“Competition has been shown to be useful
up to a certain point and no further,
but cooperation, which is the thing
we must strive for today,
begins where competition leaves off.”
― Franklin D. Roosevelt
Art is such an individualistic pass-time/ hobby/ career that a person can easily get lost inside the creative process and never find their way into community again. One of the artists in C.cada and I recently had opportunity to share lunch and we got to sharing about experiences in other artist groups.
Sometimes when artists get together the spirit of competition and one-upmanship prevails. Maybe that’s because the natural bent of art requires so much time spent alone in the workshop, in front of the computer typing the next catch phrase or locked in a rehearsal hall working out the fingerings for notes or the vocal licks on the latest solo. The alone time working on our craft makes us forget that our art is not for us. We don’t create for our own pleasure but for God’s and for His world.
An artist community can become all about the next ribbon, or about scoping out the competition and figuring out how to build that edge that is going to get you the win over your fellow artist.
Like Franklin Roosevelt I think that competition can sometimes be useful when it spurs us on to improve our technique; But competition, that sense of striving to be better than everyone else has to be checked at the door of an artistic community because art is not about being on top but about learning to be your best. Community is not about winning the gold medal but about helping everyone involved to find the place where they fit in God’s tapestry. You can’t do either of these things when you are only out for number one.
I don’t mind participating in talent competitions. I’ve been in them. I’ve taken students to them. Exhibitions and talent competitions have their place. In fact, I think everyone involved in an artistic community ought to be involved in a show or a competition. But let’s not confuse that with community.
Artistic community is not about competition; It is about cooperation. The spirit of competition has to be drummed right out of artistic community for it to be effective.
C.cada exists to help all artists discover, develop and deploy their gifts in community with each other. We are preparing to influence the artistic marketplace of our region. This attitude of cooperation above competition is one of the main mindsets I want us to carry into the market.