by: Dahveed Bullis
Hello Dear Readers!
How are you? It’s been one heck of year, hasn’t it? It seems like time, especially Post-Pandemic, has been like sand through a hole-y sieve.
Don’t forget to breath and find reasons to smile.
Speaking of reasons to smile… I WAS AWARDED A GRANT! The Artist Trust has awarded me with the Grants for Artists’ Progress (GAP, more colloquially). The most exciting part about this is that I was awarded this based off my merits as an artist and 10 pages of a play I have written called Minimum Wage. I have been working on this play for 6 years and let me tell you, being awarded something based off of those words filled me with something I’ve taken a few weeks to be able to put into words.
Here goes nothing.
My words have value. I have written many things over the years and they have only really been given steam when I forge ahead and make something out of them. I’ve received very little outside support for my writing. My community knows me as an actor and director, but they’d have to take my classes at Company Ballet School to know that I write all my actors scenes myself and tailor them to the individuals. I’ve submitted to a few local festivals and never been picked. That’s why I kept Minimum Wage so close to me for so long. I felt like my words only mattered to the internal being inside of me. Now, this grant along with a few other outside sources, I feel validated. I feel worthy. I feel empowered. This allows me to put on my script in the way I feel it needs to be done with the Team I want most.
Here’s the thing though. Anyone can and should do this.
An artist should wait for the permission of no one to create. I’ve said it so many times, but it’s not just a neat quote. It’s a mantra. As my circles became entangled with the Non-Profit world, I heard a few people say that a lot of grants go untapped. That seemed wild to me at first, but when I think about it it begins to make sense. Especially in the creative fields, it’s hard to feel like you have the ability to apply, much less is your work worth it? Will it just be another reminder that you aren’t enough? When you begin building that wall, it quickly gets taller than you. I am a Sensitive Steve and I don’t take rejection well, so to put myself out there is scary. Scott encouraged me to apply for the GAP, and I did not believe I had a chance until the phone call came and now I cannot deny truth.
My Imposter Syndrome is a big ol liar.
So, let me encourage you today. Take the risk on yourself. Is there any gamble more valuable than on yourself? Your art is worth the shot. Can’t figure out how to put your work on its feet? Submit it to SPL. Take the risk. Need money to do it? Find a grant. Apply for it. Find more than one! My brother always told me, “If you’re not doing the work, understand that someone is and they will get it if you don’t.” The dopamine hit that comes through such a grand validation of yourself as an artist is worth the work you have to do to make it happen.
Take it from a kid who came from poverty. You can do anything you set your mind to. The key ingredients are focus and resiliency.
With all this in mind, I invite you to take a look at my Artist Profile on Artist Trusts website. This could be you. Just give yourself a chance. If you don’t, how can you expect anyone else to either?
And also, be on the lookout for Minimum Wage. It’s the 5th show in the SPL season and I promise you won’t want to miss this one.
I appreciate you so much. I value your art. Let’s see it fly.
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