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Precariousness Is the Norm

Post #1706 • June 17, 2014, 3:24 PM

Edmond Caldwell reports for Big Red & Shiny.

Over 100 people gathered at Lesley University on Wednesday June 4 to talk about "How We Get By." Organized by Matt Kaliner, Tim Devin, and Jason Pramas, the event was billed as "a group exploration of how artists earn their money for living and creative expenses," and featured a panel of 10 local artists representing a diverse sampling of Boston's creative community. Kaliner, a lecturer in arts and urban development at Harvard, kicked off the discussion by underscoring its firsthand and informal character, calling for "storytime and confessions." Those stories ran from anecdotes of scrimping and saving and practical tips about organizing one's time to larger questions about how this region treats the artists who make their homes here.

Money quote, literally in this case:

Precariousness is the norm for many of these artists. Jason Pramas, from Cambridge, calculated that he'd been employed at a traditional full-time job for only 6 years of an adult life that was approaching 50. "This economy has been kicking my ass," declared Greg Cook, who used to write art reviews for the Boston Phoenix before the weekly closed its doors last year. Paid journalism was dying, and now Cook had to cobble together 3 or 4 jobs to make ends meet for himself and his family.

Takeaway from Coelynn McInich:

Never apologize for what you have to do to make your art possible.

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