Stop Telling Young Artists To Have A Backup Plan
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Stop Telling Young Artists To Have A Backup Plan

The world needs more artists. Stop discouraging them.

Stop Telling Young Artists To Have A Backup Plan
Lynnsey Kwaak

We know it all too well: the starving artist.

It's a phrase that others use to intimidate us, a reason to look down on us, judge us and refuse to understand us. We are downgraded to something unimportant, misguided or brainless.

And yet, the world would be nothing without us.

People roll their eyes all the time at the thought of theatre kids, but what they fail to realize is that they take part in something theatrical every day simply by existing in a world built around connection and storytelling. People don't think dancers or musicians can build a career from their art and yet, they record street performers whenever possible and post it to their social media. They wonder what kind of jobs visual artists can have, but they don't notice that everything they can see was crafted by an artist of some sort.

Art is the backbone of our world. Art is the reason for togetherness. Art teaches us to love and empathize. It teaches us discipline and compassion. It shows us how to use our voices and stand up for what we believe in.

The world needs that more than ever right now.

Yes, being an artist of any type as a career is difficult, but when you tell a young artist to have a backup plan, you're not giving them guaranteed success for their future. In fact, you're taking that away from them.

When you tell a young artist to have a backup plan, you might have all good intentions, but you're invalidating their dreams. When you say that to them, all they hear is that they are not good enough to be successful. They hear that their art is not worth being pursued or seen.

Something I hear a lot is: "You're so smart. Why are you studying theatre?" That thought is another thing that needs to change. I truly do not understand why people assume that artists are not fulfilling their academic potential when, in reality, my art is the reason why I am what one would call "smart."

My art has trained me to think more deeply about the decisions I make, to be a flexible thinker and to always ask questions. My art taught me intentionality and resilience. It taught me to take criticism and grow from it. It gave me the motivation—the desire—to learn in the first place.

So, to the people who keep telling young artists to have a backup plan: please stop. Please do not steal potential wonders from the world. Though you might think so, you are not saving anyone from anything.

And to all the young artists out there: don't stop. It will be difficult, but not impossible. If you have the fire within you to pursue your art, then you owe it to the world to put yourself out there. It is never a waste to invest in your art—whether it be time, money or energy.

Go make the world more beautiful and don't let anyone stop you.

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This article has not been reviewed by Odyssey HQ and solely reflects the ideas and opinions of the creator.
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