The first week of 2012 has been filled with creativity and a sense of refocusing. This was punctuated this morning while writing morning pages and witnessing a most spectacular sunrise. I just had to capture the image and share it with today’s blog entry.
With the rising sun and colorful sky I realized that my primary role as an artist was to mentor. My formal training as an early childhood educator and Kindergarten teacher so many years ago has laid the groundwork for this. I find that when I teach adults many of the same affirmations I so carefully formulated with my young students work well within my classroom today. Positive feedback is something we all need and crave throughout our lives. Why do you think so many websites offer creativity coaching and life coaching services? The self-help books in the store and on line are ever expanding!
In my classroom I share my knowledge and techniques. Anyone taking part in such a workshop has paid to be there. I understand this. I go a little step further and offer to anyone who has ever attended my workshops that if a question arises or a critique is necessary to contact me anytime in the future. Once a student has attended a class with me they “have me” for life. Some embrace the concept and touch base off and on and I treasure the fact that they feel comfortable enough to stay in touch and ask for input and encouragement. Let me be clear: I do NOT charge a fee for this. As a mentor I feel a great responsibility to “pay forward” my knowledge and share freely.
I am not a trained creativity coach and therefore would not ask to be compensated for my input. I do take some issue with those who have read one or two books on how to jump start their career as an artist and now declare themselves experts on the subject, only to charge a hefty fee for daily check ins and input that is far from expert.
“Expert” is a strong word and refers to experience. What makes one experienced in the art field? Someone who has ‘traveled the path’ – who has successfully committed to creating art, sharing their knowledge on a broad platform and who has embraced the challenges of securing various opportunities for dissemination of their work is, in my eyes, someone I would come to for input, guidance – mentorship! There is nothing wrong with receiving monetary compensation for a service. At the same time I do not want to enrich myself on something I was given by another mentor. I strongly believe in mentoring and sharing for the sake of “paying it forward.”
Do you have any input or an opinion on this topic? Feel free to leave a comment and let’s start a little discussion!