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  • Writer's pictureJ&J

Artist’s Bill of Rights: 40 guiding principles for a healthier life in the arts

Updated: Feb 21, 2021

An artist’s career is a winding thing. It cuts through dense thickets and carves magic out of stone. Through art, we turn possibility into reality, understanding raw materials as tools for revealing truth. A life in the arts can be beautiful, brutal, enlivening, ephemeral, frustrating, traumatic, gratifying, brilliant, confusing, focused, scattered, and spontaneous. More than anything, though, it is a path of constant change. Art is subjective and is multifaceted. Because of this, arts centered careers can be tricky to navigate. Regardless of the approach you take, or at what stage you find yourself in your career, here are 40 basic rights you, the artist, should have at ALL times. If you find yourself in a situation that dampens or eliminates any of these principles it’s time to make an essential shift.

As an artist, you have the absolute right to:

  1. Determine your own values

  2. Do work you align with

  3. Be treated with dignity and respect

  4. Ask for information

  5. Connect with others

  6. Have an opinion

  7. Push artistic boundaries

  8. Set personal boundaries

  9. Seek transparency

  10. Question existing power structures

  11. Work for a fair wage

  12. Receive a compliment

  13. Say yes

  14. Say no

  15. Change course

  16. Strive for clarity

  17. Think critically

  18. Negotiate confidently

  19. Reevaluate regularly

  20. Stand up for yourself and others

  21. Work hard

  22. Solve problems collaboratively

  23. Share information generously

  24. Seek mentorship

  25. Request help

  26. Find feedback

  27. Create your own definition of opportunity

  28. Preserve, protect, and improve your state of well-being

  29. Assemble a support system

  30. Accept failure

  31. Pursue mastery

  32. Feel proud of your work

  33. Know more than somebody else

  34. Know less than somebody else

  35. Befriend the people who know more than you do

  36. Embrace multiple learning styles

  37. Be unconventional

  38. Take courageous action

  39. Sharpen your leadership skills

  40. Evolve

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