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Sustainable Connection

Sustainable Connection

I had the great good fortune of working alongside the formidable researcher and enthusiastic promoter of the arts, Inga Petri, at the Northern Exposure Conference in Wells, BC. I was intrigued and greatly encouraged by her ground-breaking study, The Value of Presenting which addresses how arts and culture isn’t simply a nice add-on in our world, but that it FUELS community and serves to create social connection, reinforce a sense of place and enhance quality of life in communities”.


My workshop, Dare to be Real, brought it down to the individual’s involvement in the arts; his/her particular reasons for, and methods of, sharing their creative expression with others. It boiled down to the same one essential: connection. Connection with something expressed in an artistic manner, evoking an emotional response; connection with others; connection to self.


The unifying effect of arts and culture reappeared on these macro and micro levels throughout the conference and I was particularly inspired by the many questions asked about how we can foster this connection, in sustainable ways.


One example of impassioned sustainable action was brought to the table: a volunteer at the Tiny Lights Festival in Ymir, BC, after three days and close to 1000 participants, reduced their waste to one single garbage can. Now that’s sustainability in action!


Where the dictionary definition of sustainable is ‘the capacity to endure’, that got me to asking; how many artists are bringing their contribution to the world, their performance, in a sustainable way for them?


I turn the question to you – can you keep performing, championing your cause, presenting, singing or playing without risking burn out from either physical strain or mental exhaustion? Is what you are doing as an artist sustainable for you?


Sadly, I meet too many artists whose careers (and lives) are close to being ruined by not having addressed this question early enough. Happily, I am meeting more and more who want to change this so they can put their artistic expression out there in ways which refuel their fire and sustainably connect with us, their audience.



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