WELCOME TO THE SUMMER ENEWS FOR THE AUSTRALIAN YOUTH PERFORMING ARTS COMMUNITY. LET’S KICK OFF WITH SOME REFLECTIONS FROM ANASTASIA BEASLEY, D’FACES.
It was relieving to hear in the last online sector meeting for the year that some people have found 2022 even harder than 2020.
Long-term funding pressure and unpredictable audiences mean we are always trying to deliver more for less. We know that what we save in budget we pay in blood; we can do anything with almost no support or resources, at the expense of our health and our love for what we do. The exodus of burnt-out arts workers moving to other industries makes it even more challenging for the ones who stay and face fresh challenges from the land and climate, and the widespread exhaustion in the industry right now is palpable.
There have been times where I’ve felt like it’s the end of the world, but if it is, there’s no place I’d rather be than an arts centre. The insights from The Power of Youth Arts research in this newsletter remind us that we’re a safe haven in these strange and stressful times. We have tools that enable us to feel like we belong, to understand each other, to navigate the complex feelings we have about ourselves and the world around us, and to find out how we can be better to each other in times of trouble.
At the beginning of my time at D’faces, I was the only employee, feeling small and alone, rattling around in a building that had served the community for longer than I’d been alive. I felt like a lighthouse keeper, making sure the arts centre was still visible and open, signalling to people who feel out of their depth at school or home that there was a safe place for them. What brought me the most comfort was talking with other lighthouse keepers – people in little teams of two or three in other towns who were doing the same work.
A lot of the people we work for are struggling to get the support they need through their experiences of poverty, mental illnesses, intergenerational trauma, disabilities, and other challenges, so it’s easy to feel like they need more from us than we can give. Although we always feel like we aren’t doing enough as arts workers, we should know we’ve already done a lot just by being here and staying open.
We are already doing what we need to do. We are already succeeding! My goal next year is to cut myself some slack, and remember to have fun when I’m doing what I love.
– Anastasia Beasley, Creative Producer of D’FACES.