(This blog entry was commissioned by The Field, and cross-posted at The Field Blog.)
9 Months. A full gestation period for human birth. 9 months of FLF; The Field Leadership Fund. I have been an FLF Artist Fellow gestating towards the birth of my vision - Ayiti Brass. These past 9 months have been filled with growth pains, beautiful discoveries, connections, with the discomfort of “labor” stumbling into possibility. The birth metaphor applies smoothly (like a baby’s skin - Hey, I couldn’t resist!). In all seriousness though, the metaphor joke holds relevance to this process I have undergone in this fellowship for the last 9 months. I am a working artist, performer, teaching artist, mother, juggler of multiple things at the same time, wife, and visionary. At the point when I applied to FLF, I had turned a corner in my art-making. Though I collaborated with a few arts ensembles, and had recently garnered a new music teaching position with a prestigious arts organization, I had not yet furthered my own vision and personal artistic mission - Ayiti Brass. I felt like I did not have the time, especially being a mother to two young children, and particularly taking into account that any income I made from my art went to my children and daily living expenses. There was no money left over for me to feed my vision. But the vision didn’t die. In fact, the vision burned - like fuel. It’s fire continued to blaze inside me and feed possibility. Applying to FLF, was a moment where I made a decision to look into organizing more time for this vision. It looked like the program that would give me the support to birth this possibility into reality. In a sense, FLF has been my doula of sorts, easing me through the discomfort of not fully knowing, yet knowing. This process has both informed my creative and professional growth. I am carving out time for myself on the calendar for composing rather than trying to squeeze it in while tasking and being with kids. I find myself advocating for my time to make art more vocally these days. Through Fieldwork, I have shared more of myself and my creative process in the company of fellow artists, moderated by Pele Bausch. Additionally, I’ve started my own blog on my website, “Musings and Meanderings”, where I am open about my process. The 24 hours of rehearsal space I received with my participation in Fieldwork has been extremely valuable - as access to affordable rehearsal space in NYC is like trying to find adequate parking in NYC. Professionally, I have developed a strong relationship with my manager, Bryan E. Glover - FLF Arts Manager Fellow. Working consistently with a manger is immensely helpful. Bryan is someone whom I can bounce ideas with, build with, and is organized and enthusiastic about my vision. We are learning and growing together, as we combine our talents within our partnership. I have FLF to thank for meeting Bryan and for pairing us up. Having a manager is huge for someone like me who has self-produced and self-financed myself into levels of burnout previously. Right now Bryan and I are gearing up for some upcoming grant applications, and I have recently signed up with The Field to be my fiscal sponsor. I am also taking more chances and opportunities for more growth, having recently been chosen to participate in Creative Capital’s Summer Intensive for artists. Beyond this, I’ve recently been named a Gardarev Resident Fellow, where I’ll be traveling to Maine in November for a week long residency of writing/composing/arranging/choreographing. In the woods, just me and the work. There is more to go, and more to grow, more to build. So far, this is Ayiti Brass:
- To read the full post, "What Have We Discovered? Who Are We Moving Forward?" by The Field, Aya Lane and Goussy Celestin, click here.