We don’t want your content; we want your connection! This is the message I wish I could shout out to the world and to artists right now. For at least the two years in my business, I’ve seen that community and connection is more important, more nurturing and more powerful than just content.
During this Covid19 crisis, this idea of connection over content has been beautifully proven true. While everyone is isolated and quarantined, my online group is coming together more and more intimately. Instead of growing further apart, they’ve grown closer together. They’ve shared their fears and frustrations. They’ve created beauty during a crisis and turned an obstacle into an opportunity.
I see art instructors online continue to focus on content solely. It makes sense. Just like our artwork we want it to be the best quality it can be, but there’s just one tiny little thing we forget – we’re HUMAN. This means that most of us MUST have connection in order to survive. We need a tribe to belong to, to bounce ideas off of, to be recognized by. Content is just information. While information and knowledge are great, alone they don’t foster connection. They don’t build a community for people to grow in. It’s in these trying times that community and connection will heal our souls and give us hope.
There’s a lot of talk about social media. On the one hand, you hear about the downside of social media and the internet and then you hear the flip side of the coin that it’s the best thing ever and full of opportunities. I think the truth is that social media and the online space is simply a reflection of who we are and our character. If we are generous, kind and community-driven our online presence will reflect that. If we’re narcissistic jerks, in it just for the money grab and just want praise and attention it will reflect that too. If we’re insecure, scared, angry and jealous then we’ll seek out others who will feed that. We’ll find people to be jealous of on Instagram. We’ll find those to enrage us on Facebook. Your activity online reflects YOU.
People want to villainize or glorify social media as if it’s this thing- deity or demon- that’s out of their control. This is simply a lie. You’re lying to yourself, fooling yourself. Social media is simply a tool, PERIOD, plain and simple. What you do with it, how you interact with it is 100% YOU. Look at your social media behavior and see who you really are right now. Obviously, we’re all human, me too(surprise!). We’re going to falter sometimes. I catch myself from time to time getting jealous of others, caught in the comparison trap or becoming angry at some political post I didn’t want to see. The beautiful thing about being human is that we also get a choice. You can be in control of how you show up, what you consume and what you offer.
Connection and community are HARDER, I’ll admit to that. It takes constant nurturing, a lack of ego and a focus on a higher mission. I fight daily for connection in my online community because communities foster true growth. We need each other not only to survive but to THRIVE. This virus, this fear, and anger are not the only things that are contagious. Calm, Creativity, Contribution, Connection and Celebration of life (even in its imperfections) are also CONTAGIOUS! Let’s be mindful at this time of what we’re spreading around. I believe it’s important to try to tip the scales in the extreme positive direction to have any hope of achieving balance.
We’re going to get through this. We’re going to come out the other side of it. Then we’re going to look back at our choices, how we showed up. Time travel to the future and look back on this time. How do you want your story to read? You have choices and the role you play is important.
P.S. If you’d like to gain an art tribe that can help foster your artistic growth and get the information and knowledge you need through my art lessons then you can do that now. Enrollment is open for my online program VITAL Art Sessions from now until October 5th. Go here to learn more and sign up: artlifewithkelli.com/vital-art-sessions-sign-up/. Sign up by midnight on September 29th and receive $5 off your subscription with the Early Bird Special!