Ever have a deadline from your publisher but your child is cutting a tooth and you’ve been up all night? Ever have an idea you must get down before you forget it but your kids need wiping right now… so you forget? For any of us out there, balancing a family and a career as an artist (writer, illustrator, painter, sculptor…) is a challenge. As students, before families, the balance was different. Yes, we had classes, but there were far fewer conflicts preventing us from focusing on our art. When there were no greater responsibilities than being in class and we could be all about living life on the edge, staying up all night writing or painting, hanging out with like-minded artists, being spontaneous and engaged. But with families and children, there is much more to life than making art that doesn’t include fingerpaints.
When The Atomic Weight of Secrets… came out, I was living with my family in Cairo, in a revolution, in graduate school, and raising three children. It was a challenge. It was then that I discovered The Sustainable Arts Foundation.
The Sustainable Arts Foundation is an organization that provides awards for artists and writers who are trying to balance family and art. They offer two awards- one for established artists and one for new artists. I was honoured with an ‘award of promise’ when my first book came out. Since then, they have been incredibly supportive, staying in touch and continuing to be available. The organization, too, offers the opportunity for former participants to help as jury to new applicants. The Sustainable Arts Foundation is truly there to help make the arts a living thing.
You can see what they do here: Sustainable Arts Foundation