February 11th, 2013
During a faculty meeting last week at the Columbus College of Art & Design, Denny Griffith reminded us that our job as faculty members is to help students “become fully themselves.” What a delightful sentiment, especially in the context of finance.
I teach artists and arts organizations how to better manage their finances, not to convince them they are truly closeted accountants (they aren’t), but to give them the tools to become the “best” version of themselves. I can’t tell them who that is; and I wouldn’t dream of trying. But to me, the “best” version of anyone is the version that is authentic and presented with integrity.
And to sustain the best version of ourselves, we often need tools beyond what is immediately authentic. The best version of a dancer might be as she performs on stage; the best version of a painter might be as he creates something meaningful; the best version of an arts educator might be facilitating growth in kids. I can’t help with the dancing, the painting, or the facilitating. But I can provide tools for life that dancers, artists, and educators need to make sure they can continue dancing, painting, or educating.
By helping them master budgeting, planning, building cash reserves, and paying taxes I’m giving them tools to support their best work and thus the best version of themselves.
By managing creative careers successfully these artists not only become themselves fully; they stay themselves fully, even (and perhaps especially) as they grow creatively and professionally.
How lucky am I to witness the process of an artist becoming himself fully?