Cultivating Culture http://www.cultivatingculture.com Thinking and writing about culture around the world Tue, 14 Nov 2017 19:13:44 +0000 en-US hourly 1 https://wordpress.org/?v=4.8.3 50009989 Painter Natalie Frank Recounts Her Experience With Sexual Harassment http://www.cultivatingculture.com/2017/11/14/natalie-frank-sexual-harassment/ http://www.cultivatingculture.com/2017/11/14/natalie-frank-sexual-harassment/#respond Tue, 14 Nov 2017 19:13:44 +0000 http://www.cultivatingculture.com/?p=5482 If there’s anything that the #MeToo campaign has taught us, it’s that sexual harassment is so pervasive that it affects nearly every industry imaginable. And yet, there are still some industries in which we expect this type of behavior more so than in others. In the art world, for example, we don’t expect it as […]

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A painting of a black woman touching herself sexually. The piece was created by Natalie Frank.

The Hang Man Has Gone to Wash, The Soldiers to Eat, We Are Left Alone With Our Feat by Natalie Frank.
Photo courtesy of Mark Barry via Flickr CC.

If there’s anything that the #MeToo campaign has taught us, it’s that sexual harassment is so pervasive that it affects nearly every industry imaginable. And yet, there are still some industries in which we expect this type of behavior more so than in others. In the art world, for example, we don’t expect it as much because we tend to view creative types as respectful, open-minded, and socially conscious. But as New York-based painter Natalie Frank points out, sexual harassment is as much a problem in the art world as it is any other field.

In a recent op-ed published in ARTnews, Natalie Frank went as far as to compare the art world to being a “minefield” for female artists. Citing her own experiences with sexual harassment, Frank said that influential figureheads have used their positions to belittle her.

“Throughout my career, I’ve had run-ins with men in positions of power in that world who have behaved inappropriately, with impunity,” Frank wrote. “While none of these rises to the level of what Weinstein’s subjects experienced, they have nevertheless made me feel small; they’ve frightened, degraded, and intimidated me.”

Her first encounter happened ten years ago, when Frank was in her early 20s. A graduate student at the time, an older successful photographer came to visit her at her studio.

Upon examining the sexual themes within her work, the photographer proceeded to make a series of lewd comments, such as, “I can tell what kind of girl you are… I bet you like your boyfriend to tie you up, I bet you like it rough.” He then leaned toward her and said, “You know what you need? You need to be fucked up the ass.”

The photographer then asked for her notebook. When she handed it over, he wrote “25 nude self-portraits by this date” followed by his email address. Frightened and in shock, she was silent at the time. Looking back, she regrets not saying, “Get out of my studio.”

Another notable encounter happened right after she finished graduate school. Just as Frank was about to have her first New York solo exhibition, an art critic by the name of Charlie Finch wrote an article about her. It was titled “The Seduction of Natalie Frank.”

In the piece, Finch described her as “a young, virginal star.” He also wrote, “In the heat, Natalie sweated through acrylics and oils in a wife beater shirt for twelve hours at a time. At our direction, she would wipe away days of work in a flash to add a cascade of decaying flowers or some phallic armature.” Another art blog compared her piece to a date rape. Frank said it made her feel disgusted, objectified, and humiliated.

On another occasion, an editor who worked for a European art journal asked her via email if she would like to masturbate in a bathroom with him. Peculiar, sure, but these types of requests became quite common over the years.

Another time, an older, married gallery owner asked her if she would like to “fuck” during a dinner with 15 other people around. She later reported his misconduct, and was told he did that often. “We won’t seat him next to women next time,” they responded.

Because her work is often centered on sexuality, people often think that gives them the right to make salacious comments. But Frank wants to set the record straight once and for all:

“The content of my paintings does not give you permission to harass me.”

Indeed, if there’s one thing that other female artists can learn from this, it’s that there is no justification for sexual harassment. No means no. On that same token, silence (or the absence of “yes”) also means no.

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Professor Converts American Flag into KKK Hoods for Art Exhibit http://www.cultivatingculture.com/2017/11/06/professor-american-flag-kkk/ http://www.cultivatingculture.com/2017/11/06/professor-american-flag-kkk/#respond Mon, 06 Nov 2017 22:22:54 +0000 http://www.cultivatingculture.com/?p=5478 A Caucasian professor from the University of Miami is at the center of a heated controversy after she used the American flag to craft KKK hoods. The resulting image, which blends a symbol of patriotism with a symbol of hate, has the public divided as to whether it is a work of art or an […]

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Two KKK members wearing white hoods.

Photo courtesy of Martin via Flickr Creative Commons.

A Caucasian professor from the University of Miami is at the center of a heated controversy after she used the American flag to craft KKK hoods. The resulting image, which blends a symbol of patriotism with a symbol of hate, has the public divided as to whether it is a work of art or an abomination.

Titled American Mask, the three KKK hoods are on display in the window of a faculty art exhibit located in Miami’s Wynwood Art District. The professor who created the piece, Billie G. Lynn, told CNN that it’s “deliberately provocative.”

“I’ve always felt that art could and should act as a mirror to the culture, so that we can have these kinds of conversations within the context of talking about art,” Lynn further explained in an interview with the University of Miami.  

But not everyone views it as a thought-provoking piece. Patrick Young, who works near the gallery, called the display “disgusting” and “disrespectful.”

“This is disgusting. This is disrespectful,” Young told CNN affiliate WSVN. “I can’t see it being a positive message any way that you put it. This is disgusting to me.”

Willie Sanders, another nearby employee, had a similar reaction. As an African American, he found the display racist.

“I don’t think that’s any art,” Sanders said in an interview with WFOR, another CNN affiliate. “I think that KKK symbol with the United States flag—I don’t believe that’s a piece of art. I believe that’s a sign of racism.”

But despite the backlash, the University of Miami has defended the display as being a form of free speech.

“The University of Miami supports artistic expression and freedom of speech,” the University of Miami said in a released statement. “The art exhibit by University of Miami associate professor Billie G. Lynn, American Mask, was not reviewed or approved in advance by University of Miami officials, nor would it be subject to such review: It is an art exhibit by a member of our faculty, and her art is of her making.”

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Attorney General Asks Court to Halt Berkshire Museum Sale http://www.cultivatingculture.com/2017/10/31/attorney-general-berkshire-museum-sale/ http://www.cultivatingculture.com/2017/10/31/attorney-general-berkshire-museum-sale/#respond Tue, 31 Oct 2017 17:07:56 +0000 http://www.cultivatingculture.com/?p=5471 Back in July, the Berkshire Museum announced that it would be selling 40 of its most highly prized possessions in order to fund renovations, expand its endowment, and pursue a “New Vision” plan in which the institution would focus more on tech-driven exhibitions related to science and nature. The works, valued at $50 million, are […]

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A photo of a statue. The photo was taken inside the Berkshire Museum.

The Berkshire Museum, located in Pittsfield, MA.
Photo courtesy of Amy Meredith via Flickr Creative Commons.

Back in July, the Berkshire Museum announced that it would be selling 40 of its most highly prized possessions in order to fund renovations, expand its endowment, and pursue a “New Vision” plan in which the institution would focus more on tech-driven exhibitions related to science and nature.

The works, valued at $50 million, are scheduled to be sold at Sotheby’s in New York on November 13. But that sale will never go through if Norman Rockwell’s three sons and the Massachusetts attorney general’s office have anything to do with it.

On Oct. 20, Rockwell’s sons and other plaintiffs filed a lawsuit against the Berkshire Museum, with the goal of impeding the sale by obtaining a temporary restraining order. The suit alleges that the museum is not authorized to dispose of the works, since that decision violates the intent of the original donors. Furthermore, it alleges that the museum’s trustees failed to properly assess the institution’s fiscal status and to craft an appropriate plan.

Elizabeth McGraw, president of the museum’s board of trustees, disagrees.

“We believe we have strong legal grounds for our deaccessioning and we are confident in our New Vision plan which will allow this important local museum to continue to contribute to the educational and cultural life of this region for another century,” McGraw said in a statement delivered through a spokesperson.

William F. Lee, the museum’s attorney, called the suit “factually and legally flawed.”

But on Oct. 30, the Massachusetts attorney general’s office submitted its own legal filing, calling for a temporary restraining order or preliminary injunction while they further investigate the case. The attorney general’s office said it had “significant questions and concerns” regarding the legality of the sale.

The Massachusetts Superior Court will hold a hearing on a possible injunction on Wednesday, November 1 at 11 a.m.

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Postal Art is Making a Comeback http://www.cultivatingculture.com/2017/10/27/postal-art/ http://www.cultivatingculture.com/2017/10/27/postal-art/#respond Fri, 27 Oct 2017 15:00:43 +0000 http://www.cultivatingculture.com/?p=5466 We’re all pretty familiar with the artwork associated with stamps: holiday designs, historical commemorations, nature, and so on. What we may be less familiar with, though, is the way an entire postal situation—stamp, envelope, and even the interior letter—can be a work of art either on its own or as part of a larger piece. […]

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A collage of photographs, letters, postcards, and illustrations---all of which encompass the postal art.

Image credit: Shutterstock

We’re all pretty familiar with the artwork associated with stamps: holiday designs, historical commemorations, nature, and so on. What we may be less familiar with, though, is the way an entire postal situation—stamp, envelope, and even the interior letter—can be a work of art either on its own or as part of a larger piece.

PNCA graduate Savanna Youngquist’s Being Half and Whole is one example of this trend. Youngquist’s installation begins with folded papers meant to look like envelopes. They encourage viewer participation by being addressed “The Visitor” and explaining that the ensuing experience was inspired by the artist’s relationships with her boyfriend and twin sister, respectively.

As for the larger idea of envelopes and other mail paraphernalia being considered art, there’s actually a long history of just that. Ed Plunkett, who coined the phrase “New York Correspondence School,” once said that postal art probably started when Cleopatra had herself wrapped in a blanket and delivered to Caesar.

In reality, the idea of embellishing and decorating correspondence really got started in the late 1800s to mid-1900s with artists like Egon Schiele and Vincent van Gogh, who included art with their letters and even decorated the envelopes themselves.

Postal art was also an important part of correspondence during World War I, when the Italian Futurists created their own stationery, letterheads, logos, postcards, and rubber stamps.

The love affair with postal art is far from over. Last year, London’s Whitechapel Gallery celebrated it with an exhibition called Imprint 93, which featured mail art from Jeremy Deller, Martin Creed, Peter Doig, Chris Ofili, and Fiona Banner. Also called correspondence art, the decoration of the post really hit its stride in the 1950s with these artists and more. According to the description of the exhibit, this art “diverged from the structures of the commercial art market and traditional venues and institutions such as galleries and museums” because it was meant to be accessible, without too many rules.

“Many of these artworks were often a result of a group project and were put in exhibitions without any kind of jury, censorship, or admission criteria,” notes the exhibit description. “The idea of founders and the members of mail art was to create a global community…putting an emphasis on the act of exchange and collaboration, free of barriers like language, ideology, and religion.”

While stamps alone can be works of art, creative sorts have been making art out of correspondence for years—whether it’s decorating envelopes, using letters as part of a larger installation, or something else innovative and thoughtful. Letters aren’t just about sharing information; they can also create an artistic experience for the viewer.

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The Met Issues Statement on UNESCO http://www.cultivatingculture.com/2017/10/16/met-issues-statement-unesco/ Mon, 16 Oct 2017 17:42:50 +0000 http://www.cultivatingculture.com/?p=5461 America’s largest museum, the Metropolitan Museum of Art, is making its political opinion known. Following the news of America’s exit from the United Nations Education, Scientific, and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), the Met’s president and CEO, David H. Weiss, publicly condemned the decision. In a statement published on the Met’s website, Weiss specifically called out President […]

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A photo taken from the outside of the Metropolitan Museum of Art.

The Metropolitan Museum of Art, located in New York, NY.
Photo via Pixabay.

America’s largest museum, the Metropolitan Museum of Art, is making its political opinion known.

Following the news of America’s exit from the United Nations Education, Scientific, and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), the Met’s president and CEO, David H. Weiss, publicly condemned the decision. In a statement published on the Met’s website, Weiss specifically called out President Trump, claiming that the decision “undermines the historic role of the United States” as a leader in cultural preservation.

Weiss’s full statement is as follows:

One of our most important responsibilities as museum leaders is to protect cultural heritage and promote international education. For more than half a century The Met and countless other museums have successfully partnered with UNESCO, an organization that has earned the respect of nations and communities worldwide for bringing together curators, conservators, and a range of other scholars to educate, preserve, protect, and support the intellectual and artistic traditions of our shared cultural heritage. President Trump’s decision to withdraw from UNESCO undermines the historic role of the United States as a leader in this effort and weakens our position as a strong advocate for cultural preservation. Although UNESCO may be an imperfect organization, it has been an important leader and steadfast partner in this crucial work. The Met remains deeply committed to productive engagement with UNESCO and our colleagues around the world who share this important objective.

Meanwhile, the Trump administration has stuck to its guns, citing an “anti-Israel bias” and budgetary concerns as justification for the exit.

“We were in arrears to the tune of $550 million or so, and so the question is, do we want to pay that money?” said Heather Nauert, a spokesperson for the State Department. “With this anti-Israel bias that’s long documented on the part of UNESCO, that needs to come to an end.”

But this isn’t the first time that the Met has gotten political. Back in February 2017, following Trump’s immigration ban, the Met disrupted their permanent-collection galleries to display contemporary art from the Middle East. If history truly does repeat itself, then it’s safe to say this won’t be the last time the Met delves into politics.

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The Artist Trust: Making More Art More Possible http://www.cultivatingculture.com/2017/10/09/artist-trust-making-art-possible/ Mon, 09 Oct 2017 18:58:09 +0000 http://www.cultivatingculture.com/?p=5455 Tucked away in Seattle’s Capitol Hill neighborhood is an almost miss-able nonprofit called the Artist Trust. Since 1986, the Trust has helped Washington State artists learn their craft and get the funding and support they need. Whether an artist is just starting their career or trying to keep it going, the Artist Trust aims to provide […]

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The Artist Trust's logo.

Tucked away in Seattle’s Capitol Hill neighborhood is an almost miss-able nonprofit called the Artist Trust. Since 1986, the Trust has helped Washington State artists learn their craft and get the funding and support they need. Whether an artist is just starting their career or trying to keep it going, the Artist Trust aims to provide the support they need to be successful.

The Trust hosts classes, trainings, and webinars; provides opportunities for funding; and curates a collection of online resources on employment, healthcare, housing, and other topics of interest to artists.

They also offer a series of yearly awards, including the Arts Innovator Award, a Fellowship, and the Twining Humber Award. The winners come from a variety of backgrounds, each with a unique style and body of work. Here are just a few.

Sheila Klein, 2017 Arts Innovator Award (visual art)

Klein’s work combines visual art and architecture to recreate how viewers see the everyday. She has exhibited in New York, Florence, Pittsburgh, and Tokyo. She began her career as an architect with A2Z before moving into innovative visual art that builds architecture into something more.

Valerie Curtis-Newton, 2017 Arts Innovator Award (performing art)

Curtis-Newton, a writer, director, and educator, focuses her work on the African-American experience. She promotes the importance of sharing never-before-told stories from the African-American community. She is also the Artistic Director for The Hansberry Project, a professional theater lab that works with theaters across the country.

Jenny Hyde, 2017 Fellowship (visual art)

Hyde grew up in rural Washington, which has had a huge effect on her artistic themes of cultural geography and physical experiences. Her work, much of which is based in her background in electronic integrated art, highlights the balance between the physical and mental worlds. With the Fellowship, she intends to document the travel experience via several train lines in different New York City neighborhoods.

Ann Leda Shapiro, 2017 Twining Humber Award (visual art)

Shapiro has traveled extensively, both in the US and abroad, which has inspired her paintings. Also trained as an acupuncturist, she lives on Vashon Island and creates art based on her experiences of her surrounding environment and the body as a landscape. 

 

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Breast Cancer Survivors Share Their Stories Through Art http://www.cultivatingculture.com/2017/10/03/breast-cancer-survivors-art/ Tue, 03 Oct 2017 16:49:41 +0000 http://www.cultivatingculture.com/?p=5446 October 13 marks the opening of “We Are Enough,” an art exhibit centered on body positivity and the journeys of breast cancer survivors. It will debut at Chicago’s Oak Park Art League (OPAL). The exhibit is a collection of works gathered from more than 30 different artists. Julie Carpenter, executive director of OPAL, is hoping […]

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A pink ribbon with the words "never underestimate the power of a woman" written beside it. The image is meant to depict the strength of breast cancer survivors.

Image credit: Shutterstock

October 13 marks the opening of “We Are Enough,” an art exhibit centered on body positivity and the journeys of breast cancer survivors. It will debut at Chicago’s Oak Park Art League (OPAL).

The exhibit is a collection of works gathered from more than 30 different artists. Julie Carpenter, executive director of OPAL, is hoping that the show will inspire viewers to be comfortable in their own skin.

“We’re hoping we’re presenting something people will learn from,” Carpenter stated. “I think what’s coming together is going to reveal real-life journeys. I think that confidence comes through.”

The exhibit provides an in-depth look at how breast cancer impacts a woman’s body image, self-worth, and identity. But instead of taking a negative approach to the subject, the exhibit will instead focus on how each woman was able to regain her confidence through solidarity and survivorship.

That solidarity and survivorship really shows through in the half dozen breast casts that are on display at the exhibit. With help from the Keep a Breast Foundation, OPAL was able to obtain six plaster breast casts taken from real women. Local artists then painted over the casts to make a statement about the meaning of breast cancer and how it’s nothing to be ashamed of.

One such artist, Jennifer McNulty, plastered the portraits of breast cancer survivors on the breast cast. Some of those faces are recognizable (Oprah and Lucille Ball) while others belong to more personal connections—the artist’s own mother and grandmother.

Leigh Kminek, a woman who had a cast of her breast taken, says she found the process to be intimate, but in a good way.

“I’m not shy talking about it,” Kminek said. “I have really come out of my shell after having cancer. I feel proud, in a way… this is who I am now.”

The opening reception for “We Are Enough” is taking place at OPAL’s Carriage House Gallery. For additional information, please visit: https://www.oakparkartleague.org/we-are-enough

 

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Kara Walker is Tired of Being The Art World’s Token Black Girl http://www.cultivatingculture.com/2017/09/25/kara-walker/ Mon, 25 Sep 2017 19:19:24 +0000 http://www.cultivatingculture.com/?p=5440 Artist Kara Walker is tired of being put up on a pedestal. As a successful African-American female artist, she’s often seen as a symbol of diversity. But she’s fed up with that role, especially since she never asked for it in the first place. Walker recently took to Instagram to voice her opinion in the […]

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A giant sculpture of a nude black woman. The sculpture was created by Kara Walker and is titled, “A Subtlety, or the Marvelous Sugar Baby?”

“A Subtlety, or the Marvelous Sugar Baby?” by Kara Walker. Photo courtesy of gigi_nyc at Flickr Creative Commons.

Artist Kara Walker is tired of being put up on a pedestal. As a successful African-American female artist, she’s often seen as a symbol of diversity. But she’s fed up with that role, especially since she never asked for it in the first place.

Walker recently took to Instagram to voice her opinion in the form of a controversial artist’s statement. Here’s what she wrote:

“I don’t really feel the need to write a statement about a painting show. I know what you all expect from me and I have complied up to a point. But frankly I am tired, tired of standing up, being counted, tired of ‘having a voice’ or worse ‘being a role model.’ Tired, true, of being a featured member of my racial group and/or my gender niche. It’s too much, and I write this knowing full well that my right, my capacity to live in this Godforsaken country as a (proudly) raced and (urgently) gendered person is under threat by random groups of white (male) supremacist goons who flaunt a kind of patched together notion of race purity with flags and torches and impressive displays of perpetrator-as-victim sociopathy. I roll my eyes, fold my arms and wait. How many ways can a person say racism is the real bread and butter of our American mythology, and in how many ways will the racists among our countrymen act out their Turner Diaries race war fantasy combination Nazi Germany and Antebellum South – states which, incidentally, lost the wars they started, and always will, precisely because there is no way those white racisms can survive the earth without the rest of us types upholding humanity’s best, keeping the motor running on civilization, being good, and preserving nature and all the stuff worth working and living for?”

Whoa, right? It’s a lot to take in. But the more one reads it, the more one comes to respect her brutally honest take on race, gender, and diversity in the broader socio-political context. Walker would rather people focus on her work than her own personal identity.

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Upcoming SFMOMA Exhibits You Won’t Want to Miss http://www.cultivatingculture.com/2017/09/22/upcoming-sfmoma-exhibits/ Fri, 22 Sep 2017 16:44:44 +0000 http://www.cultivatingculture.com/?p=5436 Some stellar exhibits are coming to SFMOMA in the coming months—not to mention some recently-added displays that are available right now. Robert Rauschenberg, Julie Mehretu, Isamu Noguchi, and more will have multidisciplinary work on display in the coming months. As you might expect, these exhibits are made possible by a series of donors and arts […]

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A photo taken from the outside of the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art (SFMOMA).

The San Francisco Museum of Modern Art (SFMOMA).
Photo credit: Capture Light / Shutterstock

Some stellar exhibits are coming to SFMOMA in the coming months—not to mention some recently-added displays that are available right now. Robert Rauschenberg, Julie Mehretu, Isamu Noguchi, and more will have multidisciplinary work on display in the coming months.

As you might expect, these exhibits are made possible by a series of donors and arts organizations that make some of the finest contemporary art out there available to the San Francisco area. The Robert Rauschenberg exhibit, for example, is sponsored in part by area investment banker Thomas Weisel, who has a history of supporting the museum—as well as his own impressive collection of contemporary, Native, and Asian Pacific art and antiquities.

Other supporters of these exhibits include Helen and Charles Schwab, the Noguchi Museum in New York, and Christine and Pierre Lamond, among many others.

The Rauschenberg exhibit, called “Erasing the Rules,” is a prime example of the artist’s multidisciplinary work. Including prints, sculptures, paintings, and more, these 150 pieces offer an intimate look at how Rauschenberg broke boundaries between disciplines and dared to use humor and insight to redefine what art can be. The exhibit runs from November 18, 2017 to March 25, 2018.

Up front and center—and on display now—is New York-based artist Julie Mehretu’s “HOWL, eon (I,II).” On view in SFMOMA’s Evelyn and Walter Haas Jr. Atrium, Mehretu’s work is made up of two huge abstract paintings that symbolize historical trends, including the political turmoil of today. Because Mehretu created these pieces specifically for their current location, they have an added weight and multidisciplinary element of collaboration between art and space—despite the fact that Mehretu created the pieces alone. They were installed on September 2 and are now part of the museum’s regular collection.

Finally, there’s “Noguchi’s Playscapes,” a series of designer Isamu Noguchi’s stand-alone play structures as well as sketches for several of his life-sized works. Few of these particular structures were actually built, but Noguchi was known for building art that encouraged viewers to interact directly with his work, often placed in public spaces rather than in museums. His art represents a multidisciplinary approach to creating community and inspiring creativity in the every day. The exhibit opened on July 15 and will be available through November 26, 2017.

These are just a few examples of the great works on display at the SFMOMA, courtesy of generous donors and supporters. These particular pieces remind us to be present in our world and to not be afraid to combine different elements to tell the stories of the world around us.

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5 Tips for Overcoming Stage Fright http://www.cultivatingculture.com/2017/09/18/5-tips-overcoming-stage-fright/ Mon, 18 Sep 2017 18:47:01 +0000 http://www.cultivatingculture.com/?p=5432 Nothing kills creativity faster than fear. Those who struggle with stage fright know this better than anyone else. But here’s the good news: stage fright can be overcome. Professional musicians, dancers, speakers, and other performing artists use the following tips to subdue the effects of stage fright. 1. Medication A medication called propranolol can be […]

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A comic of two men hiding behind a podium. One man says to the other, "Of course you're allowed to have stage fright. As soon as your talk is over."

Image credit: Shutterstock

Nothing kills creativity faster than fear. Those who struggle with stage fright know this better than anyone else.

But here’s the good news: stage fright can be overcome. Professional musicians, dancers, speakers, and other performing artists use the following tips to subdue the effects of stage fright.

1. Medication

A medication called propranolol can be used to counteract the physical effects of stage fright, which include shaky hands, a trembling voice, sweaty palms, and a racing heart. It works by way of being a beta-blocker, which basically means it blocks adrenaline. Aside from being used for performance anxiety, it is often used to treat high blood pressure.

Another common medication used to treat performance anxiety is lorazepam (also known by its brand name, Ativan). Lorazepam is classified in a group of drugs called benzodiazepines. Basically, they produce a calming effect. However, benzodiazepines can be highly addictive and should be used with caution.

2. Deep Breathing

In addition to the use of doctor prescribed medication, many performance artists practice deep breathing. Proper deep breathing should expand the diaphragm as one inhales and slowly release the diaphragm as one exhales. A common technique is to inhale for five seconds, hold it for five seconds, and exhale for five seconds. This should be repeated immediately prior to the performance for however long as need be.

3. Meditation

This tip was purposefully placed just below the deep breathing technique as the two often go hand-in-hand. When meditating, one can either attempt to clear one’s mind of all thoughts, distractions, and clutter, or one can take the opportunity to visualize their success. Experiment with both to see which one is most soothing.

4. Positive Affirmations

Repeating positive words or phrases can help build confidence and thus reduce the effects of stage fright. But rather than repeating these affirmations mere minutes before a performance, try repeating them first thing in the morning and throughout the whole day. Better yet, do them every day. This will rewire the brain’s response system so that over time, the body won’t react with panic whenever a performance is coming up.

Some positive affirmation suggestions:

“I am confident in my skills, talents, and abilities.”
“I know I can do this. I can do anything I put my mind to.”
“My self-worth is not determined by what other people think of me. I know my value.”

5. Speak Before Performing

This technique is particularly important for singers and musicians. Speaking to the audience before giving a performance is like a warm-up; it allows one to get comfortable being on stage before presenting their work.

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Tell us: did you try any of these techniques? If so, did they work for you? What other tips or techniques do you find to be helpful?

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