitchen. She'd squint at a painting while stirring spaghetti. Merrill had her three daughters underfoot as she typed. Caren and Kristina were not as adept at that. Nor am I. Or maybe they just didn't accept that as much. Their husbands definitely participate in the domestic world more. And yet, with the help, you can't stop feeling guilty.
Ellen McSweeney, New Music Box blog, 4/10/13
I once had a conversation with my violin teacher I will never forget. I had several important auditions coming up. "I would advise you to think very, very carefully about all of this," she said grimly. "Being a musician and having a family is extremely difficult." I was 14. Sheryl Sandberg's new book, Lean In, explores the question of why more women have not risen to the top echelons of management in any industry. Sandberg is the COO at Facebook and has begun to use her enormous platform to sound the alarm. She acknowledges the height of society's external barriers -- lack of paid parental leave, inflexible work hours, and a career clock that collides headfirst with the biological clock -- but her focus is on the more personal, internal blocks to success. What self-limiting attitudes has our sexist society created in women, and how are these attitudes holding them back from the kind of career success and freedom that men enjoy? At first glance, you might think that the field of contemporary classical music doesn't have a whole lot in common with the high-powered corporate tech world. And you might also think that, in the arts, women have an easier time rising to the top. [But] leadership imbalances persist in both artistic and administrative roles. Why is this the case? [One of the reasons is] women are taught from an early age to worry about whether they can have children and a career. Sandberg cites research which shows that in two Princeton University studies -- one conducted in 1974, one in 2006 -- there was a dramatic disparity between male and female students' perceptions of whether work and family would be a conflict for them. In both studies, twice as many women foresaw this as a problem. This inner worry, Sandberg claims, means that women who want families "lean back" from their careers rather than leaning in.
Raja Moussaoui, CBC News, 4/10/13
After being shut out of architecture's biggest global award more than 20 years ago, a growing campaign is underway to have one of the world's leading female architects recognized for her achievements. Denise Scott Brown worked alongside her husband, Robert Venturi, who was awarded the 1991 Pritzker Architecture Prize alone for his body of work. But it is widely acknowledged that they did the work together. World-renowned Jacques Herzog and Pierre de Meuron, the 2001 Pritzker winners, are the latest architects to add their names to a petition calling for organizers to retroactively recognize Scott Brown. The petition has been gathering steam since late March and currently has 5,400 signatures. Last week, Rem Koolhaas, the 2000 Pritzker laureate, posted his support on the campaign's website: "I totally support this action. The fact that one of the most creative and productive partnerships we have ever seen in architecture was separated rather than celebrated by a prize has been an embarrassing injustice which...would be great to undo."
Podcast series interviews artists about the impact parenthood has on their art
Excerpts from some recent audio podcasts on Levi Weinhagen's "Pratfalls of Parenting" blog:
- Colin Kloecker and Shanai Matteson talk about balancing their personal, artistic, and work partnerships as they've transitioned into parenthood. [They] share how becoming parents has made them more aware of the fact that -- for their collaborators and audiences -- participation in their events may depend on whether or not they can bring their kids or find childcare.
- Quinton Skinner talks about finding creative ways to showcase the work of other artists in his job as Communications Director at the Guthrie Theatre. Quinton talks about writing a book on fatherhood, Do I Look Like A Daddy to You...and how writing is how he processes things.
- Suzi Q Smith: The poet, spoken word artist, and activist talks about competition, education, race, class, gender, and modern motherhood. She talks about balancing time traveling and time at home. She also talks about how becoming a mother heightened her desire to create positive change in the world through her work.
- Adler Guerrier: The visual artist talks about becoming a dad at the same time he was starting to get his work into more galleries. And about how the importance of time, place, and focus in relation to his work was tremendously heightened by fatherhood. He also talks about how his relationship with the past was made more pronounced by fatherhood.
- Jeremy Cohen,Producing Artistic Director at the Playwrights Center, talks about being [part of] the first same-sex couple to adopt from the main open adoption agency in Chicago and the advantages of being a single-gender family. "The challenge was never about being gay parents; it was always about being artist parents." Jeremy talks about being an artist with a child in a community of artists who mostly were not parents.
A foundation that gives grant money to parents pursuing artistic endeavors
Carrie Neill, March/April 2013 issue of Poets & Writers magazine
As a kid, Tony Grant spent his days hanging out in a big warehouse in San Francisco, which his father, the abstract painter and sculptor James Grant, used as his studio. But these days, as Tony and his wife, writer Caroline Grant, are well aware...having a space where children can entertain themselves for hours on end isn't a luxury most artists can afford. So in 2011 the Grants decided to take some money they'd inherited and start the Sustainable Arts Foundation (SAF) that provides unrestricted financial awards to artists across the country with children under age 18. To date, SAF has provided funding to more than 40 individuals, each year handing out ten Foundation Awards of $6,000 each and ten Promise Awards of $1,000 each. Applications, which are accepted in the spring and fall, are entirely portfolio-based, and the foundation doesn't charge an entry fee, to keep the process as open as possible. This year, the young foundation hopes to extend its reach even further by launching a two-year pilot program -- offering grant money to artists' residencies that are willing to make their programs more family-friendly. According to Caitlin Strokosch of the Alliance of Artists Communities, less than 10% of residency programs in the U.S. accommodate children. Strokosch lists a number of hurdles to making residencies more kid-friendly, from increased insurance costs and staffing to concerns that children might upset the careful balance of the resident community. The SAF hopes its residency-grant program will encourage more residencies to think about ways to confront these challenges. "I don't know what the answers are," Grant says, "but we're trying to offer some funding to get the whole group to think about it."